This article was first published on RChain Cooperative - Medium
by Nutzipper — Feb 13, 2021
This article aims to explain how RChain can reach horizontal scalability, targeting one of the key ingredients of RChain platform — block merge. Some preliminary results of implementation analysis are included in the end.
Blockchain is effectively a computer, replicated across a number of nodes. Two basic offerings are cryptographic proof of state transition + economic incentive for making sure one cheating is going to be punished.
This article is targeting the first part of the equation — state transition.
Early incarnation of blockchain application as cryptocurrencies gave birth to a notion of public ledger. This public ledger contains, in the simplest case, a list of balances. But just a list is not a good model for such a ledger, so usually more sophisticated models are used, like UTXO for Bitcoin and some others.
Ethereum developed a state model (EVM) that allows storing turing complete state machines, thus enabling executing arbitrary smart contracts.
Entities that are allowed to introduce changes to the state, changing balances, making transactions, invoking smart contracts — are miners, or validators of the network. In case of PoS networks, once some state change is introduced, it should be verified by other validators, and the Sword of Damocles should punish thee daring cheating (or, in simple words, the cheater will lose its stake).
This is the basic principle of most chains.
But what if some miners of the network make two state transitions at the same time?
PoW systems solve this by the longest chain rule — state transitions are stacked upon each other in order at which miners produce proof of work, and in the end the longest chain wins. There can be, and will be orphans, so miners doing useless work is a part of the protocol. PoS chains mostly suggest slots for blocks, and the more stake miner has the more blocks ...
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RChain Cooperative - Medium