Financial Decentralization and Nodes
The publication of the Bitcoin white paper brought to light a secure method in which storage and exchange of value could take place without the need for third-party intermediaries, namely government-backed central banks.
Bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus protocol has successfully solved the problem of double spend while ensuring network liveness with mining rewards. Bitcoin still possesses some notable shortcomings when compared to traditional banking. For one, blocks can take quite some time to be verified on the network.
Slow transactional speed has hindered widespread adoption of Bitcoin as a means for everyday financial usage.
The wild growth of telecommunications in recent decades has relied on significant infrastructural optimizations. The distribution of relays through nodes has granted high-speed connection for networks. This real-time connectivity is realized through the dynamic network topology of the nodes between machinery.
The Need for Relay Networks
Since blockchains are fundamentally distributed networks, relay systems are a natural fit. Enhanced speed will help bring peer-to-peer networking to the mainstream.
To successfully tap into the potential of blockchain technology, distribution of accountability is required. Previously centralized conduits for exchanges of value must be reconstructed to ensure comparable security for participants.
Current Bitcoin Relay Solutions
Researchers at Cornell University have brought forward Falcon network that utilizes an alternative packet sharing scheme to speed up data transmission between Bitcoin nodes.
Another intriguing project called FIBRE (Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine) aims to optimize the block propagation process through high-speed, latency compensation, and data compression based on Compact Block advancements of Bitcoin. As opposed to centralized relay solutions, FIBRE maintains decentralization since it is simple for anyone who is already running a Bitcoin Core instance to set up and run.
Decentralized Applications: More than just for funds
Since the launch of Bitcoin nearly a decade ago, new blockchains have been touted as solutions for various use cases. Ethereum is an exciting innovation that has transformed the way users interface with applications across its distributed network of computers. Smart contracts are customizable programs capable of replacing third-party intermediation for verification processes. Ethereum transactions require “Gas” payment which is disbursed as mining rewards.
Ethereum is game-changing for decentralization but has yet to find mainstream usability due to infrastructural drawbacks. This includes block propagation and extends to data access through nodes, which is currently underdeveloped, and mainly centralized.
Soundly engineered infrastructure for relay services is integral for bridging the gap between consumers and blockchains. Infrastructure must alleviate unnecessary burdens on dApp developers, and node operators themselves. Keep an eye out for more posts that discuss potential frameworks for facilitating these relay processes.