Introducing Tenfold Protocol

Derek Chiang
Aug 24, 2018 · 3 min read

Note: Tenfold has seen significant updates since launching, to the point that this post is no longer considered an accurate description of the Tenfold Protocol. Please refer to Why Tenfold for a more up-to-date description of Tenfold.

One of the biggest hurdles for blockchain and DApp adoption is scalability. Existing blockchains are plagued by slow confirmation speed, low transaction throughput, and high gas cost. These problems exist because transactions are heavily replicated for decentralization and security. Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has described this problem as the “Scalability Trilemma,” referring to the tradeoffs between scalability, decentralization, and security.

Multiple solutions have been advanced to solve this trilemma, including specialized blockchains that feature high transaction speeds, blockchain alternatives such as directed acyclic graphs, and second layer solutions. While many of these technologies have great promises, they typically either break away from existing ecosystems and therefore require a high-degree of buy-in, or only exist in theory and cannot be deployed today.

Facing this reality, many DApp developers have resorted to running a large part of their applications on centralized servers, thus reducing the transparency and trustfulness of their DApps, partially defeating the point of building DApps in the first place.

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Here we introduce Tenfold Protocol, a novel take on the scalability trilemma and a practical scaling solution that can be used today.


We approached the scalability trilemma by making the observation that not all transactions are equal. Specifically we asked:

  1. Do all blockchain transactions practically require the same level of security, decentralization and scale/speed?
  2. Can we define and segment transactions based on each transaction’s relative need for security, decentralization and scale/speed?
  3. Can we create a new second layer solution that achieves centralized system levels of scale and speed where appropriate while maintaining the security requirement of the most sensitive transactions?


Our solution is the Tenfold Protocol. We observe that blockchain transactions fundamentally fall into two categories:

  • Transactions whose value are unbounded. Examples include ETH transfers: there’s no upper limit (other than that imposed by the token supply) as to how much ETH can be transferred in a transaction.
  • Transactions whose value are bounded. Examples include updating a CryptoKitty’s breeding cooldown: while breeding cooldown is a valuable attribute, its value is conceivably limited.

While unbounded transactions should be processed on the blockchain for maximal security, Tenfold enables DApps to process bounded transactions off-chain, thus vastly improving performance and reducing gas costs. Unlike traditional off-chain systems, transactions processed in Tenfold can be accessed on the main chain as well, achieving a high degree of interoperability.

Tenfold scales DApps built on existing and future blockchains, which means it’s a “layer-2” solution along with Plasma and state channels. Compared to existing Plasma implementations, Tenfold is able to handle not just payments but also general state transitions. Compared to state channels, Tenfold empirically scales to a much larger number of users since the communication overhead among participants is much lower. Furthermore, Tenfold allows the core program logic to be implemented in any programming language.

By leveraging Tenfold Protocol, developers can build large, sophisticated blockchain applications that cannot run fully on-chain due to scalability issues.

Perhaps most importantly, Tenfold is already being deployed in production and can be used by any DApp developer, today.


We are about to deploy Tenfold with a top blockchain game to be announced. Once we deploy the Tenfold Protocol, the game will:

  1. Accommodate up to 2,048 characters simultaneously, up from the current limit of 32.
  2. Host a much larger number of matches and tournaments a day.
  3. Reduce gas cost by 95% or more.

Visit our website, follow us on Twitter, and join our Telegram Channel to stay up to speed on our project.

Are you a developer or project interested in using Tenfold Protocol? Contact us via email.

Update: it’s been announced that the aforementioned blockchain game is HyperDragons, which has claimed the #1 spot in most rankings since launching the new version with Tenfold on Sep 17.

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