The Road To 1 Million: Komodo's New Scalability Solution

DanielJuly 6, 2018

blockchain scaling tech

Scalability is one of the central problems facing the blockchain industry today. Most digital currencies and dApps cannot be widely adopted because their underlying blockchains are incapable of handling a large number of transactions in a short period of time. Bitcoin, for example, has 10 minute block times and a block data limit so the BTC network can’t process more than ~7 transactions per second.

Komodo has developed a new scaling solution that provides more transactions per second (tps) than any other blockchain project in existence. And it’s not even close— it’s a landslide victory.

The Komodo Development Team has innovated a solution that has already achieved more than 20,000 tps. It sustained an average of 19,500 tps for a period of 14 minutes in the first live public test on May 16, 2018. These figures have been verified.

And Komodo’s scalability tech is capable of handling much more. It’s theoretically possible to achieve 1 million tps or more with the appropriate infrastructure. Plans are underway to get the cloud computing power required to conduct a scaling test of this magnitude. Komodo is on the Road To 1 Million.

In addition, the scaling solution uses a special protocol that allows up to 100 payments per transaction. At 1 million tps, this would amount to a grand total of 100 million payments per second. At that rate, Komodo would be able to process one payment for every person on Earth in less than two minutes.

We realize these might sound like wild, unsubstantiated claims (which, regrettably, are not uncommon in the blockchain industry). However, Komodo’s tech is functional and the results are publicly verifiable. This post explains exactly how Komodo's new scaling solution works.

Notary Nodes And The Notarization Process

Komodo’s scaling solution shares a few similarities with Delayed Proof of Work (dPoW), Komodo’s innovative security mechanism. To make understanding the scaling solution easier, let’s first understand how dPoW works.

The dPoW mechanism works through a cross-chain notarization process. Komodo's publicly-elected Notary Nodes periodically save a block hash from every dPoW-protected chain onto the KMD chain. This is accomplished by executing an ordinary KMD transaction and using the OP_RETURN feature to write the block hashes onto the KMD chain. Then, roughly every ten minutes, the Notary Nodes save a block hash from the KMD blockchain onto the Bitcoin blockchain. 

At present, Komodo stores its backups on the Bitcoin blockchain, as it currently has the largest hashrate and would be the most difficult blockchain to attack. Gaining a majority of the Bitcoin network's hash rate to launch a 51% attack is practically impossible.

In order for and dPoW-protected blockchain to be altered, corrupted, or destroyed, both the Komodo network and the Bitcoin network would have to be successfully overpowered at the same time. Under present circumstances, an attack of this nature is essentially infeasible.

The technical work required to successfully complete notarization is carried out by Komodo's decentralized network of 64 notary nodes. Notary nodes are servers dedicated to fulfilling this vital role in the Komodo ecosystem. Annual elections are held to elect the notary node operators. Anyone can run in the elections so, if you’re interested and think you're qualified, learn more about how to become a notary node here.

Komodo’s Multi-Chain Syncing

Komodo’s scaling solution follows a procedure somewhat similar to to the dPoW notarization process. To put it simply, Komodo’s scaling solution works by creating many blockchains that can each process transactions simultaneously, while also syncing with one another to achieve blockchain interoperability. We call this new technology Multi-Chain Syncing.

There are a currently total of 1,024 chains that exist for the purposes of testing Komodo’s scalability solution. Each of these chains is independent and can process transactions without being slowed down by the activity on any other chain on Komodo. We call these independent chains Smart Chains. Komodo's unique multi-chain architecture makes the generation of an infinite number of blockchains possible.

It’s worth emphasizing the fact that there is no limit to the number of Smart Chains that can exist within the Komodo ecosystem. Smart Chains are created for the purposes of Komodo’ scaling solution, but they can also be created for independent projects. Check out the Antara Framework, a toolkit for end-to-end blockchain development, to learn more.

All of the Smart Chains using the Multi-Chain Syncing tech communicate with the KMD chain. This interoperability can also be extended beyond the scaling solution tech.  The synced chains can also communicate, via the KMD chain, with every other Smart Chain in the synchronized ecosystem. This allows any chain on Komodo to verify transactions that took place on any other chain in the ecosystem. Here’s how it works.

Step One

The first step in Komodo’s scaling solution is to create thousands of Merkle Trees out of all the transactions taking place on each and every chain on Komodo. Read this post about Merkle Trees if you aren't too familiar with the concept. It will make understanding Komodo’s scaling solution much easier.

Traditionally, each block in a blockchain has one (and only one) Merkle Root. That Merkle Root is the digest of all the transactions IDs for all of the transactions written onto that particular block. Like all other blockchains, this is true for each block in each of the Smart Chains in the Komodo ecosystem.

New blocks are mined roughly every 60 seconds for each Smart Chain. This means one new block, with one unique Merkle Root, is produced every minute or so, for each chain.

Then, every ten minutes, Komodo’s notary nodes create a new Merkle Tree out of all the Merkle Roots that have been generated since the previous notarization. This happens for each Smart Chain in the Komodo ecosystem utilizing the Multi-Chain Syncing feature.

Since blocks are mined roughly every 60 seconds and the notarization process occurs roughly every ten minutes, there are between 8 and 12 Merkle Roots that get organized into a new Merkle Tree. Each new Merkle Tree fingerprints these 8 to 12 Merkle Roots into a new Merkle Root. We might call these new digests the “Merkle Root of Merkle Roots” or the MoM for short.

platform synchronizations

Step Two

Next, Komodo’s notary nodes take the MoM from each Smart Chain and sync them all with the KMD chain. This is similar to the dPoW process except, rather than notarizing a snapshot of the KMD ecosystem to the BTC chain, the notary nodes are notarizing a single digest— the Merkle Root of Merkle Roots, or MoM— from every Smart Chain onto the main KMD chain.  

This doubles as a security feature for every Smart Chain in the ecosystem. Learn more about Komodo’s Blockchain Security Service here.

Step Three

Once all the MoM have been synced with the KMD chain, they are organized into yet another Merkle Tree. So all 1,024 digests are fingerprinted into one new Merkle Root— the Merkle Root of the Merkle Roots of Merkle Roots (MoMoM).

This single code is the fingerprint of every single transaction that has taken place since the previous MoMoM notarization occurred. That’s true because every transaction on each block is hashed into a Merkle Root. All of the Merkle Roots for all the new blocks are hashed into a MoM. This happens for each chain in the Komodo ecosystem. Then those MoM are sent to the KMD chain, put into a new Merkle Tree, and hashed to form the MoMoM.

Step Four

The fourth and final step in Komodo’s scaling solution process is to notarize the MoMoM back onto every Smart Chain in the ecosystem. Komodo’s notary nodes perform this operation, too.

This last step is crucial because it allows interoperability between all chains within the Komodo ecosystem. That is, transactions that occur on one blockchain can be quickly and efficiently verified on a completely separate blockchain. This increases the speed at which the ecosystem can process payments and transactions.

It bears repeating that all four steps of Komodo’s scaling solution are repeated approximately every ten minutes. This is an ongoing process that continually puts all of the chains in Komodo’s ecosystem in sync with each other.

Security And Speed

Because Merkle Trees present such an efficient method of verifying data, Komodo’s scaling solution can process more transactions per second than any other blockchain platform in existence. The Multi-Chain Syncing tech has already proven it can handle over 20,000 transactions per second.

As an AWS Advanced Technology Partner, Komodo is working with Amazon Web Services to obtain the infrastructure necessary to increase the magnitude of our scaling tests. The goal is to achieve a sustained result of 1 Million transactions per second. Komodo is on the Road To 1 Million.

Komodo’s Multi-Chain Syncing technology doesn’t just allows an enormous number of transactions per second. In essence, it creates a massive, fully-interoperable ecosystem, with a multitude of chains all simultaneously processing transactions and syncing with all the other chains in the cluster. It’s a thing of beauty.

If you’d like to learn more about Komodo, sign up for our email list and join our community on Discord to chat personally with Komodo team members. Join us as we continue to accelerate the global adoption of blockchain technology.