Q1: Dr Wang, you have researched into scalability and concluded that ‘limitations of scalability in blockchain networks are not based on the type of consensus algorithm deployed, as many would believe, but on the fact that every single node must duplicate the entire network each time a new block is added’. Does it mean bitcoin and ethereum blockchains are inherently unscalable?
A1: If the goal of blockchain systems is to form the foundation for the decentralized web, Bitcoin and Ethereum will not be able to scale to meet the needs of the modern digital economy. To put the problem in context, Visa says it can handle up to 65,000 transactions per second (TPS), while Bitcoin processes about 7 TPS and Ethereum about 15 TPS. The prevailing mindset has been that to improve scalability, either decentralization or security must be sacrificed – a quandary referred to as the Blockchain Trilemma. What we discovered is that the limitations to scalability in blockchain networks are not based on the type of consensus algorithm used (PoW vs. PoS), but on the fact that every single node must duplicate the entire network each time a new block is added. Such network design is redundant and inefficient.
Q2: What future does then await them?
A2: Both Bitcoin and Ethereum may be used for other purposes that do not hinge on quick transaction processing. For example, bitcoin could continue to be used as a store of value, given its limited supply and design as a borderless, censorship-resistant currency that is not subject to the same market impacts as fiat currencies.
Q3: What is conceptually new in your solution, in Asensys?
A3: Asensys introduces the novel concept of Asynchronous Consensus Zones, independent, parallel networks operating within the whole, to dramatically decrease over-redundancy in the handling of all network tasks.
Dividing workload produces substantial performance lift for the entire network, but it raises two problems: cross-zone transaction handling, which is when a user in one zone transacts with a user in a different zone, and mining power dilution. Asensys addresses the efficiency issue of cross-zone transactions with eventual atomicity and the security threat of mining power dilution with Chu-ko-nu mining.
Eventual atomicity enables transactions to be verified and executed in the zone where the transaction’s first state was initiated. Groups of operations are then conveyed to other zones in relay transactions, but the data pertaining to the transaction remains in the zone in which the initial state resided.
Chu-ko-nu mining protects each zone and the entire network against a 51% attack by incentivizing miners to create multiple blocks for different zones with a single nonce, which enforces even distribution of mining power across zones.
Q4: How does it work? Please illustrate with an example?
A4: The results of an in-house experiment demonstrated that performance by the Asensys protocol increases proportionately to the community size. This means that as the userbase grows, Asensys becomes even more efficient at processing transactions. In a test including 1,200 virtual machines worldwide to support 48,000 nodes, the Asensys system delivers 1,000 times the throughput and 2,000 times the capacity of the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks. The below graphs are from our whitepaper.”
Q5: What is a consensus zone?
A5: Asynchronous Consensus Zones describe the use of multiple independent and parallel instances of single-chain consensus systems.
Q6: Did I get it right, that the performance by your blockchain increases proportionately to community size? How do intend to build a community, what is your strategy?
A6: Asensys is intended to form the foundation for the decentralized web, which means our first audience will be the developers building the dapps powering the new economy. We will be launching our testnet this summer.”
Q7: In the test, Asensys system delivered 1,000 times the throughput and 2,000 times the capacity of the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks. Where do you plan to take it from now? What is your overall goal?
A7: We believe decentralized networks will eventually revolutionize the ways we communicate, exchange information, and transact online. We are developing Asensys to be the high-performance system that will make the dream of the decentralized web a reality.
Q8: How do you see the blockchain infrastructure in the near future (1-3 years from now), mid term (3-5 years), and long term (5+ years)?
A8: In 1-3 years we will see protocol layers like ours drawing developers who are disillusioned by the lack of transparency and user control exhibited in the current Web 2.0. In 3-5 years we will see a thriving decentralized Web 3.0 of dapps for e-commerce, finance, entertainment, and every vertical imaginable co-existing with the current internet that is run by tech giants. In 5+ years the Web 3.0 will have replaced the Web 2.0. Users will drive that transition through realizing the improved user data privacy and rewards for their contributions enabled by decentralized apps.