About the author

Shawn Dexter

Shawn is a blockchain & distributed ledger technology enthusiast with a strong background in Computer Science, Product Management and Entrepreneurship.

5 Reasons To Consider High Performance Blockchain (HPB) For Your Portfolio

By Shawn Dexter / February 2, 2018

High Performance Blockchain (HPB) has been receiving a lot of buzz recently. People are hailing it as the “EOS of China”. Several have asked me whether they should pull the trigger on this potential “hidden” gem.

Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider HPB For Your Portfolio

We're here to sift through tech worth looking into. Trade at your own risk and analysis. This is not investment advice etc.

Reason 1: Speed & Scalability with TOE

Mango Research firmly believes that 2018/19 will be the battle of scalability & mass adoption. However, the current throughput and latency of blockchain tech are insufficient to meet current business needs.  There is an urgent need for a solution. HPB has chosen an innovative approach to meet the needs of large enterprises. 

High Performance Blockchain (HPB) achieves high throughput and low latency.  They do so by combining hardware with with software – the first blockchain to do this. They achieve this with a dedicated custom network card - their TCP/IP Offload Engine (TOE) - to work as a specialized accelerator. This network card will purportedly allow for the following:

  1. Millions of transactions per second
  2. Parallel processing tasks (as opposed  to serial processing)
  3. High concurrency & confirmation within seconds.
  4. Three Second Block Time

High Performance Blockchain can thus extend dApps to meet the high requirements of real-world business needs with ease.

Reason 2: Market Is Huge. Market Penetrability Is Easy

As mentioned in the previous section, 2018/2019 will be the year of mass adoption. Most of the current blockchain solutions scratch their head to solve their scalability issues. HPB, however, have a scalability solution already in the works. This allows them to approach enterprise clients immediately.

They have already positioned themselves to serve massive enterprises. Their whitepaper mentions the likes of Alibaba, Tencent & Baidu - all of who will benefit massively from blockchain technology & scalability that HPB seeks to provide them.

In fact, various other high throughput industries like the IoT Industry, Financial industry and Supply Chain industry will be able to leverage HPB to use blockchain technology to their advantage. HPB have already partnered with major companies like UnionPay to facilitate their foothold in these industries.

Furthermore, High Performance Blockchain will be interoperable with both the NEO Virtual Machine as well as the Ethereum Virtual Machine – allowing for even easier market penetration.

Reason 3: Partnerships & Core Team

It’s common knowledge that High Performance Blockchain is backed and partnered with NEO.  HPB will be using the NEO Virtual Machine – and will be the first blockchain to do so.

However, even more noteworthy is their partnership with UnionPay. UnionPay is the VISA of China  – but bigger.  UnionPay controls 80% of all of China’s banking transaction data. As mentioned in the previous section, HPB is perfectly suited to serve the financial industry.  This partnership will solidify their foothold in the industry.

CPChain and HPB have engaged in a strategic partnership – another worthwhile mention. CPChain  is a promising platform that is developing a distributed infrastructure for IoT devices.

The HBP team is stacked with expertise and excellence. The CEO  – Wang Xiao Ming – is an early blockchain enthusiast. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience – and has proved it by writing three books on blockchain technology and speaking at several events.

Wang has also formerly worked at UnionPay, while the rest of the team have been gathered from Intel and Huawei. Their background positions them perfectly to develop a  blockchain hardware accelerator such as TOE and penetrate the financial industry

Reason 4: Smart Contracts​​​​

While reading the whitepaper, I was pleasantly surprised with HPB’s plan for a sophisticated Smart Contract System.HBP will be developing a Smart Contract LifeCycle Management system. This SC LifeCycle Management system will allow for complete control and management of the submission, use and cancellation of the Smart Contracts.

Auditing & testing of the smart contracts will be done by combining audit automation tools, professional auditors, code review and integrated unit testing tools.

Note: HBP will be using Status Channels (off chain) to deploy smart contracts to further improve speed and reliability – while maintaining scalability.

Reason 5: This Idiot Is Shilling It...

I mean... Seriously?

As much as I’ve tried, there’s no denying it anymore – People like this guy, help build the initial momentum and awareness for gems like High Performance Blockchain.

But other than him, we have some respectable community influencers who rate HPB pretty well. It's evident that HPB has drawn the eyes of some influential community members. Strong tech coupled with a strong growing community usually result in rapid increase of price.  

Here are a couple of videos from worthy Crypto YouTuber's that I recommend you watch:

Conclusion

All in all, HPB is definitely worth some strong consideration.  The technology is still under the radar, and has a lot of upward potential. (Disclaimer) Mango Research Team has a put a small portion of their portfolio into this – but we expect this allocation to grow significantly in the months to come.

Special thanks to Ryan – from the Mango team for locating the gem =)

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Don’t Sell Your Ether To Mr. Bob

With the markets taking a slump today, I’m getting a lot of questions from people asking, 
"Should I sell ?!?!"
"Has anything changed about your investment in the past few days" , I ask.
“Well, the price has changed", comes the retort.

Instead of facepalming, I tell them the following story (inspired by legendary Ben Graham )

 Mr. Bob Mania

Let’s say you trade items in real life. Specifically – you trade in laptops and cans of Pepsi.  (Bare with me...)
You usually trade these items with a guy named Bob  – Mr. Bob Mania.
The going rates?
Each laptop:  $1000
Each Pepsi Can:  $1
However, Bob has occasional bouts of manic syndrome. He either gets really excited or really depressed (or sometimes both).
One day, you go to Bob to sell a laptop and buy some Coca-Cola cans.
 Bob, however, is having a manic episode and says to you:

BobYea - I’ll buy the laptop off you for $20. And the Pepsi  is going to cost you $500 
You: What the hell?? Those weren’t the prices last week.
Bob:  Well, that’s what they are today – and if you don’t act fast, the laptop may sell for only $1 tomorrow. And the Pepsi can may cost you $1000”

What do you do? 

Option #1 - You quickly sell all your laptops and rush to buy all the Pepsi cans possible.
Option #2 -   You hold on to your laptop (perhaps even buy more) and quickly rush to sell all your Pepsi cans.

The obvious answer is Option #2. Why? Because you know the true worth of your laptop. And you know that the Pepsi can is completely overpriced.   Yet – so many of us pick the first option when dealing with the crypto market.

Bob – is the market. And we sell our laptops to him for $1. And buy Pepsi-cans from him at $1000 simply because Bob is in one of his moods. ​​​​Don’t let the market’s occasional state of manic episodes dictate the price of your investments. The smart investor will take advantage of Bob’s bout of mania – and not let Bob’s emotions dictate his financial future


TLDR Moral Of The Story?  Don't sell your ETH to Bob. And next time, sell that TRX at the godam top...

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Consensus Methods – POW vs POS vs Tangle vs Tempo

By Shawn Dexter / January 15, 2018

Bitcoin and related blockchain technology (Ethereum, Ripple etc) have garnered a sudden surge of interest. But what really are the core differences between these various technologies? Aren’t they all simply… blockchains? What makes them different other than their team and brand-name? One of the core aspects that make some technologies differ from others is their consensus methods.

There’s a lot to wrap your head around when trying to understand blockchain (& distributed ledger) technology. So in this post, I will attempt to keep things as simple as possible.  

While there are many factors that make these technologies different from each other, the most crucial factor lies in the consensus method that the technology adopts. 

What Do You Mean By “Consensus Method” ?

Remember, any entity or individual can add information to an open blockchain or ledger. Hence, a bad actor can add false information into the ledger to serve his selfish purpose. Consensus Methods are adopted by blockchain technology to invalidate (or ignore) such attempts of false information.

Consensus: "Come to general agreement"

Essentially, a consensus method is employed to allow all actors in the network to come to agreement on what the true information is. This is done by the majority of the network agreeing on the information presented.

(Note: This can be bypassed if a bad actor managed to achieve majority control of the network -  51% or more. More on this in another post)

(EDIT:  In fact with only 33% of control of the network, a bad actor can bring the network to a deadlock in the decision making process. I will explain this briefly in a future post.)

​​​Types Of Consensus Methods

​​​​In this section, I briefly summarise some of the popular consensus models adopted. Hopefully, I can keep it simple while still hitting the core concepts.

Proof Of Work: Used by Bitcoin -  Proof of Work (PoW) is one of the most popular consensus models.

In the PoW consensus model, a participant is required to solve hard computational puzzles in order to add information to the blockchain. (Don’t worry - humans aren’t solving these problems themselves, their computers are doing all the “work”) 

The puzzles are set up in a way that are “difficult to solve” but “easy to verify”. Think of it as you solving an extremely hard calculus problem, and your lazy teacher is only ticking the last step to “check” your answer.

In Bitcoin, it takes – on average – 10 minutes to solve a problem and can be verified by other participants almost instantly. Solving this computational problem can consume a lot of electricity. This can get expensive. Because of this, it  is very difficult/infeasible for a bad actor to achieve 51% control of the network. And without 51% control a bad actor cannot achieve consensus on false information.

Proof Of Stake: Used by Waves, and currently being implemented by Ethereum (Casper) – Proof of Stake (PoS) is a consensus algorithm that many of the newer blockchain’s are leaning toward. 

In PoS, participants “stake” their coins on the network in order to achieve consensus. Essentially, a participant is putting up his own coins as collateral against the event that he tries to add false information/cheat.

So while Proof Of Work disincentives bad actors because of the tremendous power/electricity that would be consumed (at their cost) – Proof of Stake disincentives bad actors by making them risk their own wealth.

Furthermore, to achieve a 51% attack, a bad actor will have to hold more than 50% of all the coins in the network. Supply & Demand will make this prohibitively expensive.


Note: There are two types of widely known POS - Delegated Proof Of Stake (dPoS) and Leasing Proof Of Stake (LPoS). dPoS allows for participants to vote for a delegate that will maintain the integrity of the system. LPoS is similar but allows for participants to lease out their coins in order to share in the rewards of verifying a block.

Tangle/DAG: Used by IOTA – Tangle is not so much a shift in consensus mechanism, but more so a shift in structure of the distributed system. ​

Tangle uses Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAG) instead of a blockchain. Unlike a blockchain, a DAG’s horizontal architecture allows for more scalability.

tangle vs blockchain

Tangle is IOTA’s implementation of a ‘Directed Acyclic Graph’. In tangle, the entire network are participants of the consensus model – unlike blockchains where only a certain portion of the network are participants of the verification process. It’s important to note that Proof Of Work is still used by Tangle. However, the burden is shared by the entire network.

Furthermore, PoW is only part of the consensus model in Tangle (to serve against sybil and spam attacks). Because of the structure of a DAG, a good actor in the Tangle’s consensus method will have to spend a trivial amount of computational power. But a bad actor will have to spend increasing amounts of computational power with diminishing returns.


Note: A Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) is simply a non-circular graph of nodes connected to each other with a fixed direction. The non-circular aspect will ensure that following the direction of the nodes will not lead you back to the same node)

Tempo: Used by Radix Tempo is a radical approach to achieving consensus as well as scalability while still maintaining true decentralization.  

Radix is neither a blockchain or a DAG – but a unique approach to achieving consensus on a distributed ledger. Fair Warning this may be a bit technical, but I will do the best I can to simplify the method.

Tempo uses sharding (taking partitions of the ledger) and “logical clocks” to achieve proper ordering of events that take place in the entire network. The magic-sauce lies in the usage of the logical clocks to generate temporal proofs.  

A logical clock is essentially an ever-increasing integer value. This value increases each time it witnesses an event. In Tempo, participants (nodes) increment their logical clock only when they witness an event that they haven’t witnessed before. The node stores the event and it’s corresponding logical clock value.

Every transaction in Tempo is stamped with  with a “temporal proof”. Please note  that “Temporal Proofs” aren’t “temporary proofs” – but more so proofs that deal with “time” and “ordering”. Achieving proper ordering of events is essential to prevent bad actors from achieving malicious transactions (like double spend).  

The second half of Tempo's consensus system lies in the "commitments". Commitments essentially involve propagating the information (temporal proofs etc) through out all the nodes. Essentially, the nodes "gossip" to the other nodes, and thus prevent mischief from a bad node.

I will be writing a more detailed post explaining the fundamentals of Tempo on a high level. For now, I hope this post suffices in giving you basic & high level understand of the various consensus mechanisms available today.

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Waves Blockchain: Ahead of the Competition

By Shawn Dexter / December 29, 2017

The Waves Platform has been a silent giant for a while now. But in the past few months, this giant’s rumbles have been getting louder – too loud to ignore anymore. While 2017 has drawn a lot of attention to the massive adoption of Ethereum & Bitcoin, it has also begged the question of blockchain scalability. As 2017 draws to a close, neither (Ethereum and Bitcoin) have shown a satisfactory solution to the scalability problem. Yes, Ethereum has promising plans in place – but we are far off from seeing those plans realized. The Waves Platform, however, have silently developed and deployed a solution that makes them the fastest blockchain in the world.

Putting Matters In Context

  • Visa averages 2000 transactions/per second   (peaking at 50k per second)
  • Bitcoin averages at 3 transactions/per second  (peaking at 5 per second)
  • Ethereum averages at 5 transactions/per second (peaking at 7 per second)

It’s evident – in order to compete and support continued growth, scalability needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Failing this, confidence in blockchain technology will wane until the tech catches up to the demand and expectations.

Enter: Waves-NG

A week ago Waves-NG went live on the Waves Platform mainnet – allowing them to process  upto 1000 transactions per second!  This effectively makes them the fastest decentralized blockchain operating in the world.

Waves Blockchain:  1000 transactions per second - (currently capped at 100 tx/s)

Let’s be clear – this is NOT a theory/whitepaper. This is a working solution that is live for everyone to use. This allows the Waves platform to go mainstream while other platforms stagger to overhaul their architecture to improve their scalability (while possibly risking security – a major feature of blockchain tech)

The Waves-team have demonstrated inspiring and commendable “forward-thinking”. They focussed on laying the foundation to allow for maximum throughput on their blockchain technology before the bells & whistles (unlike many other teams).

What & How : Waves-NG 

TLDR

Waves-NG is an implementation of “Bitcoin-NG” – originally proposed by Emin G. Sirer & Ittay Eyal.
(I’m going to try to not get too technical here… but bear with me)

What it’s NOT:

While the Bitcoin community is a never-ending debate on whether “blocksize” needs to increase or not, NG does not concern itself with that argument. NG does not increase the size of blocks. NG does not reduce block interval time.

NG discards the block-size and block-interval solutions. Due to the nature of the distribution algorithm,  increasing block-size or decreasing block interval lead to security risk and unfairness (because of increased forks, prunes etc).

What It Is:

Waves-NG approaches the problem by inverting the behaviour of the blockchain.  The current bottleneck for the throughput of the bitcoin system is its block-propagation.  NG breaks open this bottleneck by reversing how the blocks are propagated.

In the original Bitcoin system, the system has to wait idle while miners work to “discover” the next block. Hence, throughput is limited by blocksize and block interval. NG, on the other hand, uses a leader-election method (via keyblocks & microblocks) to allow blocks to be mined in a continuous approach – without being limited by block size and block interval.

NG essentially allows for the system to achieve the highest throughput allowed by the network. This allows the Waves Blockchain to handle hundreds of transactions per second without sacrificing the ideology of decentralization.

In a nutshell: Waves-NG  increases the number of transactions significantly and allowing for optimal use of the network (without being limited to number of nodes, block size etc) while still keeping intact the essence of decentralization.

Moving Forward

It has to be noted that even with Waves-NG, the scaling problem is far from “solved”. The crucial problem of every node processing every transaction still serves as bottleneck.

But this is a great start – and puts the Waves blockchain miles ahead of its competition. With Waves-NG in place, every scaling effort will achieve a multiplicative result.  Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, said just as much in regard to technology improvements and the NG protocol:

The increased scalability offered by NG should be multiplicative with increases from added tech (ie. if tech gets 4x better and NG gets added that's a 40x improvement)
Vitalik Buterin

It’s Only Getting Better:  Smart Contracts, Multisig, Atomic Swaps

The Waves team have been inspirational in their forward-thinking and discipline. With NG and a fresh new user interface in place, the team are now tackling feature developments that can take advantage of the scalability foundation and usability that the Waves blockchain already offers.

2018 will usher in smart contracts, multisignature, unique atomic swaps and even anonymity.  This giant’s rumbles are definitely getting louder

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