Blockchain Scaling in PoS Networks
The beginnings of PoS come from a long history of research in distributed agreement in replicated state machines. Going back to the 1970s, many people were working on the issues around making reliable communications from unreliable parts in commercial airlines. A fault in a communication 30,000 feet and with 150 passengers has real consequence so being able to figure out data validity is a life and death problem. From this field of work came the classical Byzantine General’s problem that birthed Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT). Up until 1999 (when Practical BFT was invented), the Byzantine General’s problem was mostly an academic one which no one had yet solved. Major computing systems around the world had no practical use for it as banking, stocks, communications, and internet were all centrally hosted and controlled.
It wasn’t until 2008 when Satoshi Nakamoto brought a practical solution to the Byzantine General’s problem into a globally scaled distributed network. This quickly proved to be a stable and secure system to achieve fault-tolerant consensus, causing research in applying these previously academic ideas into real-world applications to explode.
In open blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum and many others, the transaction is public and open to all, showing who is sending it, who is receiving it and how much is changing hands. You can then see into all transactions in an out of those addresses, revealing their whole history. This level of openness makes many uncomfortable. So how can we make things a little more private?
How do you hide how much you are transacting, the data you are sending or your identity?
Blockchain Finality In IoT
Scaling, one of the more popular words in the greater blockchain buzzword bingo that has a lot of people demanding it without many understanding the intricacies involved in successfully implementing a lasting solution. Scaling is not as simple as increasing block size and quickening block generation. Transactions have weight, require computation, need to be communicated through all nodes and the blockchains they are included in require storage in their ever growing state. Scalability is therefore heavily dependent on how the specific blockchain handles transactions and node communication.
Finality, the irreversibility in the transferring of ownership, is something that many of us don’t think about in our day-to-day dealings. We trust that when we see our paycheck arrive in our bank account that the money is ours to spend, that when we swipe our card buying groceries that once it says “Approved” we can walk out of the door with what we bought and when we see that bitcoin show up in our wallet, that it is officially ours, but behind all of this is a carefully considered judgment on the probability of the transaction that just occurred being reverted. As is the case with most imperceptible things that are part of the basic fabric of our life, it is essential to the normal operation of every transaction based system.
Interoperability - The Holy Grail of Blockchain
The Curves That Keep The Bitcoin Secure
This isn’t an easy subject but it is one that has wide ranging applications and is therefore worth putting in the effort to understand. It has enabled a reduction in key generation time and key weight over first generation public key systems like prime factorization cryptography, as well as a 10-fold increase in security and it serves as the basis of much of the public key cryptography in today’s cryptocurrency ecosystem. So let’s break it down so we can trust it.
Interoperability is the characteristic of a computer system or network, to interact, exchange and make use of information with an independent, outside system or network.