In this paper, we describe an extremely simple and natural paradigm called Streamlet for constructing consensus protocols. We hope that our textbook constructions will help to decipher the past five years of work on consensus partly driven by the cryptocurrency
community - in particular, cryptocurrency how remarkably simple the new generation of consensus protocols has become in comparison with classical mainstream approaches such as PBFT and Paxos. In the past five years or crypto so, numerous blockchain projects have made tremendous progress towards improving permissioned consensus protocols (partly due to their promised applications in Proof-of-Stake cryptocurrencies). Our protocols are inspired by the core techniques that have been uncovered in the past five years of work, but to the best of our knowledge our embodiment is simpler than ever before and we accomplish this by taking a "streamlining'' idea to its full potential. For further information, please see our paper. Although a significant leap has silently taken place in our understanding of consensus protocols, it is rather difficult to navigate this body of work, and knowledge of the new techniques appears scattered.
There is the version of Nakamoto’s scheme that is decentralized, self-sovereign and independent of all regulation that doesn’t scale, doesn’t work and is rife with fraud and then there is the other version that is centralized and controlled by a cartel of crooks.
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An example one of the guests brought up of a use for blockchain was the Walmart Canada distribution network – they now use a permissioned blockchain to track invoices. Reportedly invoices get paid quicker, the number of disputes has dropped, and Walmart Canada has better control of that portion of the business. I don’t know if there is a non-blockchain solution to this particular use case. I found it intriguing, as it is the first time I’ve seen a real-world use case demonstrated. Freakonomics Radio is doing a series on Blockchain right now.
Developers have suggested either creating a secondary "off-chain" layer of Bitcoin
that would allow for faster transactions that can be verified by the blockchain later or increasing the number of transactions that each block can store. The second would deal with scaling by allowing for more information to be processed every 10 minutes by increasing block size. Though bitcoin miners generally agree that something must be done to address scaling, there is less consensus about how to do it. With less data to verify per block, the first solution would make transactions faster and cheaper for miners. This issue at the heart of the Bitcoin protocol is known as scaling. There have been two major solutions proposed to address the scaling problem.
We refer to this idea as the pipelined-BFT paradigm. We describe a simple partially synchronous blockchain protocol called PaLa that is inspired by the pipelined-BFT paradigm. Consensus nodes vote on the proposal if certain conditions are met. Recently, an elegant pipelining idea came out of the cryptocurrency community, i.e., if each block required two rounds of voting, why not piggyback the second round on the next block’s voting? In PaLa, a proposer proposes a block extending the freshest notarized chain seen so far. We propose a conceptually simple and provably secure committee rotation algorithm for PaLa. For more information, please see our paper. A block becomes finalized if the next immediate block becomes notarized too. Classical-style BFT protocols use two or more rounds of voting to confirm each block, e.g., in PBFT, they are called the "prepare" round and the "commit" round respectively. We also describe a generalization called "doubly-pipelined PaLa" that is geared towards settings that require high throughput. When a block gains at least 2n 3 votes it becomes notarized.
There are other cryptographic algorithms and third party functions that can be utilized, but they are not safe or should be audited. One way to solve this would be to use an oracle to access a random number function from outside the Ethereum blockchain.
One thing to remember about these studies is that they are based on conjectures and self-reported data from mining pools. For example, a Coinshares report from 2019 makes several assumptions regarding the power sources for miners included in their assessment of the bitcoin mining ecosystem.
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AntPool, the world's biggest bitcoin mining company, runs mining pools in many countries. Given the considerable difficulty inherent in the economics of mining bitcoin, the activity is now dominated by large mining companies that have operations spanning multiple continents. Many bitcoin mining companies have also gone public, although their valuations are relatively modest.