One cannot seem to run away from the changes that can be seen in the last one year when you talk about cryptocurrency and blockchain scene. With that being said it’s important for me to draw each of the readers to the developments and creations by going into the crux of interesting projects that have come about in Blockchain space.
Going by the new trends, it’s sometimes the little things that fly under the radar that make a huge impact. Here, we will see how a tiny coin has been making waves and has even been featured by market cap on the Top 50 coins.
Name of the Token: Internet of Services Token
Abbreviation or sign: IOST
Kind of Token: ERC-20 Token
the value it generates: 21 Billion
MarketCap: $266M as of April 8th.
Coverage on Social Media include: Reddit, Discord, BitcoinTalk, Twitter, Medium
Whitepaper write ups: IOST Primer, Technical White Paper
The know-how of IOSToken:
One of the most interesting projects to stem out of China is the “Internet-of-Services” (IOS) blockchain and this project aspires to focus the elemental scalable obstacles that the blockchain technology may come against it, when attempting to give power to people, render services and not forgetting the machines that cater to hearty services on any network with a methodical output that is upward of 100, 000 transactions-per-second or TPS in short.
Here are the specs that come with the blockchain to aid:
- Decentralized P2P hosting (Amazon S3 competitor)
- Transactions that are classified.
- Smart contract language (dApps).
- A tracking of various user profiles and credibility for marketplaces that is decentralized.
- Infrastructure that isn’t heavy that can work on smart devices.
- In the blockchain, it provides perks and advantages to all the ‘good-citizens’.
The meaning of this is that ….
To start off it is worth knowing that nothing comes without its fair share of problems – and today’s blockchain has some serious issues. It simply isn’t robust enough to deal with a heavy flow of transactions.
This is irrespective of you:
- Having payments sent to someone.
- Communicating with a Smart Contract or dApp.
- Finding the credibility of an identity.
- Arranging a vote that is decentralized.
Every step mentioned above is needed for the blockchain to check if the transaction is valid and process the same.
A Visa Network that is capable of catering to 2000 TPS on an average and most people tend to draw a comparison of the blockchain TPS to this fact. An interesting facet of the Visa network is that it can handle about 56,000 TPS, but it only rarely goes beyond 4000TPS.
However, there is twice the issue when this comparison is drawn:
- On a new age smart blockchains, payments made are only one kind of transaction done.
- On the Visa network, there is no cross-verification or credibility rendered to transactions using many nodes, since it is a centralized service. This translates to the fact that Visa networks view a transaction as just a single one at any point in time. But, with a blockchain, a single transaction uses the processing strength of a thousand transactions that are centralized.
The next query is to determine how much we have evolved since.
On the basis of the IOST blockchain, we can then assess as to how far we have come, through what they aim at accomplishing. In doing this we then have to delve into another smart blockchain, by which I mean that you would have to search for a blockchain that enables the functioning of contracts that are programmable and execution of codes, other than checking for blockchains that render services to only payments or transfers thereof.
Moving on to Ethereum – the 1st Comparison:
What is ruling the roost in the realm of Cryptocurrency is Ethereum currently, because it is a full-bodied smart forum for contracts and even has live dApp products that are usable.
On January 4th, 2018, a few months after On January 4th of this current year, months after the chaos of the CryptoKitties Craze had made the Ethereum network virtually incompetent for almost a day. On this day Ethereum had achieved its most number of transactions in a day, processing about 1.35M transactions.
And if you further break this achievement down equally spanning the entire day, it would amount to 15 TPS or thereabouts.
What happened to Ethereum when this heavy load was piled on was that the time taken to process at 15 TPS was diminished, making each transfer very slow. They made a heavy dent in the user’s prominent fees for using the network for Ethereum’s gas price shoot up by a large-scale margin.
Stellar is the 2nd Comparison:
Controlled by a non-profit Stellar Foundation who have partnered with big-wigs like IBM and Square, Stellar is another blockchain that needs to be discussed.
A decentralized permissioned blockchain is what Stellar is known as, this is because by making use of its validators, nodes that are trusted, and quorum slices, Stellar has a “Stellar Consense Protocol” or SCP and is not very decentralized as the other blockchains, and the through this it adds on the advantage of effective costs and speed.
In the recent past, Stellar was able to reach a transaction rate of 10,00 TPS, when Barclay’s conducted a test using the Stellar protocol on Google Cloud facilities and they were even able to conduct a pressure test on a personal version of the Stellar network. However, this was achieved in a controlled environment of a lab and not in a public domain of blockchain.
The dynamics of how IOST will resolve all these circumstances.
It is interesting to learn how IOST will then focus on attaining a mark up to achieve 100,000 TPS, when in reality the facilities available find it extremely difficult to process this kind of load on a daily basis.
- IoT nodes or Lightweight nodes are used:
All nodes on the IOST are made equal and this is a huge bonus. The use of a specific computer to house the blockchain and draw credibility of the transaction by way of mining becomes a necessity to be a node in Ethereum or Bitcoin. Sometimes you may even have to have a committed server for the same.
“Simplified Payment Verification Nodes (SPV)” is a method used by IOST to easily verify and get accurate credentials of a transaction, and “First Class Nodes” in the IOST will have complete usability.
It is uncanny how IOST has the intention of focusing on nodes that are a significantly lightweight system that can be channeled from any smart device that is connected, like computers, unmanned terminals, drones – all of which can be seen as a node to assess the credibility and work on the transactions.
2. Rewards for the community and the reputation of users:
The ‘bad actor challenge’ is by far one of the largest challenges faced by dispersed ledger technology not a part of a scale. This is when anyone seeks to benefit themselves by harming the entire technology – this is a bad actor.
To further elucidate on the point above – when we send tiny transactions on Ethereum, say actions in CryptoKitties to a certain network, we become bad actors. This is because these small fee transactions however insignificant can block the network, but in order to get to the next level of individual achievements, it is done irrespective.
There are two means of benefitting when using the IOST:
- The Servi token, and
- “Fair and Transparent Feedback System” (FTFS).
The Fair and Transparent Feedback System allows services, contracts, and users to get a feedback based on the interactions and actions with others. The believability score is based on gaining a good feedback that will eventually tend to yield in perks and advantages in the blockchain. This certainly inspires users to participate keeping in mind the communities’ best interest even if the user is pretending to be anonymous.
While the Servi Token is handed out to users who go the extra mile to assist the network, this is a gift token in nature. Some of the perks gained by this token could range from scanning third-party services, by way of making other users chip in to benefit the network, or by giving a pro-bono community service.
However, the Servi Tokens come with a disclaimer of being non-tradable, and it is a self –destructing benefit that gives the user a ‘believability score’, but this can be availed on a one-time basis for each transaction.
- The Believability Score or Proof-of-Believability:
What is seen and not in isolations, is that many networks that have nodes have a loophole where there is a pay-for – authority.
One can procure equipment to boost the hashrate when you mine on PoW networks.
You can even hoard up capital in various nodes to get the validity at a later point when you use masternodes and PoS networks.
Through the “Proof-of-Believability”, IOST intends to create a system that is just and fast.
The classic Proof-of-Stake model has been taken up several notches with the Proof-of-Believability.
The points below are what the believability score for each node in Proof-of-Believability have centred around:
- How much of IOST is present in the node.
- How many Servi tokens have been gained?
- The volume of good reviews of the node.
- The nodes prior to transactional and actions.
The algorithmically and sporadic selection of a fixed amount of validators for each block is done by the IOST network. Obviously, the nodes that acquire a higher ‘believability score’ in the network get picked up as validators; however, it does not always pan out in that order.
The PoB system, on the other hand, works a tad bit different as it steers away from only engaging validations to a specific group of masternodes or trusted servers, but to go outside of this realm and select unmethodical groups of validators which are based on the standing of good actors in the particular ecosystem.
This vastly brings down malicious intent and action, because the user will never know if they will be picked up as validators. A figure that is above 51% of arbitrarily selected actors are needed to be bad actors who share the same intent of sabotaging the network and this is highly unlikely when it comes to crowdsourced standing surrounding where you will inevitably go for good actors.
- Efficient Distributed Sharing or EDS in short:
IOST hones another brilliant aspect which is the “EDS” or Effective Distributed Sharing system.
What this system enables is the fact that it can distribute the workload over various nodes, and keep a track on these nodes – which in turn aid the networks overall sustenance.
The EDS simply comes into actions when a certain node is potential being overworked and distributes some of the workloads that is coming its way to another node. This permits a linear scaling of the network potential with the generation of a healthy ecosystem that sustains the new nodes.
“Double-spend attacks”, are issues prevented by an atomic obligated system created to overlook issues and it is known as the IOST Atomix system.
It is not seen in isolation, that when a network has many transactions in play, the problems that one could face are having two of the transactions that have an effect on one another:
Transaction type A: “Transfer 100 IOST from address X to address Y”
Transaction type B: “Check the balance of address X”
In an instance where these two transactions happen simultaneously on a network at the same time, there will be a serious issue to deal with. An example would be, if ‘Transaction B’ has a purpose of checking the balance of the user before going forward with the transaction, and it engages in doing so right ahead or while ‘Transaction A’ happens then there is a high chance of ‘Transaction B’ getting an untrue-positive response.
This event or occurrence has to be dealt with as “an atomic unit” to take care of this situation. It is dealt with as an entirety and the grades of each transaction must be error-free before finished, for any other transaction to start again.
Any alternative plan of action with this particular issue would involve as many as 17 varied steps and it becomes rather complex in nature. Further to this, the Efficient Distributed Sharing or EDS will further split the steps down to store it in 17 different nodes.
It has to be duly noted that if one of those steps is incorrect or faces complications and the 16 other steps are perfect, it would still yield to rather unforeseen, and perhaps an impact that is detrimental to the network.
What IOST is doing to tackle this issue is to gather the transaction steps as view it as an atomic unit, albeit it is dispersed all over the various processing bodies.
What this will do is to either render the entire process with a positive outcome, or the whole process falls flat as an atomic unit, therefore, no semi-transactions take place.
- Micro State Blocks:
This is the final aspect and a significant feature in the IOST’s range of capabilities. This is perhaps the most exciting aspect and yet, I find myself having to dwell more in understanding its nuances, as I may not have the proficiency to be technically sound in the area.
“Micro State Blocks”, is a concept that has been projected by IOST.
The conventional blockchains house a new block of data every few seconds, this is one of the most significant challenges it faces. And what is new block does is record every aspect of the activities that take place on the blockchain, for instance, an aspect like transactions could be recorded. Even if the blockchain has not seen any activity, this has to be recorded.
You can’t neglect or avoid blocks, for there isn’t a NULL on the blockchain. ‘Empty blocks’ get stored when there is no activity on the blockchain, but it is almost always the same size as the block that stores the transactions.
The real issue is that as time progresses that blockchain gets exponentially large, yet, the data is stored on the nodes so that it can validate the transaction.
The Bitcoin blockchains size is approximately 165 GB, as of the 8th of April 2018. This does boil down to the fact that you will have to download and house 165 GB value of information, in order to run a node.
Has mainnet been launched and what is the take on it?
Well, mainnet has not been launched.
In the recent past IOST has released the first of their codes and has loaded them to their public Github — what is relevant is to know that constructing a brand new blockchain based on a completely new agreement certainly takes plenty of time. It is remarkable at how IOST has been going at such a phenomenal pace.
I say that because according to their plan of action IOST hopes to organize a completely functioning testnet by the second quarter of 2018 and to be able to roll out a complete one-of-a-kind network in the third quarter of 2019.
In another announcement by the IOST foundation, their plans of siphoning off all 7.35 billion IOST tokens associated with the foundation right up to the launch of their mainnet in 2019.