This series of posts is called the Tech Tuesday Updates. Along with Five Bullet Fridays weekly newsletter, Tech Tuesday Updates will be another weekly piece of content to look forward to.
In case you’ve missed a previous edition and want to catch up, you can find all the previous Tech Tuesday updates here.
Flexibility in a Blockchain Platform
Blockchains that today may not be susceptible to a 51% attack may become so in the future as hardware in the form of ASICs is developed and as miner interest decreases. The changing dynamics of software, fintech and cryptocurrency value all play a part.
Komodo Platform itself made changes in the wake of these hardware developments. The aim was not to become ASIC resistant but to embrace more efficient, less centralized mining options. Less centralized? There are two major GPU manufacturers vs at least half a dozen ASIC manufacturers.
This change demonstrates the flexibility that is at the core of Komodo Platform and highlighted in the next segment of a decentralized streaming solution. The development team chose to use it’s agility, expertise and foresight to maintain a secure solution to 51% attacks as ASIC manufacturers made their new products. Two areas of changes were the free-for-all mining period was abandoned every 2000 blocks and in its place, public miners were offered a higher number of mined blocks. Currently 25% of blocks are “GPU Mined” or mined through pools. This has two outcomes: more external miners available within the ecosystem and more reliable block times.
Blockchain Scalability Leads to Decentralized Streaming Research and Flexibility For New Blockchain Projects
The live streaming 51% attack was cut short by the streaming provider. Not one time - twice! How can an attacker have such bad luck? Komodo has embraced this opportunity to offer solutions to this shutdown despite what seemingly is an adversary. Ethical hacking, we admire - it is how everyone benefits from improved security and software. The fact that being an ethical hacker can sometimes be a difficult gig is one reason to build censorship resistant ethical hacking tools.
On the Monday following this weekend’s showcase attack, the STAKED testing team began working with James on utilising Komodo’s scalability and flexibility features.
On one hand, Komodo possesses a transaction blasting API which is used internally for testing the innovative industry leading blockchain scalability capabilities.
On the other hand, as previously demonstrated, flexibility in the architecture of the platform allows us to explore solutions by adjusting to rapid blocktimes and the ability to enable new features that a project may want to deploy.
The new features for independent blockchain streaming projects might include automatic creation of blockchains for events and the ability to configure a blockchain to be organised by a single user. One may question this decision, however in the use case of streaming, only one user is required to assemble the blocks - similarly to how one user needs to sign their own transaction.
Given today is Tech Tuesday and our attacking adversary was shutdown on Saturday evening, that doesn’t leave many hours between to developed a proof of concept and to have tested sending 468MB of data in approximately 27 minutes on a single stream. In streaming terms, this is at least one decentralized stream of standard definition video with audio.
What are the uses for decentralized streaming? Tuition, 3d imaging (multiple streams) for tele-medicine, (secure) remote support, screen sharing collaboration.
Why decentralized streaming? No need for a trusted third party. No eavesdropping. More benefits we will cover in upcoming Tech Tuesdays.
Komodo’s blockchain platform and team have continued to show their commitment to lowering the barrier to blockchain adoption in an open and collaborative environment.
Public 51% Attack Alert System
The interest shown in solving 51% attacks has also provided the project to enter a new phase of exploring alert systems. Existing 3rd party projects that are protected by dPoW benefit from having a network of geographically dispersed technology professionals looking after the Notary Network which includes running full nodes for their dPoW protected projects. This increases decentralization and makes it another degree harder for a blockchain to suffer financial losses.
This experience has led a small group of Notary Node operators to begin looking at alert systems. These systems are already in use internally and are looking to extend their reach for providing public blockchain alert systems.
Python Blockchain Library Development
In previous Tech Tuesday’s we’ve mentioned some internal dApps for testing. One has become quite popular even though it is text based. Our friendly tester TonyL has a Custom Consensus framework TUI (Text User Interface) written in python. An elegant and easy to learn language, the tool is entering a new phase of development by being able to connect to remote systems too!
Although not a recommended production method of interacting with a node, it does allow our engineering team to be more productive (and flexible) in their approach to blockchain problem solving.
Enabling network communication to a remote server does not necessarily mean it’s a public facing interface - it could easily be a blockchain docker container. Or a small network of blockchain nodes on a local machine.
Interested in GUI dApps development? Discord's #cc_gui channel will be where most of the work will take place in the coming weeks.
Thank you Komodo (& ecosystem) developers, what an exciting week!
Join us as we continue to develop and lead the blockchain industry into the future.