Fetch.AI has announced a technical breakthrough on the challenge of the ‘blockchain trilemma’, with a new approach to consensus. The consensus uses a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) scheme that achieves strict transaction ordering, fast confirmation times and improved security compared to existing platforms. The approach to achieving consensus includes the following innovations:
- A Decentralised Random Beacon that elects a committee of nodes tasked with reaching agreement on the validity of a set of transactions. This adds additional cryptographic measures that ensure decentralisation whilst preventing individual nodes from being able to interfere with or delay the progress of the blockchain.
- A DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) but without the delay in reaching finality that is common to other DAG-based systems. Rather, the ‘leader’ of the committee (securely and randomly elected) is able to deterministically construct a strict ordering of transactions for the next block to be added to the blockchain from the partially ordered transactions contained in the DAG. The deterministic mechanism for achieving transaction finality combined with the scalability and transaction throughput of the ledger design will enable it to outperform existing systems.
- The overall design of the consensus mechanism, including the decentralised random beacon, collaborative block production and deterministic block mapping, focus on achieving ‘minimal agency’, which contributes to improved security by reducing the influence any one node can have on the transactions that are entered into the blockchain.
Jonathan Ward, head of research at Fetch.AI commented: “Blockchain technologists have long understood the ‘trilemma challenge’ of achieving the correct balance of security, decentralisation and scalability. Our new approach to achieving consensus makes use of a decentralised random beacon, which in turn allows us to harness a truly decentralised DAG and deterministic transaction ordering for the first time. This means we can scale beyond today’s existing systems without compromising significantly on security or decentralisation”
Ward continued: “This is a landmark achievement in the development of our technology. It’s going to be exciting to see the consensus implemented on our scalable ledger, which is capable of synchronising 30,000 transactions per second on a single shard.”
Humayun Sheikh, CEO, Fetch.AI added: “Any consensus mechanism needs to be specific for the purpose of its distributed ledger. Fetch.AI’s ledger underpins deployment of ‘multi-agent systems’ where AI agents undertake large numbers of low value transactions (e.g. trading data from a sensor). We believe our new consensus mechanism makes a significant contribution to blockchain infrastructure, making DLT fit for purpose in high performance use cases.”