Right now, blockchain technology is where the internet was at the beginning of the 21st century… agonizingly slow with exceedingly long upload speeds. With blockchain, this is because each and every node has to “assent” on the blocks that pass through.
Popular blockchain platforms such as Bitcoin and Ethereum can process around 10 transactions per second on average. In contrast, payment companies like Visa currently process around 5,000 to 8,000 transactions per second on average. Transactions become more expensive since nodes prefer those with higher prices, and popular cryptocurrencies raise costs on a highest-price-first-served model.
The slow speed and high cost of blockchain transactions known as blockchain’s “scalability problem” is one of the issues that hinders mass adoption of blockchain technology.
Say you want to build a blockchain startup and need far more space for instant communication and for fitting all the traffic on your platform. Or, say you want communication to be as seamless and fast as our internet is today. How do you accomplish these goals given the constraints of blockchain? Well, blockchain engineers have found five key ways to help you.
Proof of scale (PoS)
Proof of scale (PoS) is a rather opposite version to Proof-of-Work (PoW) which is Bitcoin’s standard mining procedure. Proof of work is where every node in the network has to process every transaction. So, if there are a thousand nodes on the network, all of them would have to process and confirm every transaction made on that network.
This includes having no double spending, correct signatures, valid identification, and so forth. No wonder it takes so long! On the other hand, Proof-of-Scale (PoS) is where only a select few of those nodes are chosen. Typically (but not necessarily) selected by your network on the quantity and age of their crypto stack.
Either you yourself can choose these “lucky” nodes or your stakeholders choose them. These nodes usually end up governing the network, so there’s the “equal voice” problem on the minus side. However, by choosing certain individuals to process communication on the plus side, transmission of smart contracts proceeds far faster and you manage communication on your platform more expeditiously.
Classic blockchains have one layer that tends to become congested with held-up traffic. Innovative blockchain engineers dissect the blockchain into two layers: private and public. The private, off-chain layer houses the user’s private and personal data such as documents, cvs, and copyrights.
The public layer provides public access to a digest of this private data, so that invited parties can verify the reliability of that data. By adopting this technology, you decongest your platform. This is because you direct primary traffic solely to your main, public ledger, while keeping the off-chain layer (outside the blockchain network) for private documents only.
In this way, the public ledger is like the decentralized peer-to-peer blockchain, while the private system is like your private website that needs a password for access.
Smart blockchain inventors have dodged the scalability problem by stretching the one layer blockchain into several layers. For example, decentralized educational blockchain Tutellus utilizes the following layers:
- Multiplatform Application: Stores apps and decentralized services.
- Microservices API: This open-source application software provides additional functions to the services.
- Token: Stores and manages the Tutellus token, called TUT.
- Blockchain: Top layer, visible to the public, where Tutellus stores user documents and smart contracts.
By breaking your one blockchain layer into several, you divide the responsibilities between each of these and, subsequently, deroute traffic and decongest the platform.
The standard PoW transaction processing is performed at one go. For instance, Bitcoin miners have the heavy task of choosing blocks, verifying them, solving their puzzles, and processing them. In short, one node does all the heavy work. This holds up the system, creating hellishly slow traffic and high prices.
Hyperledger breaks up that process into three phases with nodes that do the following:
- Build the blocks.
- Order the blocks.
- Validate each of these blocks.
This makes transactions flow faster since it cuts the workload of the nodes. Because Hyperledger v1.0 only sends the digital signatures and read/write set around the network, blockchain platforms that use this system find they have more powerful performance and productivity results.
There’s a similar strategy for descaling blockchain platforms that’s known as “sharding.” Here’s where a decentralized startup that wants top-notch performance separates large databases into smaller, faster, more easily manageable parts called data shards. The blockchain is divided into a discrete number of nodes, where each solves a different subtask.
Each node passes its data results to the Directory Service (DS) Committee (the top layer), namely the blockchain itself. This overarching management system aggregates it into a summary, called the “final block.” Information from the final block is sent back to all groups to make sure they’re on the same level.
Transactions are processed in real-time. This all sounds much slower than it actually takes. By delegating or “sharding” these different tasks, this kind of blockchain startup models Ford’s factory line. In short, jobs are performed far faster than they would were they performed by one PoW miner on the classic Bitcoin-type ledger.
Decentralized education platforms have huge ambitions that center around quantities of simultaneous real-time communications between parties all over the globe. To succeed, these companies need to overcome blockchain’s scalability problem, where transactions take agonizingly slow to load.
Savvy blockchain programmers have churned up innovative solutions that include Proof-of-Stake (PoS) (instead of Proof-of-Work (POW)), multi-layer architecture, sharding, an off-chain system, and a Hyperledger base. There’s no reason why you can’t use one or more of these technologies to make your system faster and more communicative than even Ethereum or Bitcoin!