Towards a blockchain with no queues, no leadership, and no limits – Sponsored Bitcoin News
November 2, 2021, chainAtticbee, a blockchain scientist, visited E.g. As an invited guest, have a very technical AMA exchange. ZB is a global exchange that has been operating for 8 years, focusing on protecting the security of customers’ assets. Atticbee discussed the current blockchain technology issues and RChain’s answers to these challenges, and why one day RChain will become the most user- and developer-friendly Web 3.0 infrastructure.
What is missing in all current public blockchains
In Atticbee’s view, none of the existing public chains have solved these issues that are critical to Web 3.0:
- There is currently no real solution to the scalability problem: layer 2 and Ethereum 2.0 is an illusion, because the various layer 2 and sharding subsystems are not interoperable-they don’t “look and feel” like a logical chain.
- They are designed for token transfer applications, not data-intensive Web 3.0 applications.
- Contracts cannot call each other safely, lack “safe composability”, and cannot build large and complex software systems from smaller and simpler building blocks like Web 2.0.
Greg Meredith, the founder of RChain, realized these pain points when he collaborated with Ethereum founder Vitalik to expand Ethereum in 2015. Therefore, at the beginning of the design, he chose Rho-Calculus, which is concurrent, composable, and has on-chain formal verification capabilities, as the calculation model for the contract layer.
This technical route has many features that are theoretically impossible for other projects:
- Solve the “blockchain trilemma” through concurrent “no queue” transaction processing.
- One machine: Big data is stored directly on the chain, integrating all functions Ethereum, IPFS and GRT are combined into one.
- Seamless sharding: The sharding looks and feels like a shard with atomic cross-sharding transactions.
- Fast on-chain formal verification based on its OSLF behavior type system.
The roots and solutions of the “blockchain trilemma”
In Atticbee’s view, the “trilemma of security, performance, and decentralization” only applies to blockchains that currently require queued transactions, not to RChain without queues.
In essence, the traditional blockchain needs to process transactions as a long queue, and all nodes in the network work together to maintain this queue. Then they are destined to suffer an impossible triangle of security, performance, and decentralization:
- For safety reasons, more nodes are required to participate in maintaining this queue.
- For performance (scalability), the queue needs to move forward as fast as possible.
- In order to be decentralized, all nodes need to have equal opportunities to participate in the management and processing of this queue and supervise each other.
The basic logic tells us that a person can only choose two of them and give up the third. Typical example: Ethereum chooses security and decentralization instead of performance; Solana is a leader-based system that chooses security and performance instead of decentralization; EOS 21 equal nodes choose performance and decentralization instead of security.
However, when people realize that “distributed maintenance of transaction queues is the root cause of the trilemma”, if we can eliminate the need for translation queues like RChain, this problem will naturally be solved. In RChain’s “block-merge” test network, as the number of nodes increases, the network reaches a higher TPS. It strongly proves that the trilemma has been solved: more nodes means stronger security; no leadership means decentralization; higher TPS means better performance. Therefore, RChain reaches all three vertices of the “impossible triangle” at the same time.
RChain VS Solana and PolkaDot-two examples of flawed solutions
When asked about its views on other star projects, Atticbee believes that Solana has achieved high TPS at the expense of the blockchain trust model, which is meaningless, because any centralized system can have a higher TPS. The idea behind its design is simple: because it is too slow for multiple nodes to manage the queue together, it just allows the historical proof node to determine the order and write it to the tamper-proof PoH ledger. Other nodes simply execute and verify transactions in this ledger.
However, by doing this, the work of managing the queue is centralized, and the PoH node can decide the order of transactions or review transactions at will. These malicious behaviors are almost impossible to detect and prove. Atticbee mentioned that Flow is a project with similar ideas, but uses the committee to determine the order, making it a fairer version of Solana, but as a cost, its TPS is much lower. This is a textbook example of how the “queuing system” inevitably suffers from the trilemma.
As for RChain, it does not need to queue transactions at all, so it can achieve high TPS while maintaining a decentralized Leaderless architecture.
Atticbee also believes that PolkaDot is an incomplete cross-chain solution and lacks the necessary coordination capabilities. It cannot complete cross-chain transactions atomically. Nor does it provide “composable security” to ensure that when a contract calls another contract on another parachain through the relay chain, the granted permissions will not be disclosed to others. RChain has the ability of atomic termination of cross-chain transactions, coupled with the behavioral type system as a “firewall on the chain”, making it an excellent cross-chain solution.
Global computer with concurrent process orchestration
The ultimate goal of RChain is to build a truly global computer as the foundation of Web 3.0. From the experience of Web 2.0, the most valuable asset on the Web is massive data. Therefore, all existing blockchains were built with the wrong design from the beginning: they were optimized specifically as payment networks. A true Web 3.0 infrastructure must be designed for data-intensive applications.
In addition, we can see that the existing Web 2.0 systems are becoming more and more complex, but due to componentization and containerization, developers can use smaller reusable components to quickly build large systems. However, if there is no fast formal verification system to ensure secure cooperation between contracts, the existing blockchain cannot do this. The Venus phase of the RChain roadmap attempts to solve this pain point by introducing support for the behavior type system. RChain’s Rho-Calculus is one of the very few models with this feature.
Every developer should start learning Rholang
Rholang is a language based on process calculus, which has long been ignored by the IT industry because it does not want to leave the comfort zone of the current programming paradigm. However, after entering the era of blockchain, Rholang has a series of advantages of blockchain from the design.
First, its immutability makes “queueless” transactions possible. All resources in Rholang are immutable data and codes organized by channels. Atticbee made an analogy: A contract written in a traditional language like Solidity is like a group of children drawing on a blackboard: the order in which the children draw will affect the final state of the blackboard, so they have to line up. On the other hand, Rholang is more like a group of Lego children: they can pick up and assemble some bricks, and then connect the products back to a common project. Since no one can “mutate” any work, the order does not matter, so children can play at the same time.
Another important benefit of being a “queue” is that big data can be stored directly on the chain. Any data-intensive transaction must deal with the high latency of network and disk operations. The prerequisite for such transactions to be completed on-chain is that they can be processed simultaneously with other types of transactions.
After the sharding milestone, RChain will have another developer-friendly feature: there is no difference between writing a cross-shard contract and writing a single-shard contract.
After the Venus milestone, developers can use the behavioral type system to perform static analysis to answer the following questions: Will this code create a race condition, become deadlocked, or leak any given permissions to a third party? These analyses can be done at Rholang compilation time, before the code runs. With this feature, you can now organize a set of contracts on the chain and allow them to call each other safely in a concurrent setting. This advantage completes RChain’s ultimate killer function: on-chain orchestration of contracts, or “Kubernetes on the blockchain”.
The RChain community has used its on-chain data storage capabilities to build DApps that other chains cannot:
- Dappy: Decentralized DNS server and browser, integrating NFT and wallet in one package.
- RSong: Music streaming DApp, music is stored directly on the chain.
- RPI: Photo NFT platform, photo data is stored directly on the chain.
- RCovid-19 Passport: The vaccination certificate is stored directly on the chain.
Atticbee predicts that once all milestones are completed, The benefits of Rholang are enough to allow every DApp developer to adopt this new language paradigm.
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