V SYSTEMS in a nutshell
As 2019 gets under way, it’s time to take a step back and summarise what we’re working to achieve. As the creator of POS, Sunny King’s vision is to overcome blockchain technology’s current barriers to entry, essentially freeing it up for use by masses of users — cost-efficiently, developer-friendly, and of course secure. To achieve this, V SYSTEMS has a number of workstreams running at full pace, essentially re-architecting blockchain infrastructure.
Sunny sees a future where all kinds of businesses and public services can run on thousands of dedicated blockchains. The advantages over current networks based on centralised servers are many: security, lower cost, resilience and immutability.
Let’s look at this from the point of view of the user — say, a small businessperson. They’re looking to digitalise the operations of their small business, from sales to receipts and payments. They want to access blockchain’s security, traceability and distributed verification capabilities. Unlike today, where blockchains are expensive and specialist tech, they will be able to go online and spec out a blockchain-based business system using simple templates and modular elements. No coding or lengthy development required. Once this system is delivered and running, they’d be able to interact with it via DAPPs on mobile devices, if they wish — as will their customers, suppliers and partners.
We’ve covered the evolution from Proof of Work consensus to Supernode Proof of Stake (SPoS) consensus which will have a major effect in moving us toward this vision: because the key activity of consensus will be untethered from power consumption, it becomes much less power-hungry and therefore much less expensive.
Being based on high-performance nodes, SPoS will enable a huge rise in the speed, scalability and security of blockchain tech against a 51% attack. Our mainnet of 15 supernodes has been up and running since September with a high degree of resilience and industrial-level TPS — so we’re speeding ahead to the next stages.
The supernodes also carry out block-minting activities at a predictable rate — currently four seconds, but this will speed up as the network expands. This gives the network an extremely stable foundation, helping with scalability and performance — essential for commercial applications. Participants who maintain the supernodes which carry out minting activities will be incentivised with greater voting power in consensus decisions. The supernode-based network will provide the bedrock on which the mass of functional blockchains will run.
Blockchain as database
To fully handle the kinds of applications and DAPPs that will be running on blockchains, we’re essentially making blockchain tech better able to store and organise data — in other words, for blockchains to function like databases. Existing models aren’t optimised for data storage, but as the tech becomes cheaper and easier to scale, they can function more like databases — so essentially V SYSTEMS is building the world’s first full-featured blockchain database for storing object-oriented data.
Currently, databases hosted centrally are characterised by high communication costs, low reliability, and low availability. If the database suffers an event that blocks access, then all network activity is halted. By contrast, blockchain-based databases will have high concurrency, customisation capacity, efficient indexing, data security and a host of other desirable application scenarios.
To run databases on blockchains, traditional user accounts can be substituted with public-private keys and addresses in blockchains. The strong centralised administration role can be achieved with business logic inside client/node software in the form of privileged key pairs. For example, data that is inappropriate or illegal, or that represents a violation of the system, can be marked by the administrators to be ignored by the nodes. Customer identification can also be achieved inside the client/node software in the form of a white list of public keys that have passed identity verification — and only whitelisted identities will be recognised by the software.
We will dedicate an article to more in-depth discussion of how databases on blockchains will work — stay tuned.
Allied to this is support for smart contracts which can execute transactions between distributed parties with guaranteed anonymity and security. Existing smart contracts fall short of the ideal, but V SYSTEMS’ public chain has the stability and performance to support next-generation smart contracts for numerous scenarios, including more complex situations — just what’s needed to support the kinds of transactions businesses will carry out on blockchains in future.
Development made simple
As mentioned, we’re also building out a system of cloud-based development tools to simplify how users can spec out their custom blockchain requirements through modular, flexible template-based elements. This process of platformification is a major focus for 2019. We’re also deeply involved in embedding blockchain traits such as data synchronisation and integrity into several existing mobile phone operating systems to create a new decentralised mobile internet network with browser support for mobile phone users.
All of this is coming together to create the useable, functional blockchains that have been predicted but not delivered. Until the cost of developing and scaling blockchains comes down, and the skills needed to create them become commodified, blockchains will remain the playthings of big multinationals with the budgets to experiment on them.
So in a nutshell, what V SYSTEMS is doing is looking at all the features of current blockchains which stand in the way of the large-scale, multi-purpose, economical and user-friendly blockchains of Sunny King’s vision, and tackling each pain-point in a logical and systematic way. Success in this project will not only create better blockchains — it will deliver massive improvements to society. It’s ambitious — but we believe it can be done, and we’re on the way.