ATMOS: Delegated Cross-Chain Proof of Stake Explained

Samuel Miller
Sep 26, 2018 · 4 min read

Thanks to ATMOS — AERUM’s delegated cross-chain Proof of Stake (dxPoS) consensus mechanism, our infrastructure manages to avoid an array of attack vectors and network stalls. It also reduces the transaction finality to just 6 blocks, substantially increasing its efficiency.

What’s Already Out There?

Since you’ll hear a lot about consensus algorithms in the field of distributed-ledger technologies, it’s worth defining the most important principles and types that are currently in use.

Put simply, a consensus algorithm does two things — it makes sure that the next block in the chain is the one and only version of the truth. The second thing it does is keep adversaries from successfully derailing the system and, essentially, forking it.

The most prominent representatives of these, and the most commonly used consensus algorithms, are Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS).

Proof of Work

Proof of Work (PoW) functions through certain network participants (referred to as miners) who have to compete to add the next block to the chain. Essentially, they race to solve a cryptographic puzzle and the first one to achieve it, wins it all. As a reward, he receives a specified amount of the mined cryptocurrency.

While it represents a serious breakthrough, PoW has seen its fair share of criticism. It requires substantial amounts of computational energy and it fails to scale well as transaction confirmations usually take between 10 and 60 minutes. Obviously, the more transactions there are the slower the whole system becomes. There are also environmental and geopolitical considerations, since the majority of mining takes place in centralized regions around the world where electricity is usually cheaper.

Proof of Stake

Proof of Stake (PoS) is likely to be the most common alternative to PoW. Here, instead of having to invest in expensive computing equipment, certain network participants (referred to as validators) invest in the coins of the system in question.

Unlike PoW systems, those which run on PoS consensus do not have coin creation. All the coins exist from inception and validators are paid in transaction fees. The chances of someone being chosen to validate a transaction depend on the fraction of coins in the system that the validator owns.

One of the most substantial issues of PoS systems is that they are less decentralized than the other alternatives. They are considered to be much less secure than PoW systems.

AERUM’s Solution — ATMOS

AERUM’s two-tiered hierarchy model for governance, as well as for consensus formation, is primarily based on the principles of liquid delegated democracy.

There are two types of participants in the project’s blockchain:

  • Regular users
  • Delegate users

Let’s have a run-through both and identify key takeaways and notable differences.

Regular Users

Regular users in AERUM’s blockchain are identified as anonymous participants who are able to execute permission-less transactions. Additionally, they can also use, create, and publish decentralized applications (dApps), conduct any type of business activity and acquire XRM tokens.

They can also stake with any Delegate user of their choice and earn Aero coins to pay the transaction fees on AERUM.

Delegate User

Delegate users in AERUM’s blockchain represent authenticated as well as publicly recognized participants. They have undergone peer reviews and identification processes by existing Delegates.

In order to qualify, Delegates should provide a stake in XRM tokens in order to list their candidacy. The latter will be voted upon approval by the remaining Delegates.

In turn, the consensus mechanism of AERUM — ATMOS, will be dynamically selecting the Block Delegates Committee from the current list of Delegates.

It’s worth noting that other participants, including application and marketplace operators, merchants, developers, liquidity providers, and market makers, for example, will always fall within the above two general categories.

The ecosystem governance is executed through an on-chain voting system carried out by the Delegates. It has to reach a simple majority (50% +1) votes in order to get a decision passed.

Delegates Committee and Block Creation

Blocks are created by the Delegates Committee. This group of Delegates is dynamically selected by the Governance smart contract on the mainnet of Ethereum and it consists of 10 Delegates. They will be signing blocks on AERUM throughout the current Epoch, which is basically a period of 1000 blocks. This takes around 33 minutes.

Additionally, there are different protection mechanisms which are built-in to prevent multiple attack vendors as well as network stalls. They also minimize the transaction finality to just 6 blocks, which is blazing fast when compared to every other blockchain infrastructure currently available.

You can read more about AERUM on our official website. Have questions about the ATMOS consensus mechanism? Feel free to ask us about ATMOS, or anything else, on our Telegram group.

What do you think of AERUM’s ATMOS consensus mechanism? Please let us know in the comments below!

The Aerum Project We make Blockchain blossom

Samuel Miller

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The Aerum Project We make Blockchain blossom

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