HEAT Blockchain: Unlimited Size to Enable the Adoption of True Decentralization
In this article HEAT Ledger Ltd.’s CTO, Dennis de Klerk, will introduce the concept and benefits behind HEAT’s latest update to its chain. This revolutionary new approach offers an (almost) unlimited storage capacity for blockchain data.
This technology has been three years in the making and is a break from conventional blockchain engineering. This is achieved through a combination of optimizations at the lowest possible computing levels all the way up to a world wide spanning decentralized network of thousands of servers and home computers.
Invented, developed and pioneered by the HEAT development team, we bring you a virtualized decentralized blockchain storage engine that leads the way for world-wide blockchain mass adoption, not only as a means for payments, but as a method to transact between customer and service provider in a transparent, auditable, cheap and fast way as never seen before.
Below I attempt to introduce the solutions that have been put in place based on the problems that the HEAT team set themselves to solve.
Data Storage, Virtualized to Infinity
When we set out to create the HEAT platform it was to solve a real world problem. The problem: there was no blockchain-based network available that was permissionless, censorship resistant, low cost, extremely fast, fully decentralized and that runs on cheap hardware — more specific that it runs on an average laptop or PC (I will explain more on why that is important for HEAT microservices later).
I am proud to say we solved those problems, and I did so together with our international team of highly motivated blockchain engineers over the three years since we started development of the HEAT blockchain platform.
However, one challenging problem remained — storage scarcity.
You see, a blockchain or DLT (distributed ledger) at its core consists of transactions (that make up the ledger) of which it’s essential they are to be kept forever by everyone who operates a node (a node means running the blockchain software) — https://github.com/Heat-Ledger-Ltd/heatledger).
And here is the problem: transactions, however small and compressed in size, taken together add up to a considerable size. A size which will expand at an ever increasing rate as more people discover the benefits of operating online services on top of the HEAT network.
Virtualizing Blockchain Storage
Things will get a little bit more technical from here on but I’ll try to keep it understandable.
When in computer science we talk of virtualization it can mean several things. In our case, we mean HEAT creates a virtual hard disk on your computer when you are running our software. A big benefit of virtual hard disks is that although they take some space on your device's hard-drive, it is much smaller than the real thing would be.
Our virtual hard disk is very big, in fact it’s over 18 Million TeraBytes in size. Imagine stacking 18 Million 1TB hard drives (0.7cm) on top of each other… that’s over 100 Kilometers high!
Rewarding Decentralized Archival — POP
The virtual hard disk described above is actually made up of smaller real world pieces of 640 MB, each small enough to fit on a CD or be sent over most internet connections (after zip compression).
While it is not necessary for the HEAT network to operate and to verify that all transactions are valid, there are plenty of important reasons to archive all transactions.
In the blockchain space there is this running joke about everyone wanting to decentralize everything sometimes to the point where it makes no sense. However, storing 18,446,744 TeraBytes of transaction archives is quite a challenge, and is something you simply can’t do without a form of decentralization.
Since archival of previous transactions is beneficial to all participants on the network, HEAT created a reward system to promote this behavior. The rewards work very much like how Bitcoin pays rewards for it’s miners and HEAT pays rewards for forgers and people leasing their balance (stake) to forgers.
Anyone running a HEAT server and contributing to both archiving those 640 MB pieces of virtual hard disk and at the same time making them available to others through our peer 2 peer network will be eligible for POP (proof of presence) rewards.
The algorithm to choose who gets how much POP rewards is hardcoded in the HEAT blockchain protocol and is based on exactly which piece of the virtual disk you have on your computer and how rare that is on the network as a whole. Hosting more rare pieces will get you more rewards, that way we ensure an equal distribution of all pieces of virtual disk space across all nodes. (POP will become fully functional the next big server release..)
Proving Your Presence
You can do a lot with decentralized solutions, if it was up to us we’d use decentralized solutions for everything where there is a benefit for the network to work better. But when it comes to verifying that a user hosts a certain piece of the virtual storage we unfortunately found no way YET to do that in a way that could not be gamed.
The solution we have opted for the time being is an automated mechanism initially operated by HEAT Ledger organization. The reward process is still overseen by the blockchain protocol but it needs a bit of human intervention to rubber stamp the rewards paid out by the blockchain’s reward system to prevent those from going to anyone who is cheating the system and not hosting the virtual disk spaces. Apart from this, the protocol does not allow the organization to do anything else, meaning we cannot touch any of the rewards.
One potential solution we are exploring is a form of elected master nodes.
The Freedom to Operate your own Service
Please allow me to illustrate something for you. I will try and explain our vision for HEAT Microservices. To understand what HEAT Microservices are and why they can benefit us all we need to understand how generic online services work right now.
As shown in this image online services run on a ‘server’ and ‘clients’ (that’s a fancy name for your mobile phone or PC) will communicate with the server over the internet.
HEAT Microservices work much in the same way. Let me first list the differences
between the two and then I’ll explain who can benefit and in what ways. The differences are:
- works even offline,
- communications are digitally signed,
- everything is archived, transparent, and auditable,
- works from your home,
- it’s free,
- it’s anonymous,
- and your server location never has to be revealed.
HEAT Microservices and cryptocurrencies are a match made in heaven. To get an idea of the potential services that can run on the new version of the HEAT chain, I’ll enumerate a few. These are:
- escrow services,
- sports betting,
- exchange services,
- digital signature services,
- notary services.
In-house work is on going towards the re-design of the Microservices Software Development Kit — find here an earlier version — https://github.com/Heat-Ledger-Ltd/heat-microservice.
By keeping an eye over time on the developments in Smart Contracts and Programmable Blockchain, we can clearly identify the increasing need for a platform with the characteristics of HEAT Microservices. Designed to operate in a censorship resistant, secure and transparent way, it is the ideal solution for the next cryptocurrency-related big businesses of the future.
Going Forward: A New Mobile Wallet Concept
We love cryptocurrencies and we love to innovate; we have been in the crypto game since 2013. A lot has been tried, explored, some failed, some succeeded .. this latest HEAT milestone being one of the better ones.
Recently work has started on an ambitious project. This project’s aim is to bring together all existing crypto currencies and place them right at your fingertips, in your pocket in the form of a mobile wallet app -
A well designed mobile wallet platform that is built from the ground up to serve a world audience with the goal to bring more and more people into crypto and to advance the usage of and expose especially those features that make each crypto currency unique.
Through our deep understanding of crypto we are able to go way beyond just sending coin A to B.
That’s why we like to call on cryptocurrency developers of all blockchains and work with us. Our new mobile wallet is built on a flexible architecture that allows us to support those features that make your system unique!
Our wallet app will support your asset system, your decentralized exchange, your atomic swap protocols, your voting features for master nodes, with our wallet you can lease out your balance for easy POS staking and we can send push notifications when your miners find a block.
Simple integrations could be done in less than an hour of your or one of your developers time.
We in turn provide a world class user experience, the most flexible key storage mechanism (BIP32, BIP39 and BIP44) plus a scalable server infrastructure with push notification support.
Furthermore, the new wallet concept will be the first beneficiary of the HEAT micro-services platform.
We believe that the era of crypto is just starting. We believe the adoption of a truly decentralized network will become a reality once we can bring together the theory (for example atomic swaps), the scalibility and cheap decentralized storage backbone (for instance the HEAT network), all accessible through a mobile platform, supported by a central entity (until something better is found) that incentivizes its development and expansion not only to those lucky to have traditional options, but to the millions of un-banked and un-credited around the world who are left out of the financial system and its benefits.
Join us in this crypto adoption adventure through HEAT’s new wallet concept, and get in touch with any questions, doubts or suggestions you might have. We are ready to support your coin or smart contract and expose those features that make your project unique to the biggest possible audience to enjoy. A brief moment of your time to fill out a few lines of code after you install our integration kit is all it takes. Tech savvy community members are most welcome to join as well of course!
About HEAT Ledger
Heat Ledger Ltd. (HEAT), founded in 2016, is a Finland based blockchain development company and creators of the HEAT blockchain protocol. The HEAT Blockchain protocol operates live since January 2017, it is capable of doing 1,000+ (real) tx/sec in a decentralized network and has virtually unlimited storage capacity through its custom storage engine. HEAT’s blockchain lowers the entry barrier and becomes the perfect solution for anyone to run their own microservices and benefit from all the efficiency gains of a blockchain infrastructure.