CyberMiles’ Travis: A faster Ethereum
A design goal of the CyberMiles blockchain is to avoid platform lock-in. We aim for portable code and exchangeable crypto assets.
The CyberMiles ‘Travis’ TestNet is fully compatible with the Ethereum platform. Ethereum smart contracts and Decentralized Applications (DApps) can be deployed and run on Travis without no code change.
Yet Travis is much faster than Ethereum. Public testers in our community have demonstrated that Travis is at least 100 times faster than Ethereum. How did we do it? We do not make “miners” perform meaningless work to compete for the next block. All the computational work on the CyberMiles blockchain is for useful work.
To accomplish this, the CyberMiles blockchain uses a different consensus mechanism than Ethereum. Nevertheless we are the first Designated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) blockchain platform that is fully compatible with Ethereum.
What is DPoS anyway?
The DPoS is representative democracy with property suffrage. CyberMiles blockchain transactions are not validated by a computational competition, but by a vote by the stakeholders of the network. The votes are cast by elected member of the network known as validators. Every vote is final. Unlike Ethereum or Bitcoin, there is no need to wait for a few more blocks of confirmation after a CyberMiles block is validated.
The theory is that people who own large stakes of the network (ex. large token holders) benefit more from maintaining the network integrity than attacking it. So validators elected by the large stakeholders have aligned goals for network security and performance.
Yet it is also crucial for stakeholders to put up collaterals behind the validators they elected. The collaterals can be slashed (i.e. confiscated) if a validator is found to undermine the network — e.g. by voting multiple times to attempt “double spend.” The potential for immediate economic loss through slashing incentivizes the stakeholders to pay close attention to the validators they choose. To punish the malicious actor, stakeholders can vote with their feet, withdraw their stakes from the validator to stop further loss. This actor can no longer stay as a validator if too few stakeholders stake him.
The collaterals a stakeholder puts up to “stake” a validator are locked by the network, and cannot be traded for a certain period of time. That reduces the liquidity of the token. Network compensates for the loss of liquidity by issuing new tokens (the inflation) over time that are awarded to validators and their stakeholders. In effect, each token holder can decide to:
1. Stake his or her tokens to participate in the blockchain governance. (The token holder takes risks and loses liquidy, but receives inflation awards.)
2. Keep trading and speculating his or her tokens for profit, but lose out on the inflation awards.
A key aspect of DPoS is that the blockchain is operated by elected validators. By requiring the validators to meet certain hardware and networking requirements, the blockchain can achieve high performance.
A community of validators
Instead of “miners”, the CyberMiles networks have “validators” who are elected by CyberMiles Token (CMT) holders through a process called “staking.” The validators run sophisticated operations in data centers to ensure the performance, security, and integrity of the CyberMiles blockchain. They validate and reach consensus on the block integrity, CMT transactions in a block, and the results of smart contract executions.
In exchange, they receive block awards in CMT for every new block of transactions they help to validate and record. The block awards are “minted” by the network by issuing new CMT in the future (i.e. the inflation). The initial inflation is eight percent and it could be changed by a vote in the community. Furthermore, validators also receive transaction fees paid by heavy users (The CyberMiles blockchain waives transaction fees for casual users).
Typically, a validator has an agreement with CMT holders who stake him or her, to return some of the profits back to the CMT holders. This agreement is recorded on the blockchain and automatically executed by the blockchain when the validators are “paid” at the time of each block.
In a nutshell, the validators own block awards and transaction fees directly from the network. The token holders can earn an “interest” from the tokens he or she stakes to validators.
But wait, there’s more!
The DPoS economic model is only part of our effort to improve Ethereum performance. Through systemic engineering effort, the CyberMiles team is making significant improvements to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) itself and extend it to support complex operations that are common in e-commerce contracts. The virtual machine improvements are beyond the scope of the Travis TestNet, but will be available in the CyberMiles MainNet in 2018. Stay tuned!
The Ethereum community also has long seen the limitations of its Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism. It has been trying to migrate slowly to Proof of Stake (PoS) over the years, but the conflicts of interests inside the community have made it a very slow process, hence providing an opening for progressive projects like CyberMiles.
Projects aiming to be the “next generation of Ethereum,” such as the EOS and NEO, already plan to adopt the DPoS. But they typically have smart contract platforms that are incompatible with the EVM, and hence cannot leverage the EVM Open Source community. And unlike CyberMiles, they are not optimized for e-commerce in validator selection and VM extensions.
Want to learn more? Just visit cybermiles.io.