November 2, 2021, R stringblockchain scientist Atticbee visited ZB exchange as a guest for a very technical AMA. ZB is a global exchange that has been operating for 8 years and is focused on the security of client assets. Atticbee discussed the issues with current blockchain technology and RChain’s response to those challenges, and why RChain will one day be the most user-friendly web 3.0 infrastructure for users and developers.
What is missing in all current public blockchains
In Atticbee’s view, none of the existing public channels addressed these essential Web 3.0 issues:
- Currently, there is NO REAL solution to the scalability problem: The scalability of Layer 2 and ETH 2.0 is an illusion because the individual Layer 2 and Partition subsystems are not interoperable – they are not interoperable. do not “look” like a logical string.
- They are designed for token transfer applications, not data-intensive Web 3.0 applications.
- Contracts cannot be called securely for lack of the “secure composability” to build large and complex software systems from smaller, simpler building blocks like in Web 2.0.
Greg Meredith, the founder of RChain, realized these pain points in 2015 when he and Vitalik, the founder of Ethereum, were working together to evolve Ethereum. He therefore chose the simultaneous composable Rho-Calculus with on-chain formal verification capability as the computational model for the contract layer at the start of the design.
This technological path has many functionalities that are theoretically impossible for other projects:
- Solves the ‘blockchain trilemma’ with simultaneous processing of ‘queueless’ transactions.
- One platform for everyone: direct chain storage of big data, integrating all the functions of ETH, IPFS and GRT on a single platform.
- Transparent Sharing: Partitions look like one with atomic cross partition transactions.
- Quick on-chain formal verification based on its OSLF behavior type system.
The root cause of the ‘blockchain trilemma’ and its solution
In Atticbee’s view, the “security, performance and decentralization trilemma” only applies to current blockchains that require transaction queuing, but does not apply to the RChain without queue.
Essentially, traditional blockchains require transactions to be treated as one long queue, with all nodes in the network working together to maintain that queue. They are therefore doomed to suffer from an impossible triangle between security, performance and decentralization:
- For security reasons, more nodes should be involved in maintaining this queue.
- For performance (scalability), the queue should move as fast as possible.
- For decentralization, all nodes must have an equal opportunity to participate in the management and processing of this queue and to monitor each other.
Basic logic tells us that you can only choose two and drop the third. Typical examples: Ethereum chooses security and decentralization over performance; Solana, a leader-based system, chooses security and performance over decentralization; EOS with 21 equal nodes chooses performance and decentralization over security.
However, when we realize that “the distributed maintenance of a transaction queue is the root cause of the trilemma”, this problem is naturally solved if we can eliminate the need for a transaction queue. translation like RChain. In RChain’s “block merge” test network, as more nodes are added, the network achieves a higher TPS. This is solid proof that the trilemma has been resolved: more nodes means more security; leaderless means decentralized; higher TPS means better performance. Thus RChain reaches the three vertices of the “impossible triangle” simultaneously.
RChain VS Solana and PolkaDot – Two examples of imperfect solutions
When asked for his opinion on other star projects, Atticbee believes that Solana achieves a high TPS at the expense of the blockchain trust model, which does not make sense because any centralized system can have a much higher TPS. . The idea behind its design is simple: since it’s too slow to let many nodes handle the queue together, it just lets one historical proof node decide the order and write to a tamper-proof PoH ledger. . The other nodes simply execute and commit transactions in this ledger.
However, by doing this, the work of managing the queue is centralized and the PoH node can dictate the order of transactions or censor transactions at will. These malicious behaviors are almost impossible to detect and prove. Atticbee mentioned Flow as a project with a similar idea but uses a committee to decide on the order, making it a fairer version of Solana, but as a cost its GST is much lower. This is a classic example of how a “queued system” inevitably suffers from the trilemma.
As for RChain, it does not need to queue transactions at all, so it can achieve high TPS while maintaining a decentralized leaderless architecture.
Atticbee also sees PolkaDot as an incomplete cross-chain solution lacking essential coordination capabilities. It has no way of atomically finalizing cross-chain transactions. In addition, it does not provide “composable security” to ensure that when a localized contract calls another contract on another para-chain through the relay chain, the given permissions will not be disclosed to others. RChain has atomic finalization of cross-chain transactions, coupled with a behavioral-like system as an “on-chain firewall”, making it a superior cross-chain solution.
A global computer with simultaneous process orchestration
The ultimate goal of RChain is to build a true global computer to serve as the basis for Web 3.0. As the Web 2.0 experience shows, the most valuable asset on the web is the sheer amount of data. Therefore, all existing blockchains were built with a misconception initially: they are exclusively optimized as payment networks. A true Web 3.0 infrastructure must be designed for data-intensive applications.
Additionally, we can see that existing Web 2.0 systems are getting more and more complex, but thanks to component and containerization, developers can quickly build large systems with smaller reusable components. However, without a rapid formal verification system to ensure secure cooperation between contracts, none of the existing blockchains can achieve this. The Venus phase of the RChain roadmap attempts to address this problem by introducing behavioral type system support. RChain’s Rho-Calculus is one of the very few models to have this capability.
Every developer should start learning Rholang
Rholang, a process computation-based language, has long been overlooked by the computer industry due to its reluctance to leave the comfort zone of current programming paradigms. However, entering the blockchain era, Rholang presents a range of benefits for blockchain by design.
First of all, its immutability allows “queue-free” transactions. All of Rholang’s resources are immutable data and codes organized by channels. Atticbee made a metaphor: A contract written in a traditional language like Solidity is like a group of children drawing on a blackboard: the order in which the children draw will affect the final state of the board, so they must form a line. waiting. On the other hand, Rholang is more like a group of children playing with Lego blocks: they can pick up and assemble blocks, then relate the product to the common project. Since no one can “mutate” a room, the order does not matter so that the children can play at the same time.
Another important advantage of the “queue” is that big data can be stored directly on the chain. All data-intensive transactions face the high latency of network and disk operations. The prerequisite for such transactions to be on-chain is that they can be processed simultaneously with other types of transactions.
After the sharding milestone, RChain will have another developer friendly feature: there is no difference between writing a cross-shard contract and writing a single-shard contract.
After the Venus milestone, developers can use the behavioral-like system to perform static analysis to answer questions such as: will this code create a race condition, get into a dead end, or leak there any authorizations given to a third party? These scans can be performed at compile time in Rholang, before code execution. With this feature, you can now organize a group of chain contracts and allow them to call each other securely in a concurrent setting. This advantage complements RChain’s ultimate functionality: on-chain contract orchestration, or “Kubernetes on the blockchain”.
The RChain community has already built DApps that other chains cannot do by leveraging its on-chain data storage capacity ：
- Dappy: decentralized DNS server and browser, with NFT and wallets integrated in a single package.
- RSong: Music streaming DApp with music stored directly on the channel.
- RPI: an NFT photo platform with photo data stored directly on the channel.
- RCovid-19 passport: vaccination certificates stored directly on the chain.
Atticbee predicts that once all the steps have been taken, Rholang’s advantage is enough for every DApp developer to embrace this new language paradigm.
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