The World’s Fastest Blockchain Exceeds 1 Million Transactions Per Second
For over seven years, a team of mathematicians, programmers & AI specialists in Russia have been perfecting the lightning-fast logistical Tectum Blockchain — and it’s finally ready for prime-time. We’re joined by software executive Alexander Guseff to learn how Tectum may transform records-keeping, digital media rights, inventory management, IoT, geo-positioning, and more…
Alexander, welcome! So your team has developed a blockchain named Tectum, and I understand that it’s much faster than other blockchains. Let me start out by asking what Tectum is, what makes it unique?
Tectum is a distributed ledger protocol platform, or a blockchain. Now there are lots of other blockchain platforms out there — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and many others, but what makes Tectum unique is that it employs a high-speed record change signature management algorithm called a “HashDrive”.
The HashDrive allows us to provide nearly instantaneous event updates through the whole blockchain without cluttering the nodes with big chunks of data. Instead of storing the data directly in the blockchain, Tectum stores hashes that are mapped back to the original data stored at a lower level.
In practice, this means that is that we’re isolating the heavy transaction-related data from the main pipeline by hashing, encrypting and signing the bundles at the end of every transaction and archiving it. This makes the event-related data instantly verifiable and publicly accessible, with different levels of accessibility provided to different transaction-related modules.
From what I understand, your team created Tectum several years ago, and you’ve been refining it for quite a while now, right?
Yes, we’re on version 5.1 at the moment. The team has been working on the project for several years now — they started long before I came onboard, and we’ve had some really remarkable people contribute to it.
For instance, we’ve had seven different mathematicians from our local university work on optimizing its performance, and AI specialists as well. Kazan is one of the biggest scientific centers for AI research in Russia, and two of those scientists were involved with our team.
I joined the team about a year and half ago, and when I started writing a white paper on it, I quickly realized that version 3.0 didn’t really have practical applications. Back then, we only had a portal and a backend, so I started looking for real-world business applications for it.
I began working with the programmers on our team to understand it better, and during this process I started to realize how remarkable this blockchain really was. For instance, the actual consensus protocol was designed to unload heavy traffic from the upper-level of the blockchain to a mid-level, which made it really fast.
Normally, the rule of thumb for a blockchain is that the greater the security, the slower it is. Conversely, if you want a fast blockchain, you’re going to have security issues, because everything comes with a cost. That’s not the case for Tectum, however, because we separated the levels of data into multiple tiers.
Another thing I quickly realized was that Tectum’s design really wasn’t optimal for cryptocurrency and tokenization. The way it’s designed, it has far more potential in logistics, IOT applications, and as a high-speed digital notary engine. Since then, we’ve added major improvements to the software and rewritten most of the backend to continue improving the product.
You just mentioned logistics — what are some of the applications of Tectum in that area? How would you use it?
It’s perfect for lightweight, high-volume applications, especially for record-keeping. So you could use it to effectively notarize and store municipal, legal, logistics, and billing records, for instance. It also has Internet of Things applications — so if you wanted to record the geo-position of a drone or systems status of a vehicle several times a second, it would be perfect.
Tectum’s high speed is what gives it an advantage, and this comes from having three levels of nodes in the blockchain. We have a master node that’s designed to carry all the heavy weight data, and then an upper level that conducts communication with hashes.
So it really is a hash-drive — it hashes packets, it hashes blocks, it hashes just about everything and it keeps it on the upper level of the blockchain. Now further down on the the mid-level where we’re handling metadata, the function is to keep the hash stacks related to one or another particular type of event.
Can you give me an example of a real world use-case that demonstrates some practical applications for this blockchain?
Sure. Let’s say you wrote a song and you want to share it online for a fee. As the author of the song and owner of the media entity, and you have a right to sell it online because it’s your intellectual property.
So you keep the song in your database, which means you’re responsible for the safety of your media. So you’ve got a server, you’ve got a website, and you’ve listed that song online so that people will listen to it. Now let’s say your song becomes popular, and 10 million people listen to it — but only 5 million of them paid you royalties.
That means you’ve got five million people you need to chase down. It’s a legal issue. You don’t know how to do it, because people visit your site, download and listen, or they just stream. You don’t know what’s happening.
This is where a blockchain becomes useful, because every time your song is downloaded or streamed the blockchain generates a record, and since the record by itself is a massive amount of data, the blockchain hashes that the record, it generates a hash of an event. The hash of an event is recorded in that particular block, and the block also keeps the hash of the previous block just to make sure it is unchanged and has not been tampered with.
So it’s able to recognize it and roll back to read it and see what was there — what kind of events took place there, but that’s not enough. The actual event which was recorded on the previous block is also recorded in the stack. So in relation to your particular piece or unit of media, the song which you recorded, we need the access to the actual stack of events, which relates to your particular song. So we don’t want to be digging through the whole blockchain and sending the request to all the nodes asking which node has this or that block.
It sounds like this is suitable for tasks like inventory management, billing, legal records, and things like that.
Yeah. That’s easy because those are digital entities. When you have documentation you’re dealing with entries and line items, which are really easy to kind of nail down and store. Any time you’re not dealing with a physical product it becomes much easier.
See, that’s what Tectum is good for — the upper level, that event hashing level, the formalization level can be replicated. We can have an internet of things level, we can have transactional level, we can have a media management level, a document management level. All of the nodes are designed so that they can instantly create another blockchain on top of the meta-data blockchain.
For example, as soon as one of the users injects their own type of data and there is a user for that data, the new blockchain starts. Ah, okay. So like for example, you uploaded your song and I went onto your website and I pushed the button and I listened to that song. Obviously I am a part of blockchain because I have a light node on my cell phone. So I’m listening to my cell phone. Immediately there is a cycle that locks and there is a block chain.
How does Tectum compare to other blockchains? What are some of the differences between it and a blockchain like Ethereum, for example?
Tectum is designed to be fast, and it’s designed for data. You see, before I answer your question, we need to roll back into 2016 when all these big guys like Tron, NEO and others all came to life. Back then there was a lot of digital cash hype, and most of these systems were designed to be digital currencies first, and people tried to manipulate them to deal with data second.
What that means is that for anything larger than simple transactions, these other blockchains get expensive in a hurry. Look at Ethereum. It only costs me three or 4 cents to send you an amount of Ethereum, but if you want to register an algorithmic three-body smart contract in the blockchain then the price jumps rapidly. I did this last week, and it cost me $7.
Now ask yourself a question — how much will it cost you to register a power of attorney? I mean it’s gonna cost you a hundred dollars. Why? It’s because the blockchain is designed in such a way that it’s going to eat anything you throw at it, which really raises the question of what should actually be stored in the blockchain versus what should simply be referenced by it.
In Tectum, you don’t upload, you don’t send the document to the blockchain. You send the hash of the document. You hash the event. You send the hash of the event to the blockchain and the actual event stays down there at the lower level. So you when you need and when it’s required you retrieve the hash, you retrieve the block, and you know exactly where that document is, along with who, when, and where it was created, as well as which users had access to it, how many times it was viewed, edited, modified or even tampered with.
So it sounds like the key to Tectum is that it’s a hash-based blockchain. Other blockchains just store the data directly, but Tectum is storing hashes that can be referenced back to the original data. And that’s why it’s so fast, right? What happens if the original data is lost, though?
Yes, that’s what makes it so fast. Other blockchains have overloaded their blocks with information related to transactions, which is why they’re so slow in comparison.
Bitcoin processes 4.6 transactions per second, Ethereum does 15 TPS, and Ripple handles 1,700 TPS. Newer blockchains like EOS claim 50,000 TPS, while Futurepia claims to achieve 100,000 TPS. In a conventional sense, these are impressive speeds — but compare that to over 1 million transactions per second we’ve achieved with Tectum. Obviously our HashDrive works.
Now, let’s say you lose your computer or server. It doesn’t mean your data is lost — you can still access that stack by retrieving the block information. The process of retrieval will be slower without a single point of access to the original data on your computer, but it still exists in the master nodes.
From what I understand, Tectum actually achieved a peak speed at 6 million transactions per second — much higher than the 1 million you just mentioned. Can you explain more about the speed testing your team did on this?
Frankly it makes me uncomfortable to talk about those speeds for a couple of reasons: first, the intuitive reaction from any blockchain professional would be to call bullshit. I want to be clear that 6 million transactions per second was no-load hash-matching in the blockchain, not a real world value. The minute you start working with real data, you lose speed, so I feel more comfortable quoting a million transactions per second, but even that is for small data-sets.
In initial testing, we setup 10 light nodes on desktop computers and then started to send a package of 1,000 transactions through the blockchain, and then got all the transaction proofs as a demonstration that it works correctly. The test-data on this is open source, it’s something we can provide for anybody wanting to check the transactions for themselves.
Later, we did a much larger test for a customer presentation in the United Arab Emirates. We used six big geographically-separated servers in Houston, London, and Amsterdam, and we launched 42 virtual machines to test the blockchain on. Our goal was to demonstrate the capabilities of Tectum in a practical network environment, and that’s the test where we achieved 6 million transactions per second.
So in terms of speed, under normal load conditions Tectum exceeds a million transactions per second, but you’re saying that’s only for certain types of transactions and data. Why is that the case?
Yes. All transactions are not alike. When you send an empty packet, you’re just matching hashes, and it’s natural to expect a very high speed from the engine. However, when you connect it to a database, the speed will naturally drop. Tectum is still going to be faster than anything else, but in terms of overall speed for logistical operations, it is safest to say that the speed should exceed a million transactions per second.
Now, one of the questions we’re commonly asked by crypto enthusiasts and blockchain specialists is whether Tectum will handle smart contracts at this high rate of speed. The answer is simple: no, it will not.
Tectum’s high rate of speed is specifically for the types of logistical data it was designed to handle. That’s why it’s well-suited for tasks like records-keeping, digital media rights, geo-positioning, Internet of Things (IoT) data and drones. For instance, for geo-positioning it might be used for fixing a notary of position, which would be a useful record for arbitration.
You can think of Tectum as basically notarizing each transaction, and it works best in applications where you’re sending lots of small transactions rather than a few large ones. For example, if you want to send GPS positioning data, drone coordinates, or speed & position logs from a Tesla automobile five times a second, Tectum is the perfect tool.
Now, can Tectum be used for larger data sets? Yes, of course, but with larger transactions, the dynamics change dramatically — not in a negative way, but it means taking into consideration things like the size of a smart contract. Those can’t be hashed because they’re commands, not simply a data-set.
About Our Guest
Alexander Guseff is a career software development executive from Crispmind, a software development startup located in Kazan, Russia. His expertise is in full stack enterprise software development & management, and he has a degree in linguistics as well as career experience in residential, commercial construction financing. Learn more about Tectum at https://tectum.io