by Lori Brown
Antshares sets the pace in a new playing field amongst Blockchain applications and is set to release their smart contracts 2.0 in June, an important development contributing to diversity within the blockchain community and of smart contracts, with Hyperledger not open to the public and Rootstock yet to release anything.
When projects such as Bitcoin and Ethereum emerge, their success in the financial arena tends to distract from an ominous flaw. For Bitcoin alone, the amount of energy that is used annually is comparable to the amount consumed by the entire country of Slovenia. In the United States of America you could supply power to 3.8 households for one full day, for the same amount used in a single bitcoin transaction.
The immense consumption of energy is driven by Bitcoin’s cryptographic algorithm, known as Proof-of-Work. It is only a part of the machine that makes Bitcoin’s public blockchain unchangeable. Proof-of-Work is a voracious energy drain.
The notable alternative to Proof-of-Work is Proof-of-Stake, which cuts the energy consumption dramatically, and therefore is a viable replacement for the greedier power-glutton, Proof-of-Work.
Both Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake present a vital flaw because eventually each will force the blockchain to divide into two versions if a consensus cannot be achieved. It is common to see blockchains fork, only to merge back into a single chain as mining continues. This potential issue, of this splitting up the chain shows the need for a better solution.
The Byzantine Alternative?
There is an alternative emerging called the distributed Byzantine Fault Tolerance algorithm (or dBFT) which is used by Antshares, the Shanghai-based blockchain startup technology company, as well as Hyperledger.
The term Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) is named after the Byzantine General’s problem, or an intricate and complex system vulnerable to attack when sides do not agree on one thing. The BFT describes the challenge of achieving consensus in a distributed blockchain. Securing a publicly distributed blockchain with a Byzantine Fault Tolerance algorithm has a high tolerance even if under attack.
To secure blockchains, a distributed Byzantine Fault Tolerance algorithm recognizes two types of participants which are professional node operators, doing so to make money and regular users who are simply using the blockchain.
A dBFT blockchain achieves consensus via the specially appointed, professionally-operated nodes nominated by ordinary nodes through delegated voting. One of these special nodes will act as a "Chairman" for each newly forged block and broadcasts their version of the blockchain; if two thirds of the other nodes agree, consensus is reached. In the event, consensus is not reached, another node is appointed as "Chairman" until two thirds of the remaining nodes agree.
Consequently, the rate of transaction handling is much faster and more energy efficient than the alternatives as there is no number crunching or computational puzzles involved.
Erik Iz, co-founder and core developer at Antshares explained:
“After investigating and studying the crypto industry and blockchain technologies for several years, we came to the conclusion that the delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance alternative (or dBFT) is best suited for such a system. It provides swift transaction verification times, de-incentivises most attack vectors and upholds a single blockchain version with no risk of forks or alternative blockchain records emerging - regardless of how much computing power, or coins an attacker possesses.”
The aim of Antshares is to allow everyone to trade bonds and other securities and the DBFT consensus mechanism ensures that attacks are not unlikely but almost impossible, as traditional assets are not fortunate enough to be able to fork into two alternative versions.
Antshares Releases a new application using Beta smart contracts 2.0
Antshares has just released its PC application V1.6.0-preview3. This new version has further solidified Antshares’ core protocol, now that smart contracts have now been added, in beta.
Since the birth of Ethereum, the development of smart contracts has been rapidly evolving.
Even with smart contracts growing in popularity, the technology of smart contracts has rarely made an appearance in the cryptocommunity. In this sense, Antshares is an industry leader, seeking to diversity of the community while boosting the development of smart contracts.
Smart contracts 2.0 boasts high finality, high performance and high scalability. In a nice array of choices, Antshares supports verification contracts, function contracts and application contracts.
Performance is key to the Antshares unique and emerging brand, where Antshares' smart contracts proudly uses a lightweight AVM (Antshares Virtual Machine) for their runtime environment which starts quickly and consumes much less energy than alternative environments.
The impressive assortment of programming languages will give endless opportunity for existing businesses and organizations to transfer their systems into the blockchain, which will make the adoption of the technology relatively smooth. June 2017 will see the official release of Antshares' smart contracts 2.0 and the company will also collaborate with Innospace to hold a Blockchain startup competition twoard the end of May, which is sponsored by Shanghai Science and Technology Committee.
You can find out more about Antshares' smart contracts 2.0 by joining the Antshares School.