Blockchain (DLT) Velocity @ the Network Edge | XENIRO Thought Leadership Series Part 5

In the fourth part of XENIRO thought leadership series, we demonstrated the potential of the xGRID infrastructure (5G + MEC + DLT) as a complement to Network Function Virtualization (NFV) with Network Slicing (NS) capabilities.

The Part 5 of this series is entitled “Blockchain (DLT) Velocity @ the Network Edge”, where we describe the optimizations in transaction throughput required to process IoT payments at scale (where MEC becomes the digital bank) and cater for billions of smart devices. Our discussion will center around:

  • What is DLT and what are its main characteristics?
  • XENIRO SnapScale DLT performance solution
  • XENIRO SnapScale DLT use case
  • A DLT is a distributed database that resides and spreads across several nodes. In the case of operators, nodes consist of different MECs (Multi-Access Edge Computing nodes).
  • The ledger is an accounting record of transactions (bookkeeping system keeping track of credits and debits).
  • All operator’s MEC nodes across the network replicate and save an identical copy of the ledger. Any recorded transactions (E.g.: an IoT device autonomously paying another IoT device) is independently constructed and recorded by each node.
  • MEC nodes then vote on these IoT recorded transactions and provide updates to the ledger to ensure the majority agrees with the conclusion reached. This voting agreement is called “consensus” and is automated through a set of encrypted “consensus algorithms”.
  • DLTs reduce the cost of trust through validating transactions. The architecture and structure of distributed ledgers assist in reducing dependence on financial institutions and lowering the costs without multiple intermediaries.
  • The distributed and decentralized nature of DLT + MEC nodes appears as the perfect catalyst for the advent of IoT, as it creates (A) Trusted things (B) Highly secure environment for IoT devices to operate (C) Accelerates machine transactions with a decentralized Edge infrastructure model (D) Business model innovation.
  • DLT presents a new paradigm: a powerful driver that allows the tracking of billions of connected devices, enabling autonomous transactions and coordination.

Diagram (A): XENIRO’s DLT (code name SnapScale) is made up of blocks and graphs, verified through unique algorithms that assign hash encryptions. This is essentially the bookkeeping ledger recording transactions.

Diagram (B): XENIRO’s SnapScale DLT resides in a platform that is deployed in Operator’s 5G MECs at the edge of the network, proximity to IoT devices.

Diagram (C): 5G MECs are interconnected through the SnapScale DLT, allowing for billions of machine-to-machine transactions to be processed, thereby becoming “IoT Digital Banks”. In other words, each operator MEC node becomes a replacement of traditional payment processing terminals.

The industry estimated the exponential growth of IoT devices to exceed 20 billion by 2020. One question comes to mind: how will SnapScale DLT handle such high-performance transaction throughput?

Consensus mechanism is the soul of the DLT network. It is a fault-tolerant mechanism that is in the system to achieve necessary collective agreement on a single state of the network. It is a dynamic way of reaching consensus between MEC nodes.

XENIRO’s SnapScale DLT consists of hybrid data structures (blocks and graphs) that is split into dual tiers.

Tier 1 — This blockchain layer is utilizing a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus. It is notably seen as one of the most semi-decentralized, efficient and fastest consensus ledgers in the industry to date.

Tier 2 — This layer is utilizing Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) that has a graph structure, allowing the network to circumvent some of the blockchain limitations. The advantage with DAG is that there are no blocks. It is designed to complete the length of transactional sequence in the shortest space of time.

The 2-Tier combination (DPoS Block + DAG) marks the birth of XENIRO’s SnapScale DLT. Reason being for the 2-Tier DLT is to segregate assorted IoT transaction types in avoiding congestions. For example, any IoT nano-transactions below a certain value threshold, will be executed on the DAG platform, and transactions that require a more heavy weight (E.g smart contracts) will pass through Tier 1 on the main chain. The design of the XENIRO SnapScale opts for semi-decentralization in exchange for scalability, that is far more suited in the IoT domain and indeed more pragmatic.

This diagram depicts the transaction flow between IoT devices, the MEC infrastructure and the final recipient as it is executed on the SnapScale DLT platform. This newly refined architecture will boost DLT scalability to a whole new level.

Scenario (A) in the diagram: The autonomous vehicle is to be charged at the Electrical Vehicle (EV) charging station. The XENIRO SnapScale DLT facilitates the transaction by allowing the autonomous vehicle to make payments automatically through a smart contract with the EV charging station, processed through a nearby MEC. This processing could take the form of device authentication, privacy encryption and performance boost through the XENIRO ORDOS ASIC chip embedded in the MEC. Due to the weight of the transaction (Smart Contracts are categorized as heavyweights), the Decentralized Ledger Smart Policy Engine (DSPE) residing in the automation platform will divert the transactions to be processed on the upper layer (Tier 1) of the SnapScale DLT. This design intelligently segregates workloads, based on transaction type on the chain, for enhanced service acceleration.

Scenario (B) in the diagram: Assuming a security company offers a security surveillance service for the EV charging station requiring nano-transactions to be paid on a daily interval: in this specific instance, there is no need for smart contract deployment. Due to the nature of these lightweight transactions, DSPE will divert them to have them processed on the lower layer (Tier 2) of the SnapScale DLT for efficiency.

In both scenarios, we are segregating the workloads on the SnapScale through intelligent detection with DSPE, enhancing performance in extending scalability through a decentralized setting. (DSPE supports service flow detection, policy enforcement and flow based DLT transactions on SnapScale).

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