The world wanted a more secure private and reliable way of doing that was led to the advent of blockchain. A platform that offers security, freedom from government manipulation in trade activities. Funds kept in decentralised ledgers, users hold on to private keys that give them access to wallets. It was indeed an innovation.
In a more succinct and technical form, the blockchain is a network of nodes that collaborate to validate transactions and store information. In the process of handling this information or transmitting it, a lot of things can go wrong with the node. The data that is sent can be false information or the node can be totally unavailable and ultimately leading to loss of information. The blockchain dependence on nodes (computers) is a delicate thing and these nodes proposing blocks must be kept as transparent as possible. An agreement must be reached by a majority of the community before the proposed is accepted on the chain. However, some miners can decide to create blocks, and the community will in turn agree or in this disagree on the block and the block is forgotten. This is known as
FORK on the blockchain.
Source: Shaan Ray,2017.
The consensus is one of the most discussed subfields of the blockchain. Before the users can agree on a block to be added to the chain, there must certain rules that guide the selection process and this is process uses the particular consensus algorithm. An example is the Proof-of-Work(
PoW). Here users solve complex puzzles to propose a block of data. This process is time and energy consuming and sometimes too expensive. The shortcoming of complex puzzles was overcome when Proof-of-Stake (````PoS```) came into the picture. The monies that would be sued to purchase fast computers for the PoW will be used directly and the probability of being selected will be a function of how much the person has “staked”.
Later in the article, you will see how the consensus algorithm is improved upon and the fork used by the platform Proximax.
Before the advent of the blockchain in 2009, cloud storage was developed to solve the data insecurity faced by traditional drives. The drives were not secure enough and so a secure online storage was used instead to keep sensitive data and these data was retrieved upon request by the user who uploaded it there. The cloud storage also has its shortcomings but that is not the focus of this article. However, the blockchain, as a storage mechanism that is decentralized and more secure has left little or nothing to worry about the shortcomings of the cloud storage.
Data streaming concept
YouTube and Netflix (in recent times) are some of the most reliable and efficient means of streaming videos form the web. A single click of the button and a user can watch a live match or playback a pre-recorded video. I do not really know much on the security levels of these platforms, but the blockchain saw the need to join in the streaming business. If the blockchain can store data, why not stream it?!
The Problem Now
There is a plethora of parameters used to judge how good a particular blockchain project is and they include: speed, storage, security and so on. But developers of decentralized applications still find it difficult to fully utilize due to the lack of cohesion. As a developer, creating your own solution can take a while and can be very expensive. Considering this, the developers will have to make do with the not-so-near-perfect system currently available.
BUT WHAT IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO??
In the course reading this article, you will see how the firm PROXIMAX has been able to merge the blockchain and streaming and storage services to offer developers and customers an efficient, secure and reliable means of storing and retrieving data.
What is Proximax?
Proximax is a next-gen integrated distributed ledger technology development platform powered by the blockchain technology. The blockchain world is evolving so fast and instead of focusing solely on the blockchain technology, this project is a set of tools for developers enabling them build applications and still enjoying the inherent benefits of the blockchain.
Combining the core services, unique services and an ever expanding ecosystem of this project Proximax, there is surely going to be a revolution on how data is being is handled on the blockchain.
What Proximax Offers the world
This project has a broad scope and in that light has created a set of components to help achieve the aim and in the same vein leveraging the existing blockchain. They include:
- The Chain
- The Storage
- The Streaming
- The Contract
- The Database
These components will be extensively discussed later on in the article.
Proximax SIRIUS CHAIN
Define a block of data, chain them together and you have a blockchain. The data in the blockchain can be structured under certain categories. Sirius chain capitalizes on this by providing a digital means of creating contract that is business specific.
The NEM catapult fork method will be used. Proximax takes the catapault and improves on the overall performance
Whitepaper page 18
The goals of the chain are enumerated below:
- Quick, secure and efficient way of carrying out transactions.
- Incentives to encourage participants.
- Scalable system
- Support a wide range of devices.
Chain Core Function:
Account: a special blockchain deposit box.
Namespace: A unique space for digital asset.
Mosaic: A collection of specialized assets.
Metadata: The previously mentioned functions on the chain are immutable and this can create stringent situations for customers and limit flexibility. Metadata offers a novel way to store custom data on the chain.
Multilevel Signature: Signing a block is done before it is committed to the chain. The chain creates a multi-level signing of agreement that will be essential in workflow oriented transactions.
Cross-Chain Transactions: the chain enhances communication by allowing chains to interact with each other. Whether the chains are public or private, it does not matter.
E pluribus unum. All becoming one. All the transactions can be merged into one disposable digital contract which will be signed by all parties involved. Reducing the time that would have been used to sign them individually.
Chain Consensus: The algorithms are the PoS and another called Proof-of-Greed (PoG). The former is easily scalable, there is better control over validation time on the chain, average block generation speed. However, the PoS does not promote centralization thus the need for the latter. The PoG is designed in such a way that no single node can be too greedy when accepting fees while still considering the block generation time.
The benefit to customers is that the algorithm allows them stipulate the maximum fees that they can for a transaction and the validators cannot charge above this fee. The traditional PoS looks at the amount of stake a validator and determines the probability of selecting his block proposed by him. With PoG, there is a third parameter to ensure transparency and fairness, and it is the fees. The lesser the fees requested by the validators, the higher the chance of having his block recorded on the blockchain. The fees are not static so both the validators and customers can adjust the fees.
Another benefit of the algorithm used by Sirius chain is SECURITY. Human by nature tends toward evil, men seek to control all around them and this has been seen playing on the blockchain. The term is ````Zero Free Attack```. The validator may take advantage of the “The lesser the fee, the higher the chance of block recording” to not charge at all and have a majority of its block recorded and eventually take over the network. PoG makes this difficult by ensuring that only validators who charge an average fee have a higher chance of forging the block.
Conversely, a validator whom already has a lot of stake may plot a
Large Scale Attack. PoG checkmates this by ensuring that even validators with smaller stakes stand a chance of having their blocks recorded on the chain.
Whitepaper page 28
Proximax SIRIUS STORAGE
Storage of data is one of the core features of the blockchain and Proximax is focusing on giving its users a better feel of blockchain storage services with the
sirius storage. The storage will be easily scalable and the price fair. It should be noted that the nature of services offered by the storage on Proximax is a function of the user’s payment.
GOOD THINGS CAN BE EXPENSIVE.
To ensure the smooth running of the storage services, the following nodes have been put in place:
Acceptors who provide propagation of files.
Replicators who replicate files.
Verifiers who checks and ensures that a replicator has the requested file and he is online to deliver.
Certain tools have also been put in place to fully offer users an efficient virtual storage system and they include:
- Storage Preparation: in this stage the protocol ensures that actors are invited to participate in the contract when a storage is requested. An amount of the token (XPX) is paid and the nodes provide proof that they can offer the storage services requested by the customer. This is known as the
ON/OFF Boardingprocess. The verification process is done because data is critical to the customer and the proper management of these data is one of the main focus of the Proximax project. The proof can be of two forms:
Enhanced which uses sharding process but take more time to implement.
Simple which simply involves a replicator proving the existence of the files.
Once this process is complete the drive becomes available for use.
New Replicator: when the customer’s needs an “upgrade” for his storage services for instance an increase in capacity, he can send a request and a new replicator can join the contract assuming the new replicator can verify his ability to render the requested services. With this, the customer is provided with a
FLEXIBLEmeans of increasing storage services.
Just like traditional cloud services the user can also upload files. When the file is uploaded, the acceptor stages the file and the replicator streams it to other replicators before verification. This process is to give a certain level of
ÈFFICENCY. The replicators involved must be vetoed i.e. they must have the required storage capacity and ultimately provide the best services to the customer.
Files can also be
Deleted, Modified, Synchronised upon the customer’s request. For the purpose of data
CONSISTENCY, the synchronization process is done to ensure that any modification to data(file/directory), on the storage is known to all replicators.
Improving on incentivizing nodes is one of the major focus of Proximax. The native token XPX will be used to pay for storage services. The Automatic Inner Exchange will do the conversion. Storage unit (SO) and Streaming unit (SM) are examples of the service units.
The issue of
transparency is a major criterion for any blokchain project and that is why Proximax makes sure that defaulters of the rules in the system are duly punished. The contracts on Proximax may not be legally binding but there is a punishment ascribed to any node(replicator) who has gone against the rules of the system. The stake of the replicator is forfeited and his reputation reduced. In the PoS algorithm, reputation means a lot and so the replicator will be forced to stay in check lest he loses his rep and stake.
Proximax SIRIUS STREAMING
The Sirius streaming are of two types: stored and live.
Stored Streaming: the data is pre-recorded on the storage and streamed to different servers. The goal is to stream in a more economical and fair way. Like the storage there actors in plcae to ensure the smooth operations of the streaming process. The acceptors, replicators and verifiers all perform the same functions as the storage counterpart but in relations to streaming services. The nodes can stream amongst themselves without knowing each other.
Whitepaper page 37.
Live Streaming: live data is sent for a singular sender and fanning out to multiple distribution points in an economical manner. The node actors are enumerated as follows: Discovery, Landing, Verifier, Distributor, Sender, Receiver.
REF: Whitepaper page 38.
Proximax provides real time streaming which could be 1-to-1 or 1-to-many. Participating in the streaming process will require a Proof-of-Bandwidth (PoB). This is done to ensure that the best streaming services are offered to the customers. The streaming protocol does well to avoid any transaction that will involve reward. They do this to reduce lags and delays and ultimately affect the overall performance of the streaming service.
The problem with traditional contracts is its immutability. If there is an error with the code, it is almost impossible to correct. Another problem is the amount of space occupied by the contract on the chain. The chain becomes bloated as it grows and eventually, speed performance reduces.
In the bid to solve this issue of size and speed, the
Sirius Storage (using enhanced or simple storage) contains the contract. These contracts will be based on a particular business case making it easier for customers to create contracts with respect to their specific business.
The actors on this core service will ensure that the contracts are created, replicated, delivered and executed properly. The process of the contract is on Whitepaper Page 43.
The super contract also offers developers a certain level of flexibility and reduced restriction. The contract has an inherent feature of *“No programming language barrier”. High level languages such as Python, C++, C#, GoLang, Js can be used to draft a super contract.
Proximax SIRIUS DATABASE
Proximax uses IPDB and Tendermint as its database algorithm. It is simply a database with blockchain properties i.e it is decentralised and also uses the MongoDB stack. MongoDB was chosen because it affords the Sirius database the capability to scale well and reduce latency by a substantial amount.
The database can be independent or can work in collaboration with other core services.
Proximax ECONOMICS AND MARKET
The problem with existing storage market is that any amount of node in the network can leave at any time; large storage replicators maybe unavailable; node cloning.
Proximax using their free market protocol, enforces a fair pricing amongst participants and everyone benefits as they should. The solution offered by the free storage market will do the following:
customers can decide, dynamically, how much replicators they would require for a file.
nodes cannot operate as multiple identities thus preventing node cloning.
The purpose of tokenomics is to define common
economic incentive frameworks for “work done”, tied together with a reputation system. The
incentivization scheme ensures that all participants are properly incentivized with aligned
interests and work together to reach an optimum outcome for the entire network, thereby
maximizing returns for each participant and ensuring network existence.
Whitepaper Page 11.
The ecosystem consists of the following:
- XPX: the native token used in paying for platform services.
- Service units : Units of measure for providing platform services.
- Mosaic: a custom token to power creation of DApp.
The service units include the following:
- Storage Unit (SO) : the ability to store data. 1SO = 1GB storage/month. The unit rate is $0.004.
- Streaming Unit (SM): The data motion between nodes. 1SM = 1GB streamed data. The unit rate is $0.02.
- Supercontract Unit: (SC) : For the execution of supercontract. The unit rate is $0.000005
- Review Unit: for feedback and content review. The unit rate is $0.005
SYNOPSIS AND CONCLUSION
The blockchain has some admirable features such as security, anonymity, transparency and decentralization of storage and so on. It is no wonder why it has thrived over the last decade. However, there are certain aspect of the blockchain such as storage that is still undergoing technological growth. Developers of the blockchain application have found it difficult to fully utilize the blockchain to provide solutions due to the lack of cohesion.
Proximax has looked into the problem of storage and decentralised application development and has come up with some tools that will help customers enjoy valuable services and also offer developers the opportunity to develop applications while leveraging the inherent features of the blockchain. These benefits include:
- Computer resource optimization with Proof-of-Stake.
- A quick, secure, efficient, and scalable chain with NEM Catapult.
- Effective expansion of communication capabilities with the cross-chain transactions.
- An all-in-one, one-time contract that saves a whole of time by grouping contracts into one.
- A Proof-of-Greed consensus algorithm as an extra layer of security against zero-free and large-stake attacks.
- Flexibility offered to customers to add to upgrade their already existing storage services.
- A reliable streaming service with the Proof-of-Bandwidth algorithm.
- Developers can now develop contracts without programming language restrictions.