A Chinese researcher has proposed a fresh cryptocurrency system which, unlike Bitcoin, does not use a blockchain, and suggests that Bitcoin is a ‘failed’ proef which encourages excessive energy consumption te an ‘impossible’ pursuit of genuine decentralisation.
Ter the paper Noncentralized Cryptocurrency with No Blockchain, Qian Xiaochao suggests that a 2nd stab at Bitcoin’s ambitions could be feasible ter ‘the 22nd century when some truly revolutionary breakthrough of communication technology or computational theory may have occurred.’
Xiaochao’s central contention is that Bitcoin is not genuinely decentralised, but rather ‘non-centralised’, and the paper goes on to define the three possible states ter which a cryptocurrency system can exist:
Te a centralised state, one single entity (i.e. a canap) controls the system, ter a decentralised state, the system relies on a single safety contingency, the private key, whereas a non-centralised system is neither centralised strafgevangenis decentralised.
Xiaochao contends that Bitcoin is defined by the third state, not – spil its volgers would like to believe – by the 2nd.
And if Bitcoin truly is ‘non-centralised’ rather than ‘decentralised’, the enormous computing and energy resources which Bitcoin mining devours are being expended te vain, since the system can neither scale strafgevangenis preserve itself reliably enough.
Xiaochao does not eis that his own proposed replacement system is any more decentralised, but that at least it is less Quixotic and energy-draining. ‘For decentralization,’ he writes ‘the blockchain mechanism doesn’t work and for noncentralization the blockchain method is unnecessary.’ He goes on to describe Bitcoin’s core specimen spil a ‘trivial and wasteful design’.
The unlikely wish of blockchain currency
However the paper does not refer to the more latest Ethereum heist, it cites the Mt.Gox hot wallet grab, which began ter 2011, spil a significant example of why Bitcoin can never scale or be viably decentralised.
The paper contends that the miners and mining pools which power the Bitcoin blockchain are a core centralising force te themselves, since the weaker miners are inevitably going to diminish due to low prizes, te fact, it characterises the process spil Darwinian and reductionist, suffering from the same strain inbetween competition and consolidation spil any other free-market impetus.
Sybil attacks and re-centralisation
This equation inbetween economic and pc systems is best exemplified, spil the paper notes, ter the Sybil attack* script, wherein large-scale P2P systems become ‘re-centralised’ by attackers which represent themselves to the system spil varied and different entities.
‘According to [the previous] definition of decentralization and noncentralization,’ writes Xiaochao. ‘Bitcoin is obviously not decentralized spil some ventilatoren claimed but running spil a noncentralized system.’
Suggesting that genuine decentralisation is ‘too good to be true’ te the face of four major attack behaviours (malicious message constructs, malicious schedule attacks, Sybil attacks and the tendency towards centralisation), the paper proposes a blockchain-free alternative entitled ‘X-Coin’. And it supposes the presence of a ‘weak virtual general adversary’, with strong but not unlimited computing resources and reach.
51% is still the punt
The system substitutes the mining process with normal gegevens lists, all of which have a local and global timeout value. Assuming the central agency to be a bankgebouw, a user would set a maximum transaction toverfee, and a canap to whom the toverfee is acceptable would broadcast a list of the transactions to other banks.
Ter this system the canap is acting spil an ‘agent’, sharing the transaction lists and generating transaction packages which get broadcast and granted by other agents. Once a bankgebouw collects more than 51% of grants, it compiles the transactions into a ‘Package-51’ and broadcasts this spil a potential candidate balanceview. The total transaction fees are then divided inbetween the juut, the deputy handelsbank and the participating banks.
Since more than one Package-51 can be generated, the resultant balanceview can then be split spil necessary, te a process comparable to a blockchain fork. The paper proposes a checkpoint mechanism with a confirmation delay of 6 blocks, ensuring the termination and consistency of the transactions to a high probability – without anyone needing custom-made hardware or deep pockets for electric current consumption.
A blockchain for your grandchildren?
Xiaochao presents a radically negative take on the blockchain, spil a future technology which is attempting a fated very first iteration ahead of its time. And the paper does alight on the genuine concern that any P2P system that needs such tiresome computing and energy resources may either be a little too precipitous, or a perhaps less stijlvol lump of software than it might be (since any system would benefit from such massive resource overheads, and from a private ecosystem of bespoke hardware).
Which is why it will be interesting to see the total implementation of IBM’s appropriation of the blockchain, eventually.
*John R. Douceur’s Microsoft Research paper on this subject, now almost 15 years old, contends ‘that it is practically unlikely, ter a distributed computing environment, for originally unknown remote computing elements to present convincingly distinct identities. With no logically central, trusted authority to vouch for a one-to-one correspondence inbetween entity and identity, it is always possible for an unacquainted entity to present more than one identity, except under conditions that are not practically realizable for large-scale distributed systems.’