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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About the author

Shawn Dexter

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


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