Can These Blockchain Protocols Survive a Consumer Facing App?(Part C)
Comparative analysis of notable protocols under requirements of microtransactions and scale
In Parts A & B, we explained why Ethereum’s ERC20 protocol, the industry standard for issuing digital assets and smart contracts, requires a supplement protocol to fulfill our vision of a decentralized marketplace with a full-scale of consumer-facing capabilities. In the following part, we will review 4 additional protocols, the summary will eventually offer a charted comparison of our research.
Thunder, The optimistic
Thunder Token is a distributed system-based cryptocurrency. It aims to combine the speed of classical-style consensus protocols such as Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT), with the simplicity, robustness and corruption tolerance of blockchain-style consensus protocols such as Proof Of Work (PoW). It also fully supports Ethereum smart contracts for dApps implementation, by running Ethereum virtual machines on their nodes.
Thunderella, introduced by Thunder researchers, utilizes a standard chain augmented by an accelerated “optimistic fast-path”. As said before, the protocol is tolerant to Byzantine failures, so if at list ¾ of the nodes approve the transaction, the system utilizes this fast asynchronous path to approve it instantly. Otherwise, the synchronous PoW protocol is used as a fall-back to maintain consistency and ensure the integrity of the network. The Thunderella protocol performs a transaction in less than a second while retaining the trust of a traditional blockchain protocol to deal with dishonest participants. According to Thunder tests, the network could scale up to 100,000 TPS with a few thousand nodes.
At the time of this writing, Thunder is on alpha and is about to release a testnet inJune 2018.
EOS, The Flexible
EOS is a blockchain protocol that claims to operate as a smart-contract platform for the deployment of decentralized applications. It aims to become a decentralized operating system by supporting industrial-scale applications, with claims to eliminate transaction fees and also conduct millions of transactions per second.
The platform uses a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism, which makes a fundamental tradeoff to become more centralized by having 21 block producers rather than infinite miners in a proof of work model, in exchange for a faster, more scalable network. DPoS empowers token holders to select block producers through a continuous approval voting system. Block producers will be awarded new tokens once a block is produced, which means that fees to secure the network in EOS are paid through inflation rather than by the end user.
This lead EOS to finalize transactions instantly. The throughput reported by different sources is around thousands of transactions per second, but Block.one claims that processing transactions simultaneously will allow EOS to scale infinitely over time and provide the speed that developers need to build consumer-facing global applications.
With great performance along with other features such as smart contracts, crypto wallet, and over 140 dApps listed, EOS solution seems like a mature and competitive solution for dApps with microtransactions.
Orbs, The Newcomer
The Orbs platform is a public blockchain Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for large-scale consumer applications inspired by existing best practices, like those of leading cloud computing platforms.
The Orbs consensus algorithm, Helix, is a scalable, fair and Byzantine fault-tolerant consensus protocol.
Helix assumes two types of participants: Nodes that take part in the consensus and users issuing transactions of the nodes. It randomly selects nodes to propose new blocks of transactions which are verified through a bounded-size committee of nodes. Thus it reduces the number of nodes that actively participate in a costly consensus
Fairness is also obtained in this regard . Nodes are selected in an unbiased manner to participate in committees or to propose blocks, based on a unique reputation instead of PoW or PoS.
Helix also aims to assure fairness on transaction confirmation time and throughput by having the users encrypt their transactions prior to publishing them.
Orbs offers adjustable fee models where the fees are programmable at the application layer (e.g. subscription-based, per transaction, etc.). App developers can also purchase reserve capacity in advance, protecting themselves from price fluctuations. They also offer monthly subscriptions, reducing the overall exposure to price volatility.
Due to Orbs’ early stage, and since according to their roadmap a public testnet won’t be live anytime soon, we couldn’t provide any precise data about the network performance, costs, and scale.
Aion, The Bridge
Aion is a multi-tier blockchain network, which envisions itself to interconnect between disparate blockchain entities and enabling the decentralized internet.
The Aion network will enable any blockchain network to:
- Federate: Send data and value between any blockchain in the connected Aion ecosystem
- Scale: Provide fast transaction processing and increased data capacity to all connected blockchains.
- Spoke: Allow the creation of customized public or private blockchains that maintain interoperability with other blockchains, but allow publishers to choose governance, consensus mechanisms, issuance, and participation.
Through AION, each participating blockchain will be able to transact with all the chains connected to the ecosystem, using interchain transactions.
Connecting networks are the protocols by which all blockchains will communicate within the AION ecosystem. It ensures the correctness of transactions by using bridges — a decentralized network of validators which validate the interchain transaction signature and fee, and then broadcast it to connecting network.
The Aion-1 blockchain is the genesis implementation of the Aion connecting network. It improves blockchain bottlenecks, as scalability and costs by improving consensus mechanism and using virtual machine.
The consensus mechanism used by Aion is a hybrid staking and proof-of-intelligence system.The network uses validators to generate blocks and get proportional block rewards. Validators elected using a democratic voting system, where every node can be a candidate or backe one, by staking their tokens or solving unique proof of intelligence (POI) puzzles.
The Aion Virtual Machine (AVM) is a customized lightweight JVM implementation tailored towards executing chain logic and smart contracts within distributed networks and hardened against scenarios that arise in such an environment, by maximize performance, limit smart contract resources consumption and avoid instability by utilizing a sandbox environment and via careful measurement of computation and resource usage.
Up to AION reports, the Kilimanjaro release of the Aion blockchain can process up to 80 tps with a basic account transaction cost equivalent to approximately $0.00007 (based on current network dynamics).
Aion is a really good option for dApps developers looking for an established network with decent performances and interoperability opportunities that allow for flexibility as the market further develops and new solutions are introduced, all while retaining compatibility with solidity and EVM design.
It seems that with the development of the blockchain ecosystem, many new protocols have been recently introduced. All of them try to address blockchain vulnerabilities with different and creative solutions.
When searching for a suitable solution, it’s important to not only consider scalability and transaction cost, but also ease of implementation and other viability factors, such as network adoption, integration complexity, smart-contract capabilities and product deployment schedule.
Next week in Part D, I’ll provide a charted comparison summary of my research, considering different parameters such as scale, costs, trust, decentralization, and maturity.
ClanPlay is the highest rated app for gamers with 4.8 stars and 1.5m users. We are introducing a new marketplace for in-game actions, where anyone can pay players for services inside games.
Using Blockchain allows us to service the entire gamer population, including hundreds of millions of unbanked awesome players. It also enables creating smart-contracts that ensure payment and actions are both conducted in a transparent and trust-less manner.
The Good Game (GG) Token
To fulfill our plan, we needed to create a utility cryptographic token that will serve as the basis for all marketplace transactions. We called this token “GG”, a term all gamers have probably used, today.
The GG marketplace will be relying on authorizers, entities with access to either public or private game data. Based on their data, interested parties will write contracts, stating the actions they would like to pay for and these contracts will be picked up by players, looking to fulfill these actions and get paid.
Given the early exposure, this marketplace will get among ClanPlay’s existing audience, we anticipate an immediate need for scalability in support of thousands of transactions per second. The GG contracts will require a blockchain protocol that supports a stateful smart contract mechanism, allowing the authorizers to inject a new state (game data) in order to conclude a GG transaction.
You can read more about the Good Game (GG) token and its contract system in our whitepaper.