Bystack: Bytom’s Solution to Business Application and “The Blockchain Trilemma”
Consensus algorithms are the process applied by nodes to achieve final agreement on network states. In the blockchain sector, PoW and PoS are two major consensus algos. The proof of work (PoW) consensus algorithm is the most commonly used, which is featured by high security and decentralization but low transaction speed, represented by the biggest cryptocurrency bitcoin with theoretical maximum at 7 transactions per second (TPS); while PoS features better TPS by supporting smaller block spacing, but at the expense of security and decentralization.
The blockchain trilemma – decentralization, security and scalability – thus becomes one of the biggest challenges for cryptocurrencies. The Bystack BaaS platform recently released by Chinese star blockchain project Bytom seems to offer a possible solution to it.
Bystack is the first BaaS (Blockchain as a Service) platform with mainchain-sidechain architecture based on BUTXO, where the blockchain is divided into Layer1 and Layer2. Assets on Layer1 – Bytom mainchain – is highly secure and decentralized with the adoption of PoW algo, and the TPS issue on Layer1 could be solved by transferring assets to Layer2 using cross-chain technology. Sidechain (i.e. Layer2) uses the innovative BBFT consensus algorithm to enable a single sidechain to reach more than 20,000 TPS, and the combination of multiple sidechains can further make the TPS to increase linearly.
We (8btc) have the opportunity to invite the Bytom team to talk about their heavyweight innovation Bystack.
Chang Jia, founder of Bytom, made a metaphor to get straight the relation between Bystack and Bytom,
“If Bytom is an engine, then Bystack is the car. Bystack is not only a sidechain but a BaaS platform including mainchain and sidechain.”
Following is the edited dialogue with Bytom founder Chang Jia, CTO Lang Yu and CFO Li Zongcheng.
Q1: Compared to the BaaS platform of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, what’s the advantage of Bystack?
Chang Jia: 1. Different architectures. The BaaS of those internet giants are based on consortium blockchain, private chain or Ethereum, which of course is not autonomous or controllable. Bystack is the first BaaS with mainchain-sidedchain architecture based on BUTXO that is autonomous and controllable. Actually both single public blockchain and single consortium blockchain are difficult to meet specific business requirements. For example, some business scenarios require transaction irreversibility and data immutability, which cannot be achieved by consortium blockchain. Some scenarios have high requirements for transaction speed, which many public chains cannot promise.
2. The application scenarios are different. The BaaS of the giants mostly focus on evidence repository, public welfare, charity, traceability, and other non-mainstream business. Blockchain, after all, aims to subvert the traditional business logic and technological logic, these giants are the winners of the Internet, but the Internet’s success is the disadvantage in blockchain, for example, they cannot make data, computing and account indentity decentralized. So that’s a paradox for traditional internet giants to develop blockchain. Bystack’s whitepaper lists several business scenarios, but we’re eyeing on one or two with $100 billion market potential and focus on getting things done.
Q2: What’s the specific time of sidechain masternode launch? How many nodes in total? How much BTM coin collateral is needed for each node, and can average investors participate in the campaign? Is there any award for voting?
Li Zongcheng: The plan of the masternode will be announced in early June and there will be detailed information such as node amount and award rules. It’s a very important principle that the rules are convenient for all users to participate in and get rewards.
The design principle is that a certain amount of BTM must be pledged before running for a masternode. After successful participation, the candidates get highest votes will become the official masternodes and alternative nodes. The masternodes and alternative nodes will be allocated mining reward and voters will also be allocated mining reward.
Q3: What’s the advantages of Bystack over Monoxide in breaking the trilemma?
Chang Jia: First, the direction of scalability is different. We are improving efficiency at Layer2, they are developing shards at Layer1 to scale. Second, our understanding about decentralization is different. On breaking the “trilemma”, we need to make clear the definition of “decentralization”. At present, there is a common misunderstanding about decentralization in the industry, that is, we only talk about the decentralization of state (result), instead of the decentralization of process.
The decentralization of state is not the real decentralization, as more mining nodes does not mean more decentralization, for example, zombie-net, no matter how many nodes there are in a zombie-net, it’s actually highly centralized for their highly consistensy in behavior. Public chain must be permissionless system, however “permissionless” does not mean that everyone can mine through a pc, laptop or mobile phone, but that everyone is free to participate in the mining, regardless of the mining equipment. ASIC resistance, home computer mining only is actually centralized.
Q4: After Bystack is used to create Bytom-based side chains, how to ensure the security of side chains? If Bytom has a problem with the main chain, what will happen to the side chain? Bytom main chain is not very efficient at present, will it affect the efficiency of side chain?
Lang Yu: Side chain security is maintained by the nodes participating in the consensus. Side chains don’t generate value, as all of the assets on the side chain are transferred from the main chain. Of course, the problem on Bytom’s main chain will lead to side chain problems, so the main chain aims to put safety in priority rather than efficiency.
Q5: What are the advantages of Bystack?
Chang Jia: (1) Independent — independent research and development, public chain-based BaaS is R&D of the operating system level. Though we didn’t focus on the independence of the operating system in the past, while in confront of the trade war nowadays, code is also subject to export control, in such a context, independence is particularly important.
(2) Open architecture — Vapor is the first side chain anchored on Bytom. According to different application scenarios, you can launch different side chains for business and games.
(3) Both decentralized and efficient. Since security is an integral part of any BaaS, we can simplify the trilemma into how to balance decentralization and efficiency. Bystack gives his own answer, the main chain adopts PoW, side chain adopts DPoS+BBFT. The main chain is responsible for asset issuance, asset right verification and key data storage to ensure the safety of assets and transactions. The side chain is responsible for asset transaction and transfers to ensure transaction efficiency.
Q6: Will Bystack be popular in this industry?
Changjia: Whether we could take the lead in the industry is not what we’re concerned about. One mainchain+multi-sidechain, layer1+layer 2, PoW+PoS/DPoS may be more and more popular, such as Cardano and Nervos. Cardano is divided into settlement layer and the computing layer. Tokens run on the settlement layer, which is the foundation of the whole system. The computing layer provides smart contract, identity authentication, message communication and other functions. Nervos is divided into consensus Layer which is responsible for network consensus security and extension Layer which is responsible for transaction efficiency and supports other Layer 2. The direction of these projects is consistent with ours, but we are now closer to commercial applications in terms of research and development progress.
Q7: When will Bystack officially release?
Lang Yu: The side chain client of layer2 vapor on Bystack will be released in June and everyone can actively participate in vapor development. In August, toB’s business platform and toC’s developer platform will be open for business and developers.
Q8: If shitcoins want to migrate to the sidechain, will the value of the mainchain be influenced?
Lang Yu: Assets transferred to the sidechain need to be approved by federation, so there’s no need to worry about the quality of the asset. The base chain handles value transfer, and the side chain handles business scenarios.
Q9: Bytom adopts POW to maintain the network. Bystack obtains income through DPOS, does it mean that BTM will be a POW+DPOS project?
Lang Yu: The reward of DPOS comes from operation sides and Bytom foundation will operate a sidechain vapor so that the reward is BTM. Others can operate their own sidechains with their rewards.
Q10: Building Layer 2 on POW, will the network be crowded? When can we use Bystack?
Lang Yu: No. Sidechains can be scaled infinitely and sidechains are separated. The specific time is under schedule.
Q11: We all know about the important aspects of POW computing power and decentralization to ensure network security. What are the plans and measures in this regard?
Lang Yu: Prophet node will run together with Bystack. At the same time, we are also developing the Bytom client for different smart devices, in which the AI chips can provide computing power for the whole network.
Q12: As you mentioned “innovation in Consensus layer” in the whitepaper, can you provide more internal consensus logic?
Chang Jia: We have published “BBFT: a Hierarchical Byzantine Fault Tolerant Consensus Algorithm”. BBFT is a derivative consensus based on the practical Byzantine fault tolerance (PBFT), which is one of the widely adopted BFT consensuses. But due to the complexity of O (n ^ 2) communication, PBFT can’t scale well. Therefore, we propose a hierarchical BFT consistency algorithm — BBFT. It makes use of network topology to distribute and aggregate messages between nodes effectively and provides the complexity of O(n) communication so that BBFT consensus algorithm has good configuration, adaptability, scalability and heterogeneity.
Q13: How much TPS can Bystack achieve? Is that a platform for private blockchain or consortium blockchain?
Bystack is a comprehensive platform, which is composed of N side chains. The target TPS of our research and development is around 20,000, so Bystack TPS is 20,000*N. Bystack is not an consortium blockchain nor a private blockchain, but a developing platform containing mainchain and multi-sidechain.