Skip to content

Original RaiBlocks/Nano Whitepaper

Last updated: November 2017

Info

This original whitepaper contains details about the protocol which are no longer accurate, such as voting only being performed on blocks for which forks were detected, but is being left intact for historical reference purposes.

Introduction

Since the implementation of Bitcoin in 2009, there has been a growing shift away from traditional, government-backed currencies and financial systems towards modern payments systems based on cryptography, which offer the ability to store and transfer funds in a trustless and secure manner 1. In order to function effectively, a currency must be easily transferable, non-reversible, and have limited or no fees. The increased transaction times, large fees, and questionable network scalability have raised questions about the practicality of Bitcoin as an everyday currency.

In this paper, we introduce RaiBlocks, a low-latency cryptocurrency built on an innovative block-lattice data structure offering unlimited scalability and no transaction fees. RaiBlocks by design is a simple protocol with the sole purpose of being a high-performance cryptocurrency. The RaiBlocks protocol can run on low-power hardware, allowing it to be a practical, decentralized cryptocurrency for everyday use.

Cryptocurrency statistics reported in this paper are accurate as of publication date.

Background

In 2008, an anonymous individual under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto published a whitepaper outlining the world's first decentralized cryptocurrency, Bitcoin 1. A key innovation brought about by Bitcoin was the blockchain, a public, immutable and decentralized data-structure which is used as a ledger for the currency's transactions. Unfortunately, as Bitcoin matured, several issues in the protocol made Bitcoin prohibitive for many applications:

  1. Poor scalability: Each block in the blockchain can store a limited amount of data, which means the system can only process so many transactions per second, making spots in a block a commodity. Currently the median transaction fee is $10.38 2.

  2. High latency: The average confirmation time is 164 minutes 3.

  3. Power inefficient: The Bitcoin network consumes an estimated 27.28TWh per year, using on average 260KWh per transaction 4.

Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, function by achieving consensus on their global ledgers in order to verify legitimate transactions while resisting malicious actors. Bitcoin achieves consensus via an economic measure called Proof of Work (PoW). In a PoW system participants compete to compute a number, called a nonce, such that the hash of the entire block is in a target range. This valid range is inversely proportional to the cumulative computation power of the entire Bitcoin network in order to maintain a consistent average time taken to find a valid nonce. The finder of a valid nonce is then allowed to add the block to the blockchain; therefore, those who exhaust more computational resources to compute a nonce play a greater role in the state of the blockchain. PoW provides resistance against a Sybil attack, where an entity behaves as multiple entities to gain additional power in a decentralized system, and also greatly reduces race conditions that inherently exist while accessing a global data-structure.

An alternative consensus protocol, Proof of Stake (PoS), was first introduced by Peercoin in 2012 5. In a PoS system, participants vote with a weight equivalent to the amount of wealth they possess in a given cryptocurrency. With this arrangement, those who have a greater financial investment are given more power and are inherently incentivized to maintain the honesty of the system or risk losing their investment. PoS does away with the wasteful computation power competition, only requiring light-weight software running on low power hardware.

The original RaiBlocks paper and first beta implementation were published in December, 2014, making it one of the first Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) based cryptocurrencies 6. Soon after, other DAG cryptocurrencies began to develop, most notably DagCoin/Byteball and IOTA 78. These DAG-based cryptocurrencies broke the blockchain mold, improving system performance and security. Byteball achieves consensus by relying on a "main-chain" comprised of honest, reputable and user-trusted "witnesses", while IOTA achieves consensus via the cumulative PoW of stacked transactions. RaiBlocks achieves consensus via a balance-weighted vote on conflicting transactions. This consensus system provides quicker, more deterministic transactions while still maintaining a strong, decentralized system. RaiBlocks continues this development and has positioned itself as one of the highest performing cryptocurrencies.

RaiBlocks Components

Before describing the overall RaiBlocks architecture, we define the individual components that make up the system.

Account

An account is the public-key portion of a digital signature key-pair. The public-key, also referred to as the address, is shared with other network participants while the private-key is kept secret. A digitally signed packet of data ensures that the contents were approved by the private-key holder. One user may control many accounts, but only one public address may exist per account.

Block/Transaction

The term "block" and "transaction" are often used interchangeably, where a block contains a single transaction. Transaction specifically refers to the action while block refers to the digital encoding of the transaction. Transactions are signed by the private-key belonging to the account on which the transaction is performed.

Ledger

The ledger is the global set of accounts where each account has its own transaction chain. This is a key design component that falls under the category of replacing a run-time agreement with a design-time agreement; everyone agrees via signature checking that only an account owner can modify their own chain. This converts a seemingly shared data-structure, a distributed ledger, in to a set of non-shared ones.

graph TB subgraph Account C A["Block <i>N<sub>C</sub></i>"]-->B["Block <i>N<sub>C</sub></i> - 1"] B-->C["..."] C-->D["Block 1"] D-->E["Block 0"] end subgraph Account B F["Block <i>N<sub>B</sub></i>"]-->G["Block <i>N<sub>B</sub></i> - 1"] G-->H["..."] H-->I["Block 1"] I-->J["Block 0"] end subgraph Account A K["Block <i>N<sub>A</sub></i>"]-->L["Block <i>N<sub>A</sub></i> - 1"] L-->M["..."] M-->N["Block 1"] N-->O["Block 0"] end

Node

A node is a piece of software running on a computer that conforms to the RaiBlocks protocol and participates in the RaiBlocks network. The software manages the ledger and any accounts the node may control, if any. A node may either store the entire ledger or a pruned history containing only the last few block of each account's blockchain. When setting up a new node it is recommended to verify the entire history and prune locally.

System Overview

Unlike blockchains used in many other cryptocurrencies, RaiBlocks uses a block-lattice structure. Each account has its own blockchain (account-chain) equivalent to the account's transaction/balance history Each account-chain can only be updated by the account's owner; this allows each account-chain to be updated immediately and asynchronously to the rest of the block-lattice, resulting in quick transactions. RaiBlocks' protocol is extremely light-weight; each transaction fits within the required minimum UDP packet size for being transmitted over the internet. Hardware requirements for nodes are also minimal, since nodes only have to record and rebroadcast blocks for most transactions.

graph BT subgraph Account C idc4[Receive]-->idc5(("...")) idc3[Receive]---idc4 idc2[Receive]---idc3 idc1[Send]---idc2 end subgraph Account B idb4[Send]-->idb5(("...")) idb3[Send]---idb4 idb2["&nbsp;"]---idb3 idb1[Send]---idb2 end subgraph Account A ida4[Receive]-->ida5(("...")) ida3[Receive]---ida4 ida2[Send]---ida3 ida1["&nbsp;"]---ida2 end idb1-.->idc4 ida2-.->idc3 idb3-.->ida4 idc1-.->ida3

The system is initiated with a genesis account containing the genesis balance. The genesis balance is a fixed quantity and can never be increased. The genesis balance is divided and sent to other accounts via send transactions registered on the genesis account-chain. The sum of the balances of all accounts will never exceed the initial genesis balance which gives the system an upper bound on quantity and no ability to increase it.

This section will walk through how different types of transactions are constructed and propagated throughout the network.

Transactions

Transaction Flow

graph LR; Receive-->Repeat; Repeat-->Observe; Observe-->Quorum; Quorum-->Confirm;

(a) When no conflict is detected, no further overhead is required.

graph LR; Receive-->Repeat; Repeat-->Observe; Observe-->Conflict; Conflict-->Vote; Vote-->Confirm;

(b) In the event of a conflicting transaction, nodes vote for the valid transaction.

Transferring funds from one account to another requires two transactions: a send deducting the amount from the sender's balance and a receive adding the amount to the receiving account's balance.

Transferring amounts as separate transactions in the sender's and receiver's accounts serves a few important purposes:

  1. Sequencing incoming transfers that are inherently asynchronous.

  2. Keeping transactions small to fit in UDP packets.

  3. Facilitating ledger pruning by minimizing the data footprint.

  4. Isolating settled transactions from unsettled ones.

More than one account transferring to the same destination account is an asynchronous operation; network latency and the sending accounts not necessarily being in communication with each other means there is no universally agreeable way to know which transaction happened first. Since addition is associative, the order the inputs are sequenced does not matter, and hence we simply need a global agreement. This is a key design component that converts a run-time agreement in to a design-time agreement. The receiving account has control over deciding which transfer arrived first and is expressed by the signed order of the incoming blocks.

If an account wants to make a large transfer that was received as a set of many small transfers, we want to represent this in a way that fits within a UDP packet. When a receiving account sequences input transfers, it keeps a running total of its account balance so that at any time it has the ability to transfer any amount with a fixed size transaction. This differs from the input/output transaction model used by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Some nodes are uninterested in expending resources to store an account's full transaction history; they are only interested in each account's current balance. When an account makes a transaction, it encodes its accumulated balance and these nodes only need to keep track of the latest block, which allows them to discard historical data while maintaining correctness.

Even with a focus on design-time agreements, there is a delay window when validating transactions due to identifying and handling bad actors in the network. Since agreements in RaiBlocks are reached quickly, on the order of milliseconds to seconds, we can present the user with two familiar categories of incoming transactions: settled and unsettled. Settled transactions are transactions where an account has generated receive blocks. Unsettled transactions have not yet been incorporated in to the receiver's cumulative balance. This is a replacement for the more complex and unfamiliar confirmations metric in other cryptocurrencies.

Creating an Account

To create an account, you need to issue an open transaction. An open transaction is always the first transaction of every account-chain and can be created upon the first receipt of funds. The account field stores the public-key (address) derived from the private-key that is used for signing. The source field contains the hash of the transaction that sent the funds. On account creation, a representative must be chosen to vote on your behalf; this can be changed later. The account can declare itself as its own representative.

open {
   account: DC04354B1...AE8FA2661B2,
   source: DC1E2B3F7C...182A0E26B4A,
   representative: xrb_1anr...posrs,
   work: 0000000000000000,
   type: open,
   signature: 83B0...006433265C7B204
}

Account Balance

The account balance is recorded within the ledger itself. Rather than recording the amount of a transaction, verification requires checking the difference between the balance at the send block and the balance of the preceding block. The receiving account may then increment the previous balance as measured into the final balance given in the new receive block. This is done to improve processing speed when downloading high volumes of blocks. When requesting account history, amounts are already given.

Sending From an Account

To send from an address, the address must already have an existing open block, and therefore a balance. The previous field contains the hash of the previous block in the account-chain. The destination field contains the account for funds to be sent to. A send block is immutable once confirmed. Once broadcasted to the network, funds are immediately deducted from the balance of the sender's account and wait as pending until the receiving party signs a block to accept these funds. Pending funds should not be considered awaiting confirmation, as they are as good as spent from the sender's account and the sender cannot revoke the transaction.

send {
   previous: 1967EA355...F2F3E5BF801,
   balance: 010a8044a0...1d49289d88c,
   destination: xrb_3w...m37goeuufdp,
   work: 0000000000000000,
   type: send,
   signature: 83B0...006433265C7B204
}

Receiving a Transaction

To complete a transaction, the recipient of sent funds must create a receive block on their own account-chain. The source field references the hash of the associated send transaction. Once this block is created and broadcasted, the account's balance is updated and the funds have officially moved into their account.

receive {
   previous: DC04354B1...AE8FA2661B2,
   source: DC1E2B3F7C6...182A0E26B4A,
   work: 0000000000000000,
   type: receive,
   signature: 83B0...006433265C7B204
}

Assigning a Representative

Account holders having the ability to choose a representative to vote on their behalf is a powerful decentralization tool that has no strong analog in Proof of Work or Proof of Stake protocols. In conventional PoS systems, the account owner's node must be running to participate in voting. Continuously running a node is impractical for many users; giving a representative the power to vote on an account's behalf relaxes this requirement. Account holders have the ability to reassign consensus to any account at any time. A change transaction changes the representative of an account by subtracting the vote weight from the old representative and adding the weight to the new representative. No funds are moved in this transaction, and the representative does not have spending power of the account's funds.

change {
   previous: DC04354B1...AE8FA2661B2,
   representative: xrb_1anrz...posrs,
   work: 0000000000000000,
   type: change,
   signature: 83B0...006433265C7B204
}

Forks and Voting

A fork occurs when j signed blocks b_1, b_2, \dots, b_j claim the same block as their predecessor.

graph RL subgraph Account A ida3["Block <i>i</i> + 1"]---ida4["Block <i>i</i>"] ida2["Block <i>i</i> + 2"]-->ida3 ida1["Block <i>i</i> + 2"]-->ida3 end

These blocks cause a conflicting view on the status of an account and must be resolved. Only the account's owner has the ability to sign blocks into their account-chain, so a fork must be the result of poor programming or malicious intent (double-spend) by the account's owner.

Upon detection, a representative will create a vote referencing the block \hat{b}_i in its ledger and broadcast it to the network. The weight of a node's vote, w_i, is the sum of the balances of all accounts that have named it as its representative. The node will observe incoming votes from the other M online representatives and keep a cumulative tally for 4 voting periods, 1 minute total, and confirm the winning block.

\begin{aligned} v(b_j) &= \sum_{i=1}^M w_i{1}_{\hat{b}_i=b_j} \label{eq:weighted_vote} \\ b^* &= \mathop{\mathrm{arg\,max}}_{b_j} v(b_j) \label{eq:most_votes}\end{aligned}

The most popular block b^* will have the majority of the votes and will be retained in the node's ledger. The block(s) that lose the vote are discarded. If a representative replaces a block in its ledger, it will create a new vote with a higher sequence number and broadcast the new vote to the network. This is the only scenario where representatives vote.

In some circumstances, brief network connectivity issues may cause a broadcasted block to not be accepted by all peers. Any subsequent block on this account will be ignored as invalid by peers that did not see the initial broadcast. A rebroadcast of this block will be accepted by the remaining peers and subsequent blocks will be retrieved automatically. Even when a fork or missing block occurs, only the accounts referenced in the transaction are affected; the rest of the network proceeds with processing transactions for all other accounts.

Proof of Work

All four transaction types have a work field that must be correctly populated. The work field allows the transaction creator to compute a nonce such that the hash of the nonce concatenated with the previous field in receive/send/change transactions or the account field in an open transaction is below a certain threshold value. Unlike Bitcoin, the PoW in RaiBlocks is simply used as an anti-spam tool, similar to Hashcash, and can be computed on the order of seconds 9. Once a transaction is sent, the PoW for the subsequent block can be precomputed since the previous block field is known; this will make transactions appear instantaneous to an end-user so long as the time between transactions is greater than the time required to compute the PoW.

Transaction Verification

For a block to be considered valid, it must have the following attributes:

  1. The block must not already be in the ledger (duplicate transaction).

  2. Must be signed by the account's owner.

  3. The previous block is the head block of the account-chain. If it exists but is not the head, it is a fork.

  4. The account must have an open block.

  5. The computed hash meets the PoW threshold requirement.

If it is a receive block, check if the source block hash is pending, meaning it has not already been redeemed. If it is a send block, the balance must be less than the previous balance.

Attack Vectors

RaiBlocks, like all decentralized cryptocurrencies, may be attacked by malicious parties for attempted financial gain or system demise. In this section we outline a few possible attack scenarios, the consequences of such an attack, and how RaiBlock's protocol takes preventative measures.

Block Gap Synchronization

In a previous section, we discussed the scenario where a block may not be properly broadcasted, causing the network to ignore subsequent blocks. If a node observes a block that does not have the referenced previous block, it has two options:

  1. Ignore the block as it might be a malicious garbage block.

  2. Request a resync with another node.

In the case of a resync, a TCP connection must be formed with a bootstrapping node to facilitate the increased amount of traffic a resync requires. However, if the block was actually a bad block, then the resync was unnecessary and needlessly increased traffic on the network. This is a Network Amplification Attack and results in a denial-of-service.

To avoid unnecessary resyncing, nodes will wait until a certain threshold of votes have been observed for a potentially malicious block before initiating a connection to a bootstrap node to synchronize. If a block doesn't receive enough votes it can be assumed to be junk data.

Transaction Flooding

A malicious entity could send many unnecessary but valid transactions between accounts under its control in an attempt to saturate the network. With no transaction fees they are able to continue this attack indefinitely. However, the PoW required for each transaction limits the transaction rate the malicious entity could generate without significantly investing in computational resources. Even under such an attack in an attempt to inflate the ledger, nodes that are not full historical nodes are able to prune old transactions from their chain; this clamps the storage usage from this type of attack for almost all users.

Sybil Attack

An entity could create hundreds of RaiBlocks nodes on a single machine; however, since the voting system is weighted based on account balance, adding extra nodes in to the network will not gain an attacker extra votes. Therefore there is no advantage to be gained via a Sybil attack.

Penny-Spend Attack

A penny-spend attack is where an attacker spends infinitesimal quantities to a large number of accounts in order to waste the storage resources of nodes. Block publishing is rate-limited by the PoW, so this limits the creation of accounts and transactions to a certain extent. Nodes that are not full historical nodes can prune accounts below a statistical metric where the account is most likely not a valid account. Finally, RaiBlocks is tuned to use minimal permanent storage space, so space required to store one additional account is proportional to the size of an \text{open block} + \text{indexing} = 96\text{B} + 32\text{B} = 128\text{B}. This equates to 1GB being able to store 8 million penny-spend account. If nodes wanted to prune more aggressively, they can calculate a distribution based on access frequency and delegate infrequently used accounts to slower storage.

Precomputed PoW Attack

Since the owner of an account will be the only entity adding blocks to the account-chain, sequential blocks can be computed, along with their PoW, before being broadcasted to the network. Here the attacker generates a myriad of sequential blocks, each of minimal value, over an extended period of time. At a certain point, the attacker performs a Denial of Service (DoS) by flooding the network with lots of valid transactions, which other nodes will process and echo as quickly as possible. This is an advanced version of the transaction flooding described in the Transaction flooding section. Such an attack would only work briefly, but could be used in conjunction with other attacks, such as a >50% Attack to increase effectiveness. Transaction rate-limiting and other techniques are currently being investigated to mitigate attacks.

>50% Attack

The metric of consensus for RaiBlocks is a balance weighted voting system. If an attacker is able to gain over 50% of the voting strength, they can cause the network to oscillate consensus rendering the system broken. An attacker is able to lower the amount of balance they must forfeit by preventing good nodes from voting through a network DoS. RaiBlocks takes the following measures to prevent such an attack:

  1. The primary defense against this type of attack is voting-weight being tied to investment in the system. An account holder is inherently incentivized to maintain the honesty of the system to protect their investment. Attempting to flip the ledger would be destructive to the system as a whole which would destroy their investment.

  2. The cost of this attack is proportional to the market capitalization of RaiBlocks. In PoW systems, technology can be invented that gives disproportionate control compared to monetary investment and if the attack is successful, this technology could be repurposed after the attack is complete. With RaiBlocks the cost of attacking the system scales with the system itself and if an attack were to be successful the investment in the attack cannot be recovered.

  3. In order to maintain the maximum quorum of voters, the next line of defense is representative voting. Account holders who are unable to reliably participate in voting for connectivity reasons can name a representative who can vote with the weight of their balance. Maximizing the number and diversity of representatives increases network resiliency.

  4. Forks in RaiBlocks are never accidental, so nodes can make policy decisions on how to interact with forked blocks. The only time non-attacker accounts are vulnerable to block forks is if they receive a balance from an attacking account. Accounts wanting to be secure from block forks can wait a little or a lot longer before receiving from an account who generated forks or opt to never receive at all. Receivers could also generate separate accounts to use when receiving funds from dubious accounts in order to insulate other accounts.

  5. A final line of defense that has not yet been implemented is block cementing. RaiBlocks goes to great lengths to settle block forks quickly via voting. Nodes could be configured to cement blocks, which would prevent them from being rolled back after a certain period of time. The network is sufficiently secured through focusing on fast settling time to prevent ambiguous forks.

A more sophisticated version of a >50\% attack is detailed below. "Offline" is the percentage of representatives who have been named but are not online to vote. "Stake" is the amount of investment the attacker is voting with. "Active" is representatives that are online and voting according to the protocol. An attacker can offset the amount of stake they must forfeit by knocking other voters offline via a network DoS attack. If this attack can be sustained, the representatives being attacked will become unsynchronized and this is demonstrated by "Unsync." Finally, an attacker can gain a short burst in relative voting strength by switching their Denial of Service attack to a new set of representatives while the old set is re-synchronizing their ledger, this is demonstrated by "Attack."

If an attacker is able to cause Stake >Active by a combination of these circumstances, they would be able to successfully flip votes on the ledger at the expense of their stake. We can estimate how much this type of attack could cost by examining the market cap of other systems. If we estimate 33% of representatives are offline or attacked via DoS, an attacker would need to purchase 33% of the market cap in order to attack the system via voting.

Bootstrap Poisoning

The longer an attacker is able to hold an old private-key with a balance, the higher the probability that balances that existed at that time will not have participating representatives because their balances or representatives have transferred to newer accounts. This means if a node is bootstrapped to an old representation of the network where the attacker has a quorum of voting stake compared to representatives at that point in time, they would be able to oscillate voting decisions to that node. If this new user wanted to interact with anyone besides the attacking node all of their transactions would be denied since they have different head blocks. The net result is nodes can waste the time of new nodes in the network by feeding them bad information. To prevent this, nodes can be paired with an initial database of accounts and known-good block heads; this is a replacement for downloading the database all the way back to the genesis block. The closer the download is to being current, the higher the probability of accurately defending against this attack. In the end, this attack is probably no worse than feeding junk data to nodes while bootstrapping, since they wouldn't be able to transact with anyone who has a contemporary database.

Implementation

Currently the reference implementation is implemented in C++ and has been producing releases since 2014 on Github 10.

Design Features

The RaiBlocks implementation adheres to the architecture standard outlined in this paper. Additional specifications are described here.

Signing Algorithm

RaiBlocks uses a modified ED25519 elliptic curve algorithm with Blake2b hashing for all digital signatures 11. ED25519 was chosen for fast signing, fast verification, and high security.

Hashing Algorithm

Since the hashing algorithm is only used to prevent network spam, the algorithm choice is less important when compared to mining-based cryptocurrencies. Our implementation uses Blake2b as a digest algorithm against block contents 12.

Key Derivation Function

In the reference wallet, keys are encrypted by a password and the password is fed through a key derivation function to protect against ASIC cracking attempts. Presently Argon2 13 is the winner of the only public competition aimed at creating a resilient key derivation function.

Block Interval

Since each account has its own blockchain, updates can be performed asynchronous to the state of network. Therefore there are no block intervals and transactions can be published instantly.

UDP Message Protocol

Our system is designed to operate indefinitely using the minimum amount of computing resources as possible. All messages in the system were designed to be stateless and fit within a single UDP packet. This also makes it easier for lite peers with intermittent connectivity to participate in the network without reestablishing short-term TCP connections. TCP is used only for new peers when they want to bootstrap the block chains in a bulk fashion.

Nodes can be sure their transaction was received by the network by observing transaction broadcast traffic from other nodes as it should see several copies echoed back to itself.

IPv6 and Multicast

Building on top of connection-less UDP allows future implementations to use IPv6 multicast as a replacement for traditional transaction flooding and vote broadcast. This will reduce network bandwidth consumption and give more policy flexibility to nodes going forward.

Performance

At the time of this writing, 4.2 million transactions have been processed by the RaiBlocks network, yielding a blockchain size of 1.7GB. Transaction times are measured on the order of seconds. A current reference implementation operating on commodity SSDs can process over 10,000 transactions per second being primarily IO bound.

Resource Usage

This is an overview of resources used by a RaiBlocks node. Additionally, we go over ideas for reducing resource usage for specific use cases. Reduced nodes are typically called light, pruned, or simplified payment verification (SPV) nodes.

Network

The amount of network activity depends on how much the network contributes towards the health of a network.

Representative

A representative node requires maximum network resources as it observes vote traffic from other representatives and publishes its own votes.

Trustless

A trustless node is similar to a representative node but is only an observer, it doesn't contain a representative account private key and does not publish votes of its own.

Trusting

A trusting node observes vote traffic from one representative it trusts to correctly perform consensus. This cuts down on the amount of inbound vote traffic from representatives going to this node.

Light

A light node is also a trusting node that only observes traffic for accounts in which it is interested allowing minimal network usage.

Bootstrap

A bootstrap node serves up parts or all of the ledger for nodes that are bringing themselves online. This is done over a TCP connection rather than UDP since it involves a large amount of data that requires advanced flow control.

Disk Capacity

Depending on the user demands, different node configurations require different storage requirements.

Historical

A node interested in keeping a full historical record of all transactions will require the maximum amount of storage.

Current

Due to the design of keeping accumulated balances with blocks, nodes only need to keep the latest or head blocks for each account in order to participate in consensus. If a node is uninterested in keeping a full history it can opt to keep only the head blocks.

Light

A light node keeps no local ledger data and only participates in the network to observe activity on accounts in which it is interested or optionally create new transactions with private keys it holds.

CPU

Transaction Generating

A node interested in creating new transactions must produce a Proof of Work nonce in order to pass RaiBlock's throttling mechanism. Computation of various hardware is benchmarked in Appendix A.

Representative

A representative must verify signatures for blocks, votes, and also produce its own signatures to participate in consensus. The amount of CPU resources for a representative node is significantly less than transaction generating and should work with any single CPU in a contemporary computer.

Observer

An observer node doesn't generate its own votes. Since signature generation overhead is minimal, the CPU requirements are almost identical to running a representative node.

Conclusion

In this paper we presented the framework for a trustless, feeless, low-latency cryptocurrency that utilizes a novel block-lattice structure and delegated Proof of Stake voting. The network requires minimal resources, no high-power mining hardware, and can process high transaction throughput. All of this is achieved by having individual blockchains for each account, eliminating access issues and inefficiencies of a global data-structure. We identified possible attack vectors on the system and presented arguments on how RaiBlocks is resistant to these forms of attacks.


Appendix A: PoW Hardware benchmarks

As mentioned previously, the PoW in RaiBlocks is to reduce network spam. Our node implementation provides acceleration that can take advantage of OpenCL compatible GPUs. Table I below provides a real-life benchmark comparison of various hardware. Currently the PoW threshold is fixed, but an adaptive threshold may be implemented as average computing power progresses.

Table I
Hardware PoW Performance

Device Transactions Per Second
Nvidia Tesla V100 (AWS) 6.4
Nvidia Tesla P100 (Google,Cloud) 4.9
Nvidia Tesla K80 (Google,Cloud) 1.64
AMD RX 470 OC 1.59
Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB 1.25
Intel Core i7 4790K AVX2 0.33
Intel Core i7 4790K,WebAssembly (Firefox) 0.14
Google Cloud 4 vCores 0.14-0.16
ARM64 server 4 cores (Scaleway) 0.05-0.07

Acknowledgment

We would like to thank Brian Pugh and B. Cchung for compiling and formatting this paper.

References


  1. S. Nakamoto, “Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system,” 2008. [Online]. Available: http://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf 

  2. “Bitcoin median transaction fee historical chart.” [Online]. Available: https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/bitcoin-median-transaction-fee.html 

  3. “Bitcoin average confirmation time.” [Online]. Available: https://blockchain.info/charts/avg-confirmation-time 

  4. “Bitcoin energy consumption index.” [Online]. Available: https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption 

  5. S. King and S. Nadal, “Ppcoin: Peer-to-peer crypto-currency withproof-of-stake,” 2012. [Online]. Available: https://peercoin.net/assets/paper/peercoin-paper.pdf 

  6. C. LeMahieu, “Raiblocks distributed ledger network,” 2014. 

  7. Y. Ribero and D. Raissar, “Dagcoin whitepaper,” 2015. 

  8. S. Popov, “The tangle,” 2016. 

  9. A. Back, “Hashcash - a denial of service counter-measure,” 2002. [Online]. Available: http://www.hashcash.org/papers/hashcash.pdf 

  10. C. LeMahieu, “Raiblocks,” 2014. [Online]. Available: https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks 

  11. D. J. Bernstein, N. Duif, T. Lange, P. Shwabe, and B.-Y. Yang, “High-speed high-security signatures,” 2011. [Online]. Available: http://ed25519.cr.yp.to/ed25519-20110926.pdf 

  12. J.-P. Aumasson, S. Neves, Z. Wilcox-O’Hearn, and C. Winnerlein, “Blake2: Simpler, smaller, fast as md5,” 2012. [Online]. Available: https://blake2.net/blake2.pdf 

  13. A. Biryukov, D. Dinu, and D. Khovratovich, “Argon2: The memoryhard function for password hashing and other applications,” 2015. [Online]. Available: https://password-hashing.net/argon2-specs.pdf