Babbitt Column | The main driver of the evolution of consensus algorithms: humanity

Author: wind Lemna

Editor's note: The original title was "The Main Pusher of the Evolution Track of Consensus Algorithms"

The consensus algorithm, according to the standard interpretation, specifies how legal blocks on the blockchain are generated and selects blockchains that conflict with each other at the same height. In simple terms, it is to solve the problem of who has the final say. The purpose of using these rules is to allow participants to form a consensus in a system without trusted specific participants. This means that the process of reaching consensus in an environment where participants are completely strange to each other. The consensus mechanism provides The institutional conditions for collaborative communication in the environment, and the consensus algorithm is the technical implementation of the consensus mechanism.

The consensus algorithm needs the support of the token economy system. Otherwise, the network it supports is similar to low efficiency, people floating around, passive and passive central enterprises, lacking vitality and enterprising spirit, and the blockchain network in this form can only fall into a narrow space. Compared with the centralized database of centralized management in the past, even if the database is distributed, it is the relationship between 50 steps and 100 steps in the old saying. The cleverness and advancedness of the consensus algorithm is that it can introduce a large number of active contributors to the system and form an open society, like the United States in the 19th century. With a clear property rights system, a free personal atmosphere, a competitive business environment, and a cultural advantage that is compatible and eclectic It has attracted world-class talents to live and work. Only in a society that has a lot of capacity, can it be a source of endless innovation, and the ability to innovate is the source of support for the sustainable development of a country and an enterprise.

Feng Qingping followed and learned the consensus algorithms of many blockchain projects, pondered its evolutionary development path, and believed that the consensus algorithm has been developing at a high speed. However, it is the evil of human nature that promotes its development, not to pursue better. But to avoid getting out of control, it is said that it was robbed by a band of robbers with a machete, so understand that the anxiety and embarrassment of the project's founding team can only be understood.

Everyone knows that Satoshi Nakamoto positions Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, which is an inclusive financial product. However, it is precisely the consensus algorithm that changes all of this. Mining equipment has been changed from common computer CPUs. After geeks' transformation, customization, and research and development, CPUs and GPUs have been gradually phased out, and dedicated ASIC equipment has occupied all of Bitcoin. Computing power. From this perspective, if Bitcoin is far away from the decentralized attribute and even the network collapses, mining equipment manufacturers such as Bitmain and Canaan Technology should be the original creators.

Even the liberal Liberal Vitalik Buterin, in its dominant Ethereum, although it uses a consensus algorithm Ethash different from Bitcoin, can resist the monopoly of ASIC miners on mining work, but today The distribution of mining pools has also revealed the breath of wealth and wealth, and the threshold has been raised very high.

Ethereum mining pool distribution

The picture above shows the Ethereum mining pool activity on December 10, 2019

As shown in the figure, only the first two mining pools account for 56% of the total computing power distribution. Objectively speaking, it has evil conditions. This result should be unwilling to be accepted by the foundation headed by Vitalik Buterin. Feng Qingping believes that this should be the root of its abandonment of POW and the transfer of POS algorithms, rather than pure scalability requirements. When Vitalik Buterin was stunned by a group of mining pools and lost confidence in POW, we seemed to see a thin figure being rushed by a group of people from Kangzhuang Avenue into an alley.

In the Ethereum 2.0 era, all errors will be attempted to be corrected again, and only 32 ETH tickets are required to participate in POS. In phase 0, users can deposit 32 BETH (Beacon ETH) on the chain to become validators, and the door of Ethereum Inclusive Finance will open again.

Similarly, there is the Monero project, which has been at the forefront of R & D resistance to ASIC mining algorithms, and has performed a hard fork to upgrade the PoW algorithm. In the future, it only needs an ordinary CPU and at least 2GB of memory to be fair. Participate in mining. At 3 am on December 1st, the Monero coin switching workload proof algorithm was RandomX, replacing the original CryptoNight algorithm, weakening the impact of the dedicated mining equipment ASIC on the network computing power and optimizing the CPU mining.

In the blockchain network, similar to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero, they encountered the same troubles and turned to projects that broke the game. They abound. They have one thing in common, that is, they are choked by a group of horrible miners The sad face, specifically, is a group of miner manufacturers. In terms of the development prospects of the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero networks, the stronger the mining machine R & D capabilities, the stronger the evil capabilities. The listing of Jianan Yunzhi is actually the sadness of these blockchain networks, and it has a taste that it will succeed.

greedy

The IPFS protocol in the field of distributed storage is an industry-recognized future replacement for the http network transmission protocol. In August 2017, once it went online, it easily raised US $ 257 million (including private and public funds), setting an ICO record at the time. . The IPFS protocol comes with King Weather, which has always been regarded as an Ethereum project. Its incentive layer, Filecoin, has always been a concern. Before its mainnet has been launched, the futures of its mining equipment will continue to be in full demand.

IPFS's original idea was to make full use of the idle computing resources of every computer scattered in the civilian world, and ordinary computer CPUs can participate in Filecoin mining, which is another Satoshi Nakamoto vision.

On November 27, it all ended again. Filecoin official community administrator Why stated on social media that "in the next development network, Filecoin mining has basically determined that a graphics card (GPU) is needed."

This move means that mining activities that are open to ordinary computers will be closed as BTC and ETH have experienced. Filecoin miners will also be on the road to an arms race. The previous CPU miners meant that they would all be abolished It is understood that as of June this year, the number of Filecoin miners sold on the market reached one million.

From this point of view, participation in Filecoin's mining investment can only be a professional investment activity of professionals, not a sharing economy scattered among the people, like Didi taxi, and the vision of IPFS is bound to be drastically lowered. In the narrow channel, lack of fairness, how many people can be retained to participate?

In real life, there are three ways to govern society: elite governance, representative governance, and centralized governance. How to govern society has become a tireless exploration practice of mankind for thousands of years. In contrast to the reality of society, various modes of governance exist. It is difficult to say which one is better than others. According to Feng Qingping, according to the black and white cat theory As long as it can establish long-term stability and take into account the ability to maintain self-evolution, a governance model with this feature is an optional governance model. Mapping into the blockchain network is a valuable consensus algorithm.

However, there is a premise, that is, it is necessary to establish a maximum degree of innovation system to be a durable and efficient model, and openness is the basic condition for establishing innovation. From this perspective, consensus algorithms are to establish open technical conditions. The goal is to create an innovative atmosphere and soil through open environmental conditions. The direct result of openness is to stimulate competition. Without a sense of crisis, it is difficult to have a source of innovation. This conclusion can explain the "resource curse" phenomenon, that is, all resources Rich countries and regions are often very backward, so is the underlying logic of being rich for three generations. So we see that in the real world, no matter what kind of governance model countries and regions, if they want to develop, they will try to expand their open boundaries.

In the brief development history of the blockchain, whether it is Bitcoin or Ethereum, its original intention was open, but with the greed of human nature, the race to chase, the result is to make this system more and more closed, and The bad result of the closure is coalition collusion and monopoly.

monopoly

In a monopoly society, it is difficult to see the sun. If all the upward channels are closed, then this society must be backward and waiting to be overthrown. If this situation occurs in the blockchain network, then an ecosystem with extensive social effects must be formed and even become the future. The underlying infrastructure of society is nothing but empty words.

American society has always been a model for an open society. However, to this day, the financial mixed industry advocate advocated by Wall Street, the merger and reorganization of the corporate market, and the rapid development of Internet companies have long formed various monopoly power groups, which have become a resistance to the development of the United States. Unhelpful, Feng Qingping believes that this should be the source of polarization in American society and also the background that directly prompted Trump, represented by populism. The populist activities within the United States reflect its internal closedness, and the trade wars launched around the world reflect the decline in its external openness and the decline in internal and external openness, which indicates that it is a matter of time for this country to decline.

America's fall

In the blockchain world, which has only a few years of development history, there are already many blockchain networks with monopoly characteristics or tendencies, or node monopoly, or computing power monopoly, or currency holding monopoly, or monopoly on development capabilities. In front of these projects, there are not many choices, or to evolve and innovate their consensus algorithms, expand their openness, or introduce other parallel consensus algorithms to maintain a moderate balance in stability and self-evolution capabilities.

There are many projects that choose the latter approach. For example, Bytom and Nervos networks have adopted a stable POW and a two-layer flexible consensus algorithm to compromise between stability and flexibility. deal with. But what is the outlook after landing, you still need to wait for the actual review.

The monopoly phenomenon of the blockchain network is in urgent need of the Sherman antitrust law in the blockchain world. However, at the moment when supervision is seriously lacking, this is almost a luxury. With project autonomy and industry self-discipline, it is also very difficult. Qingping feels that only the survival of the fittest in the market can optimize the quality of blockchain projects. As an investor, only with a forward-looking choice of truly open projects can the probability of value investment be improved.

When discouraged, there are often unexpected discoveries. Eclecticism is a common practice. There are also people who are full of confidence and paranoia, and are constantly expanding this field to open up a new choice.

The impact is more profound, there are several cases, only one expression is selected.

A third-generation consensus protocol claimed to be designed for the future: Avalanche, invented by Professor Emin Gün Sirer and his team. It is different from the POW workload proof consensus protocol widely used in the current blockchain or the classic BFT Byzantine fault tolerance consensus protocol. Simply put, its uniqueness is that compared to POW and BFT, it is not only more decentralized, but also has amazing performance. There is no waste of POW resources, and it has higher communication and efficiency than BFT. It can be finalized in about 1 second Sexuality (finality) and tens of thousands of TPS. When BFT expands to hundreds or even thousands of nodes, the communication efficiency and speed of the entire system will drop sharply, so the BFT consensus is very fragile. The core value is that the Avalanche agreement allows everyone to participate in consensus decisions and to do it in a more democratic way.

Objectively speaking, this consensus algorithm is more open. However, Feng Qingping believes that the data structure used is closer to DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) than BLOCK CHAIN. But whether DAG's security can be guaranteed, we still need to continue to observe.

There is a saying in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "You must keep running to stay where you are." The evolution of consensus algorithms will continue, but we investigate the reason, the internal pusher turned out to be the evil of human nature.

Mining machine manufacturers continue to strengthen technology research and development, and realize product upgrades. Just to meet the greedy needs of miners, miners spare no effort to develop their own computing power, just to achieve benefits in accordance with the design of the token economic system under the framework of consensus algorithms Maximizing is very contradictory in making the cake bigger and dividing the cake better, but it is true that at this stage, the evil of human nature is re-input into the blockchain ecosystem, as if we are back to the starting point.

Consensus algorithm

Economist Zhang Weiying said that real entrepreneurs should not use human weaknesses to make money. We can condemn the Tencent Group because it has created the glory of the King of Games, which has harmed countless students, but business is always business, and its essence is the maximization of benefits. In the face of existence, the line between morality and interests is blurred. We need to face the truth.

From another perspective, any person or action is the product of the system. Rather than condemn it, it is better to reflect on it and build a better system. It should be the root policy. As President Jefferson said, the whole art of government is integrity. People ’s art, and consensus algorithm is one of the implementation paths.

After trying out many consensus algorithms, Feng Qingping came to a conclusion that, like the magnificent history of humankind, the development of blockchain has infinite possibilities, full of hardships and twists and turns, and it is like ambition to promote historical development. The evolution of the chain consensus algorithm turned out to be greed of human nature.

However, only a blockchain project based on justice can continue to generate a system environment of good culture and endlessly. Is this a great project that we really deserve attention and yearn for.