What is Raiblocks?
As maintaining a huge, unwieldy blockchain becomes more expensive, slow and non eco friendly, an alternative cryptocurrency has come on the scene.
Colin LeMahieu, the founder of Raiblocks, decided to create a new kind of blockchain that would enable feeless, fast and efficient transactions.
Though Satoshi’s blockchain was revolutionary, LeMahieu saw it as unscalable. Because each transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain has to reference a previous transaction as proof, it has become so big that transaction times can take hours to complete.
Raiblock uses a block lattice instead. Still using blockchain technology, each transaction is its own blockchain between the sender and the receiver of XRB, the Raiblock coin. Each block is just one transaction and the global register of transactions is stored in their ledger.
Since the block lattice creates blocks asynchronously by transaction, it also has limitless scalability.
It can run on low power hardware, so is also more eco friendly than a traditional blockchain based currency.
How Does Raiblocks Work?
Each user has his/her own account which includes a public and private key. The public-key, also referred to as the address, is shared with other network participants while the private-key is kept secret.
When a transaction is started, a block on the lattice is made. It’s then signed by the private key. Other users can’t see the information of the private key, but the block can be verified by the information within it, including the digital signature.
The blockchain only extends as far as that accounts history. With no other transactions to store, the blockchain is lean and lightweight. All these transactions are then stored on the global ledger to be viewed and verified by other account holders.
Each account chain, however, can only be added upon by the account holder. Because of this, updates to the chain happen immediately and asynchronously to the rest of the block-lattice, resulting in quick transactions.
This means that there is no need for miners to verify the transaction. The only thing that needs verifying is a possible double spend showing on the chain. But, since each spend requires a reference to a previous block with the digital signature, a double spend would only occur if someone tried to reference the same previous block in two seperate send transactions.
So, how do Raiblock transactions get verified then?
When you create a Raiblock account, you select another account to act as your proxy and vote on transactions. When an apparent double spend occurs, one of these accounts votes on which transaction is the right one. There are so many of these accounts that vote, that there is always one online.
The Raiblock protocol is extremely light-weight and can be sent within the required minimum UDP (User Datagram Protocol) packet size for being transmitted over the internet. Hardware requirements are small, as well. All this adds up to a fast, cheap and scalable system.
The coin, the XRB, is founded on a Genesis Balance which is a fixed quantityand can never be increased. It was funded in October 2017.
How Can Raiblock Prevent Attacks?
Since Raiblock does not use a traditional blockchain, it seems like it could be susceptible to attacks.
The simplicity of the system is what actually prevents the known attack scenarios.
For example, in some cases a block that is not properly transmitted could be exploited in most situations. In the block lattice, a bad block would be ignored, or a request for a resync with the node happens. The increase in traffic this causes a denial of service. Before it can connect a vote happens, in which case it is deemed junk data. Attack averted!
With transaction floods, Sybil attacks and penny attacks, the way the block lattice operates makes it not just impossible, but not worth the effort or expanse. Voting by accounts can see these as they happen and deny the transactions. Since nodes that set up the block are pruned, there are few historical blocks to exploit.
Another stop gap is the fact that votes are account balance weighted. The bigger the balance on an account, the more weight the vote has. If somebody wanted to rig the vote, they would need to have over 50% of the voting power. This is only possible by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on XRB. Theoretically a foreign country could try this (I’m looking at you, China!), it is highly unlikely.
Raiblock vs Iota
What makes Iota and Raiblock similar?
These two crytpos were the first to figure out a fast, free and minerless system to make their crypto work more like fiat currency. They both use DAG, directed-acyclic-graph data structure.
It’s just the ways they implement their systems are different.
Raiblock uses Proof of Scale with the block lattice. A transaction is run through the ledger to ensure that the signatures are authentic. Once it syncs with the node, the node reads the signature and it is confirmed instantly
Iota works on Proof of Work. This means that a block gets confirmed once it is surrounded or stacked by other blocks. The time it takes to confirm, then, is reliant on how many users there are in the system.
Though, Proof of Work is lower cost than the Bitcoin blockchain to operate, there is still some cost since there is computing that needs to be done.
Besides the differences being in how they enable transactions, the biggest separator is what they each hope to achieve.
Iota is looking to dominate the protocol for the Internet of Things devices. They are not exactly decentralized as they require a coordinator to manage transactions. Big corporations like Volkswagen and Bosch like that and have signed on as partners.
Raiblock, on the other hand is looking to become a daily peer to peer payment system for arbitrage through quick transactions, or to simply buy your morning cup of coffee.
At the end of the day, it is becoming clearer that for cryptocurrency to be used in place of fiat, it has to be instant and free. Otherwise it can never replace cash.
Now, there are many who could not care less about replacing fiat currency. They are either unbanking and want a safe place to hold their wealth, they are looking to invest by trading crypto or whatever personal reasons they have to buy up coins.
But, the people behind Raiblock and many other believers in decentralizing finance and currency are looking forward to a day when they can uncouple from government monetary policies and decide for themselves which currency they want to use. A coin like XRB could be just the thing they are looking for.