TAO Update #3 – Simplified

TAO Update #3 – Simplified

First up, there’s a ton of new code. 50k+ new lines of it. Great job, Nexus devs!

 

Lower Level Crypto:

Nexus is monitoring new quantum-resistant signature schemes that use lattices to replace the Elliptic Curve Cryptography scheme that is currently used for private/public keys. Lattices will make your signature chain more secure against quantum computers but requires greater processing, which is already a throughput bottleneck at 4.3k TPS. 

Lower Level Database:

A new keychain called a Binary Hash Map has been created as an alternative to the Binary File Map (another form of indexing). Essentially, if the blockchain is indexed via account, then the account name is run through a hash function which determines its location in the index, called a bucket. A bucket collision is when the hash output is the same for another input.

When this occurs, it searches through multiple hashmaps from the largest index to smallest index and places the information in the first empty bucket at the calculated position. When the key needs to be retrieved, it calculates the bucket location and then checks that bucket in each hashmap until the key is found. Greater bucket collision resistance means that the Binary Hash Map is more efficient.

The Binary LRU cache is pretty self-explanatory. Information that is used most frequently is retained whilst infrequently used data is replaced.

The Transaction Journal is like a page file for the blockchain. Rather than holding every transaction that has been processed and is awaiting placement into a block in RAM, which can be corrupted after power failure, the LLD sets aside a portion of the hard drive in a file and stores the pending writes there. After reboot, it can recover if there was a failure at any point in the ACID transaction, due to checkpointing the journal file before events are committed to the main database.

ACID is not just known for great visual effects and synesthesia, but is a well-known acronym from the world of databases. It stands for Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation and Durability. Meaning:

  • When a transaction is made, every part of the transaction must be valid or the transaction fails.
  • Transactions must be in order, for instance a DEBIT must happen before a CREDIT, or for that instant in time the ledger would be in an invalid state.
  • Once a transaction is made, it is irreversible. You cannot make another transaction that would invalidate a previous transaction. For instance, let’s say I have 1000 NXS and buy something worth 500 NXS. If I try to quickly go and transfer 501 NXS, it would fail.

For further reading about ACID: https://vladmihalcea.com/a-beginners-guide-to-acid-and-database-transactions/

Lower Level Protocol (LLP):

The LLP handles the networking layer of Tritium, managing sockets and connections with other nodes. The benchmarks reported here are run on the underlay without LISP. As can be seen in the photo, and as Colin explained, this benchmark is not performed with any Ledger layer validation and is simply a load test on network capability alone. Under real-world conditions, this will not be the case.

Ledger:

A transaction object contains all the information needed to make a transaction, for instance sending account, receiving account, amount to be transferred, signature data, public key, tx ID etc. When a new transaction is received, the node performs pre-processing to validate the transaction. When a block is received, the node then checks to see if that transaction is included in the broadcast block, and then commits this collection of indexes to disk using an ACID transaction (remember, ‘all or nothing’). This benchmark of 647ms was for post-processing only. Pre-processing takes a little longer, but given an average block time of 50 seconds, there is plenty of time available to perform this processing. 

Preprocessing tests received transactions to ensure that they are valid and do not violate ledger, register, or operations verification. For a short period, I believe about 12 months was the stated duration, nodes will be able to process both Tritium transactions and legacy transactions. Tritium transactions use the new account model with the new signature chains, whereas legacy transactions still use the UTXO system with private/public key security. Legacy addresses can send to Tritium accounts, but Tritium accounts cannot send to Legacy addresses. Any Legacy addresses containing coins after this period will be inaccessible.

Tritium:

All pre-processed transactions are retained in a mempool awaiting inclusion in a block. If a second transaction is received which contradicts or invalidates an already processed transaction, then that second transaction is rejected.

Tritium blocks do not contain all the information that was contained within the transaction object. They only contain a list of all the transaction IDs contained within the block. When the block is received, nodes compare every transaction ID which has passed pre-processing and if the block contains an unknown or unprocessed transaction ID, then that block is not accepted until that transaction is received and processed. This list of transaction IDs also serves to verify the merkle root that was calculated in the block header.

Amine:

Before Amine is implemented, all the pre and post processing is performed by the same nodes via PoS or PoW miners. Under Amine, they will be separated, with pre-processing or transaction validation performed via the PoS/Trust nodes, and post-processing or block verification performed by miners.

Obsidian:

Obsidian will split the consensus process over 3 channels, the L1, L2 and L3 locks. The first 2 locks are the same as explained above. The L3 lock is a hardening stage using proof of work. Instead of miners racing to find a winning block hash, each miner works to find the most weighted hash within a 60 second period. Miners then submit this hash (which is based off the L2 locks, previous block hash, their Signature Chain’s Genesis ID, and randomly generated nonce) to the network and combined into a single merkle root hash. This way each miner gains a portion of the reward proportional to how much collective weight they contributed.

Register pre-states:

This explains that by including the register pre-state within the transaction object, it forms part of the transaction hash which is part of the block header. Light nodes can then check block headers to see if the pre-state of a new transaction formed part of a recorded block. Because this information is recorded within the block header, older pre-states can be pruned and removed from the blockchain, decreasing blockchain bloat. If a node were to attempt to include an older pre-state, it would fail register verification on receive of a new transaction, being that the published pre-state was not consistent with the current register’s state in the LLD instance that holds register data. 

This section goes on to point out that extravagant claims of “100k TPS” are unrealistic without some sort of blockchain pruning or sharding, and that network bandwidth and hard drive storage are bottlenecks to this sort of throughput.

Register post-states:

The post state is the new state of the register which is recorded in the database, and transacting nodes have to include a post-state checksum along with the transaction, which must be the same as that calculated by the validating nodes. This is important for the development of dapps built on Nexus, for if a dapp makes a transaction and expects a certain result, then the checksum provides the means to prevent the register moving to a state which the application did not intend. Its a form of error handling.

Register Types:

This section is basically just reiterating the contents of the Tritium whitepaper.

State registers can be manipulated by primitive operations, which will be detailed further below. These registers contain state information for external applications shared across multiple instances. This might be the location of a sea container or the status of a driver’s license.

State registers come in three flavours, Raw, Append, and Read-Only.

Raw registers have no security parameters besides ownership, only the owner of the register can modify the content of this register.

Append registers can only be added to and retains their original data and state history within the register database. This is useful for tracking ownership of property, land titles etc.

Read-only registers are unable to be changed even by the owner. It is useful for holding constants or information that will not change.

Register Objects:

Currently, there are two types of objects, accounts and tokens. These are specialized registers which are used internally within the Operation layer. As such, their data format is pre-set and their contents can only be manipulated with specialized operations.

Register Operations:

The Register operation assigns a new memory address to a new register. Think of this as declaring a variable within a program. Eventually, when sharding is implemented, this will need to allow assigning and accessing memory addresses in remote shards through inter-shard communication.

The Write and Append operations are self-explanatory.

The Transfer operation changes ownership of State or Token registers from one signature chain to another. This operation can only be performed by the owner of said register

A successful transaction of funds uses both a Debit and Credit operation. These operations can only be applied to Account registers. In the event of a successful Debit operation but lack a corresponding Credit operation, the issuing Debit account is able to redeem those unclaimed funds.

The next two operations, Validate and Require, operate along similar lines to IF control statements within programs. These allow conditions to be placed on the execution of operations and form the basis of Nexus’s Advanced Contracts.

Using Colin’s example of a decentralized exchange of tokens, the user wishing to sell tokens would execute the Require operation, which debits the funds and then waits for the conditions to be fulfilled.  The buyer then performs a Validation operation which triggers the evaluation of User A’s conditions and removes the funds from User B’s account. Both users are then able to execute a Credit operation to deposit the corresponding funds into their accounts.

Nexus Newsletter February 2019

Nexus Newsletter February 2019

January was an extremely busy month, culminating in the release of the open source code for Tritium. An additional 58,627 lines of code have been written since the end of last October. Meanwhile, the UK and Australian Embassies have continued to develop their outreach in their respective regions. All three Embassies have provided an update of their recent progress.

US Embassy

On the 8th of January Colin spoke at CES Las Vegas on the topic of “How blockchain is remaking the Media/Entertainment Business”.

Please watch the recording of his discussion here.

On the 31st of January, the team released the source code for Tritium. Colin published the next update of the TAO series explaining what the code contains and what you are currently able to do with it.

Please read the TAO update #3  here.

Tritium Daemon update

We have been hard at work preparing the Tritium Daemon ready for full release out of public beta testing. Our current data shows incredible optimizations with memory usage at 90 MB, syncing from scratch on Linux at just over 1.25 hours, and syncing on a Mac laptop at 3.5 hours from genesis. This is a drastic improvement from the current legacy synchronization which requires 30 hours or more.

Interface update

The source code and public beta of the Tritium 0.8.7 Interface has been released which still contains legacy cores. The devs are busy making a branch called ‘TritiumCores` which will contain the WIP for tritium cores.

You can view the progress of on github here.

We are getting ready to integrate the interface with a Tritium daemon for all the features Tritium beta has to offer: fast synchronization, instant loading, wallet stability and minimum hardware requirements.

Please download the 0.8.7 version here.

APIs update

The API, as it stand contains three main interfaces, namely Account, LISP, and Supply Chain. Each of these are tailored for industry specific applications, such as supply chain management, account verification and integration services for existing systems. As the API deployment continues, we will keep you up to date with new APIs that are ready for operation. Over the forthcoming weeks, we will continue to add more API calls and validation scripts as we get the testnet ready for deployment. If you would like to contribute to development, please make sure to submit pull requests and begin discussions on github.

The Three Pillars

The technology of Nexus is a cornerstone to the development of the community and business adoption. We believe technology, community and enterprise form the three pillars of Nexus, and thus we are happy to see the technology advancing steadily, making strides that have become important for adoption and ease of use.

 “Community is the foundation to the growth of Nexus, and the technology and adoption is what supports this.”

 Community Contributions

 We would like to give a special thank you to Shea for writing a simplified version of the last TAO update.

 Please read the simplified TAO update #3 here.

 UK Embassy

Events

Through our membership with TechUK we have attended/are due to attend a variety of events throughout February:

– Australian-UK Fintech Reception at the Australian High Commission

– TechUK Digital ID Paper launch in Houses of Parliament

– IoT Secure by Design

– Future of Payments in the UK

– DLT Working Group

The DLT working group is of a particular interest, as we have co-written a UK Blockchain White Paper with TechUK and other influential members, due to be published later this year. This paper will be distributed to the 900 businesses who are TechUK members, and will be presented to the UK government with the aim to help encourage blockchain adoption throughout the UK.

PR

Through the efforts of our UK PR agency Nexus was mentioned in the Independent, the Financial Times (both national news outlets) and Yahoo Finance (International) in December of 2018. To be mentioned in such news sources improves our credibility within the digital currency space.

Financial Times (FT)

Independent

Yahoo Finance

Exchange listing

BC Bitcoin, a bespoke UK based Cryptocurrency brokerage, listed NXS. NXS can now be traded with GBP, EUR and USD.

BC Bitcoin website

BC Bitcoin discuss Nexus

As always, we continue to take a number of business development related meetings.

AUS Embassy

Since its launch in late November, the Australian Embassy has been working hard to set the foundations for a busy 2019. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were engaged to assist in the establishment of the business entities and advise on the correct tax framework. They found that the tax treatment of the Ambassador keys did not fit within any of the current Australian Taxation Office (ATO) tax guidelines relating to cryptocurrencies, so this process continues. On the back of these discussions, Paul has been invited to join the Australian Chamber of Digital Commerce (ADCA) Tax Working Group, which directly advises the ATO on tax legislation.

The Embassy has been actively looking for a marketing and PR agency within the Australian and Asia-Pacific regions and several candidates have been found. Most recently we met with the Chief Editor of the new Blockchain Australia magazine, which circulates in the Australian Financial Review. These agencies will expose Nexus to industry leaders and key decision makers through specific publications and articles.

The Embassy has been attending the monthly ‘Crypto Sydney – Intelligence Traded’ networking events developing some great contacts.

If you would like to join the guys in Sydney you can sign up to the event here.

We are planning to have a presence at the ADC Global Blockchain Summit in Adelaide this March, as well as the APAC Blockchain Conference in Sydney in June, the largest blockchain event in the Asia Pacific region, to meet with high profile businesses and explore potential use cases for Nexus.

Respective details can be found here:

https://adcforum.org/the-adc-global-blockchain-summit/

https://apacblockchain.com.au/

Paul joined the development team in November and has hit the ground running, working alongside the other developers around the globe to complete the Tritium core. The recent downturn in NXS price has curtailed our plans to expand the development team within the Australian Embassy, but we are confident to get our plans back on track later in the year. Nicco and Mike continue to work as volunteer directors.

We would like to give a big thank you to all the dev team for their hard work and our community for their continued support, and look forward to all your feedback from the forthcoming testing of Tritium.

Upcoming Events

Prague Workshop

Dino and Colin will be at the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) in Prague in the last week of March. We will be organising a workshop on the afternoon of the 29th and the 30th. We will confirm the location of the venue at a later date on social media. We hope to meet many of you there.

 

Cheers,

Nexus