By Co-founder - Ning Li (William)
More than forty years have passed since Merckle and Hellman collaboratively invented the knapsack cryptosystem back in 1978, which is known as one of the earliest public key algorithms devised. During the past decades; In 1989, David Chaum conceived an electronic cash system named Ecash, In 1994, Nick Szabo proposed a digital protocol - Smart Contract and in 2008 Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin protocol, while Ben Lynn introduce the BLS signature scheme as well, and Silvio Micali introduced the Algorand consensus algorithm. All these achievements indicate the continuous effort of cryptologists in exploring and attempting to achieve innovative application of cryptology in the field of electronic cash system and digitalized asset based on a public key algorithm.
In the year of 2009, when both Bitcoin came to existence and later on the Litecoin, received their fair share of publicity. Such innovation represents a new “life form” --- Blockchain, has been incubated by the latest internet technology. At this point, Blockchain can be perceived as the Spongiatia that habitats deep in the ocean floor; the technology is still just nodes scattered around the globe connected through the POW consensus mechanism. The primary characteristic of such a system is its inviolability since potential attacks upon such a system will only result in limited harm, and a steady level of security is preserved. Additionally, there are also a few other beneficial features such as transparency, durability, and scarcity which fully supports the issuance of electronic currency as well as establishing liquidity. Nevertheless, because it has yet to fully incorporate the Turing completeness algorithm, which prevents it from carrying out any other form of complex digital asset, other than the simplest way of digital cash.
After years of development in the blockchain technology, a smart contract platform capable of Turing completeness appeared – The Ethereum, a milestone for the blockchain industry. A metaphor that demonstrates the significance of such development would be the progression from Spongiatia to Annelida. At this point, the blockchain network has a rudimentary level of logical processing capacity; it is now capable of bearing a variety of forms of assets characterized by their low-frequency transactions. However, at this phase the blockchain network is still running on POW system, a fundamental consensus mechanism borrowed from Bitcoin, whereas approaches such as sharding, main & side chain structure, or multi-tier network are still progressing slowly and remain in the laboratory stage. Therefore, the highlights of this stage continue to be Blockchain network’s capability of logical processing, but it does not have the processing power of a fully developed intelligence, as it still lacks the capacity for advanced logical processing.
Afterward, The Blockchain technology has developed a relatively decentralized system called EOS. The performance and overall completeness of smart contract have achieved stable enhancement, based on an innovative core consensus mechanism so-called DPoS, which makes the system vulnerable to network domination and manipulation; Ever since the initiation of the EOS network, the employment of the Bancor model makes the network exposed for manipulation by minority.
The most important issue here, however, there is no significant difference in the organizational structure between ETH and EOS, similar to the relationship between Annelida and Mollusca. Therefore, both ETH and EOS are essentially both classified as the 2.0 generation of blockchain technology. After all these years of development, whether the blockchain technology could encounter an exponential growth in the actual application of our daily life will depend on the advancement of generation 3.0 projects. If blockchain does not achieve a paradigm-shifting resolution and remain limited progress in both performance and scalability measurements, the world of blockchain will only achieve unto the 2.0 generation, like how both Annelida and Mollusca evolved to be Arthropoda during the biological evolution.
Much like the story behind biological evolution, for the blockchain technology to be evolved to a more advanced level and achieve generation 3.0, people need to start looking at things differently; starting with the fundamental ideas. The world of Blockchain cannot be completely independent of the centralized world; since the centralized components complements the Blockchain technology well, the consolidation between decentralized components with a centralized core is crucial; a notion similar to how muscle and bones come in hand in hand.
For example, if we assume the blockchain network to be the body and bones, the centralized processing and storage components shall be the mind, which could potentially evolve and operate by Artificial Intelligence. That been said, there is still a long way to go before AI could be achieved.
Let’s take a closer look into this idea through an actual example --- blockchain games. Blockchain games shouldn't be built entirely in the blockchain network, in other words, players do not want a game to sacrifices its playability and fun to achieve the result of “decentralization.” What players truly appreciates, is a fair game that’s fun to play. The digital asset involved in a game shall be more realistic, and creates a connection to the real world, the ownership of the asset shall be secure and protected eternally, much similar to the “OASIS” game portrait in the movie “Ready Player One”, which contains a centralized gaming platform, but all digital asset based on data shall all be recorded on blockchain, as well as selected randomly generated algorithms on the chain. To truly achieve the generation of blockchain 3.0, similar to how Homo Sapiens is trying to develop its muscular tissues, the essence of which is to provide security and performance while keeping the worlds state to be fully synchronized at all time without the possibility of a fork.
In this regard, more innovative consensus algorithms need to be introduced in blockchain; at the same time, those algorithm must ensure a smooth and secure transmission of the digital asset to be transferred between centralized processing and decentralized operation. Consequently, the developing of innovative smart contract platforms are also crucial. In the exploration of blockchain 3.0, Ultrain's consensus algorithm RPOS and its innovative smart contract represents their bold approach to evolve based on the existing blockchain 2.0.
Going forward, there would be a series of articles that elaborate on the topics of various technologies of Blockchain 3.0; including consensus, virtual machines, smart contracts, world state, sharding, state channeling, and the marginal benefits of the private asset.