ASU plugs into the future of blockchain

If you have your finger on the pulse of tech news, you may be familiar with the term blockchain. It sounds interesting, but unless you work in or with the technology  you may have a general level of confusion about what it is..

One organization that’s figured out what it is and how to navigate it moving forward is the Arizona State University Blockchain Research Lab, whose new research shines a light on the technology. With the help of Dash, a top digital currency for payments and e-commerce, the lab puts the spotlight on how to scale this emerging technology.

What is Blockchain?

In simple terms, a blockchain is an append-only (meaning you can only add data and not alter or delete it) transaction ledger.  This means new information can be written onto a ledger, but the information previously transferred, stored in blocks, cannot be updated. This happens by using cryptography to tie the contents of the newly added block with each block prior to it.

For a time, bitcoin, a virtual currency, was the only blockchain, but the tech has since grown, opening up more business, technological and economic opportunities for innovators and venture capitalists (VC’s). But it’s also posed questions about its scalability.

Enter ASU and Dash and the report they filed together. The paper, “Block Propagation Applied to Nakamoto Networks,” talks about the results of different scaling scenario-based simulations or opportunities for blockchain training for the Dash network. It also takes a look at potential insights into the challenges that come with scalability and proof-of-work (a piece of data which is costly or time-consuming to produce) blockchains.

What Did They Find?

ASU and Dash are working together to advance blockchain technology and its reach in everything from business to finance, economics to computer science. The collaboration alone between the two entities cost a hefty $350,000 with the goal of pointing to major issues that the cryptocurrency network faces.

All of our current economies are based heavily on trust with third parties. There are large entities that control massive amounts of user data, sensitive material, and valuable digital assets,” says Dragan Boscovic, a research professor in computer science at Arizona State. “Currently, blockchains are very cool but they are inefficient and slow. The research paper uncovered some scalability solutions that allow for Dash to scale towards the transactional capacity of something like Paypal.”

Boscovic and researchers Nakul Chawla and Darren Tapp simulated various sizes of blockchain for scaling scenarios, essentially testing out the dexterity of it. Three types of blockchain were stretched including traditional full block, compact block and extreme thin block. The team looked at variance among the different types, looking for ways to scale more efficiently.

“The simulations were complex, but they were testing ways to make it such that Dash can accommodate more transactions per second,” says Boscovic. “The research results found that Dash can scale to 120 transactions per second, which is about half of what PayPal currently handles.”

Boscovic and team also highlighted that blockchain, while on the rise and becoming more refined, still has a long way to go.

“Blockchain isn’t the solution for everything, but in industries that are plagued with data mismanagement, trust issues, and ownership it can solve some of those pressing issues.”

Nick Esquer

Add comment

Subscribe to the Dry Heat

Get updates on the most important news delivered right to your email. Fully personalized options. No SPAM. Unsubscribe anytime.

Sign Me Up!

Let’s Get Social

Chamber Business News wants to connect with you. Follow us, tweet, share, post, comment... however you get social is the perfect way to connect.