The RChain Root Shard

The RChain network’s security begins and ends with the root shard. On its own, the root shard looks and performs much like current smart contracting blockchains. The root shard must have thousands of individual validators staking a sufficient amount to eliminate the incentive for validators to form coalitions.

The Root Shard will have the following general characteristics:

Many global validators to ensure maximum decentralization, transaction, and wallet security.

Slow block propagation times due to the large number of heterogeneous validators.

Low total transaction throughput due to slow block propagation times (only around 10x current Ethereum throughputs, e.g.)

Expensive transactions due to the large number of validators.

Very low staking requirements to encourage large numbers of validators.

Very low validator joining fees to encourage validators at various levels of investment.

High Performance Shards

In order to accomplish our performance goals, the RChain Cooperative and Pyrofex intend to roll out a number of high-performance shards with regional focus. The first of these shards will be deployed in the United States, but RChain encourages validator groups to form across the world, and deploy their own regional shards.

A regional shard may have fewer individual validators who each stake larger amounts than is typical for the root shard. This makes these shards suitable for applications that need both acceptable levels of transaction security and performance. But, applications that are willing to sacrifice performance for security should consider the root shard, instead.

High Performance Shards will have the following general characteristics:

Sufficient validators to ensure regional decentralization, transaction, and wallet security.

Rapid block propagation times due to high levels of backbone bandwidth.

High total transaction throughput due to rapid block propagation times (perhaps as much as 1,000x current Ethereum transaction rates)


Moderate transaction fees due to the good balance of security and performance.

Higher staking requirements to encourage validators to make effective infrastructure investments.

Higher validator joining fees to protect against “ant army” attacks.

Peering in the RChain Network’s Root Shard

RChain’s network is intended to be extremely low latency, with block confirmation times on the order of just a few seconds. It is also intended to be extremely high capacity, targeting 40,000 total transactions per second. Unlike most existing blockchains, RChain has the convenience of a single governance organization that we can leverage to help split the difference between these competing, but equally valuable goals.

To accomplish this, the RChain’s peer-to-peer network is split into the following parts:

Backbone Validators

Local Validators

Observers (or “Watchers”)

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