Kaspa: Accelerating Beyond the Blockchain

From a Concept to a Cutting-Edge Deployment

N. R. Crowningshield
Kaspa Currency
Published in
6 min readMar 17, 2024

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An Evolution, Not a Replication

Those who follow Kaspa understand the monumental work the developers are undertaking. It’s far from just another entry in the crowded space of crypto-nonsense; it’s not another Bitcoin clone, meme token, or even a blockchain; it’s a project set on a course to redefine the foundations of crypto technology and, by extension, the financial ecosystem.

Yet, there’s a narrative out there, fueled by a mix of misunderstanding, hype, and the fast-paced expectations common in the crypto world, that paints Kaspa’s progress as slow. But let’s be clear: The past eighteen months have been anything but stagnant for Kaspa. This period has been marked by a genuine push towards innovation, the application of cutting-edge scientific methods, and significant advancements, all of which together define the Kaspa standard.

A group of approximately 20 developers is central to this transformative journey. Through their collaborative efforts, Kaspa has experienced significant changes in its operations, carving a path for a future where scalability and efficiency in crypto are optimized and expected.

This rapid evolution and substantial work achieved in just a year and a half spotlight the commitment and expertise behind Kaspa, challenging any notions of slow progress and emphasizing the project’s role in setting new benchmarks for technological excellence in the cryptosphere.

The Rust Rewrite

In what’s commonly referred to as the Rust rewrite, the developers have realized a comprehensive overhaul of Kaspa’s codebase. To describe this effort as merely a ‘rewrite’ would be to undersell its magnitude; it was, in reality, a complete reconstruction, outstanding in its approach and execution. The mission extended beyond routine updates or refinements; it’s a visionary goal to reimagine Kaspa’s architecture from scratch. This foundational revamp demanded technical understanding and a profound reevaluation of Kaspa’s core principles, ensuring the revamped codebase would reflect and amplify these foundational ideals.

Throughout this intricate process of the Rust rewrite, the developers thoroughly examined each line of code, aspiring to transcend the established benchmarks of efficiency, scalability, and reliability set by the previous Go standards, pushing the envelope of blockDAG technology and setting new precedents for the future. A critical element of this overhaul was guaranteeing a seamless transition from the existing Go-based system with the Rust implementation, syncing at 1 block per second (BPS) to ensure backward compatibility. This is a critical move to provide a frictionless evolution and ongoing network functionality, laying a solid and versatile codebase for ramping up the Rust version to an insane 10 BPS. This exhaustive reconstruction reimagines Kaspa’s technological basis. It has also opened doors to a vast network of untapped potential, limited solely by the collective imagination of the Kaspa community.

Innovating Network Performance

While going into full detail of this major transition is beyond the scope of this article, here are some highlights to underscore the magnitude of the work involved.

Kaspa comprehensively reworked the mempool alongside significant segments of the network's validation logic and difficulty adjustment algorithms - a re-engineered design to embrace throughputs that were once deemed unfeasible. With unprecedented grace, the Kaspa network is now adept at managing an influx of transactions, upwards of 500,000 pending transactions, establishing a new high-water mark for throughput within proof-of-work.

Streamlining API

Understanding the pivotal role seamless integration plays in widespread adoption, the Kaspa developers have thoroughly retooled the API. An endeavor that aims to simplify the developer interface, rendering it more intuitive and accessible. The outcome is an API that offers enhanced flexibility and power and significantly lowers the entry barrier for developers and integrators, promoting a more inclusive Kaspa ecosystem.

Embracing WebAssembly

In a strategic pivot towards the future, Kaspa has embraced WebAssembly (WASM), laying the foundation for progressive applications like the Kaspa Next Generation (KNG) — which I have dubbed Kaspa’s New Groove. This enhancement widens the scope of potential applications for Kaspa — another shift towards more user-centric network interactions and bringing with it the future with browser extensions.

Addressing UTXO Bloat

Kaspa has addressed the challenge of UTXO set bloat, a concern related to the increasing storage demands on full nodes caused by the growing database of unspent transaction outputs (UTXOs). This issue impacts storage requirements and hinders the efficiency of syncing new nodes to the network, as larger UTXO sets can slow down the process significantly. By devising innovative strategies to mitigate this problem, Kaspa is lowering the entry barrier and creating a more scalable and efficient network. An upcoming paper outlining their solutions will explore more details on this approach.

Transitioning to Rust

As you read, Kaspa is initiating the implementation of Rust on the mainnet, beginning with about 3–5% of its hash power. It’s worth noting the meticulous planning behind this transition. This careful migration from 1 BPS in Go to 1 BPS in Rust isn’t an upgrade; it’s more of a bridge, ensuring that Kaspa’s new design translates seamlessly from theory to practice within the live network.

This phase is crucial for the technical shift and maintaining the network’s integrity and user confidence. The quiet and controlled approach to moving hash power was deliberate, aiming to manage this significant change with precision and to be prepared for any contingencies. This decision recognizes that a successful deployment in cryptocurrency requires a well-planned integration of new features without disrupting the existing ecosystem.

If Kaspa had not already been a project valued in the billions, the push towards the mainnet might have come sooner. Yet, the scale of the project demands a cautious, controlled approach. This approach distinguishes the careful deployment from the creative development.

Development is the creative phase, where new ideas are born and tested in a safe environment, allowing for innovation without immediate real-world impact. Deployment, however, involves integrating these innovations into the live network. This process demands cautiousness to maintain stability, security, and efficiency. This method ensures that Kaspa continues to lead in innovation and guarantees a stable and scalable network for its users, balancing introducing new features with the imperative of preserving network integrity.

TN11

Also, it’s important to note that Kaspa’s TN11 has been operating at an impressive 10 BPS since the beginning of 2024.

KNG Visualizer — TN 11

Diving into 10 BPS in a world-scale peer-to-peer system, as evidenced by the development and deployment of TN11, Kaspa has ventured into previously unexplored territories of crypto technology. Achieving this level of implementation was a giant leap into new cutting-edge territory that necessitated pushing the boundaries of concurrency in computation and communication to their absolute limits. The complexity of producing such a high-throughput system, where every millisecond counts, demanded unparalleled precision in the design and execution of Kaspa’s network protocols.

This initiative of high-frequency block production upends how blockchain networks operate at scale. The engineering challenge here is profound — there’s a critical threshold where the system’s components must synchronize flawlessly. Any deviation, no matter how minor, can lead to cascading failures, transforming minor hiccups into major disruptions. The Kaspa developers’ ability to navigate this tightrope, ensuring that every part of the network operates in perfect harmony, emphasizes the technical prowess and innovative spirit driving the project forward.

Kaspa’s Testnet 11 has proven formidable in demonstrating stability, security, and speed. It operates at 10 BPS while managing a transaction throughput of 3,000 TPS and handles a mempool queue of over 500,000 transactions with remarkable stability.

Kaspa Delivers

All of this plus more, in a relatively short span of eighteen months, Kaspa has undergone a metamorphosis that is the envy of many projects (proven by the seemingly endless forks). The Kaspa developers have achieved remarkable advancements with unwavering dedication and a visionary future transcending current crypto horizons. It’s important to remember that Kaspa isn’t just progressing; it’s leading the charge, reigniting the foundational crypto vision of a decentralized, efficient, and open financial system that once sparked the inception of Bitcoin.

Tip: Check the Block DAG tab on the top of the https://kaspa-ng.org/ page to see visualizer.

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