Financial Decentralization and Nodes
The publication of the Bitcoin white paper brought to light a tangible manner in which authentic storage and exchange of value could securely 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 reward incentives. Despite these achievements, Bitcoin 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 growth and advancement of telecommunications in recent decades have relied on significant infrastructural optimizations, particularly the distribution of relays through nodes that grant high-speed connection while preventing network delays. Real-time connectivity is achieved through the dynamic network topology that occurs between machinery.
The Need for Relay Networks
Since blockchains are fundamentally distributed networks, relay systems are a natural fit- they enhance networking speed and overall efficiency which will assist in bringing decentralized, peer-to-peer networking to the mainstream.
To successfully tap into the potential of blockchain technology, distribution of accountability is required. Previously established conduits for exchanges of value must be reconstructed to ensure comparable security for prospective 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 blockchain networks and cryptocurrencies have been invented and touted as solutions for various use cases. Ethereum is an exciting innovation that has transformed the way users interface with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. The Ethereum virtual machine hosts decentralized applications across its distributed network of computers. Transactions require “gas” payment which is disbursed as mining rewards. Smart contracts are customizable programs capable of replacing third-party intermediation for verification processes.
Ethereum is game-changing for decentralization but along with other dApp platforms and blockchains in general, 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.
A robust infrastructure of relay services is integral for bridging the gap between consumer groups and the mysticizing immutable tech that is blockchain- in ways that alleviate the burdens on dApp developers and node operators themselves. Keep an eye out for more posts that discuss potential frameworks for facilitating these relay processes.