Blockchain technology is still in a nascent stage. Despite the vast number of talented developers that are advancing existing protocols and developing new ones, a key hurdle is yet to be tackled: the blockchain trilemma.
The blockchain trilemma is the limitation of existing protocols to successfully deliver only two of the three important aspects—decentralized, scalable, and secure—that a blockchain must have to achieve mass adoption. Presently, major blockchains require the transaction approval of all nodes; this leads to a network that is decentralized and secure, but not scalable. Meanwhile, networks that delegate nodes may be scalable and secure, but they aren’t decentralized. Lastly, if a network allows nodes to approve transactions without general consensus, it’d be decentralized and scalable, but not secure.
The challenge at hand is the creation of a blockchain that can uphold the principle of decentralization and security without sacrificing scalability. Throughout 2018, a number of blockchains attempted to solve the blockchain trilemma. The more well-known of these were Zilliqa, Credits, Cardano, QuarkChain, Harmony, and Multivac. Even Ethereum’s founder, Vitalik, has been exploring a means to make the blockchain more scalable while retaining Ethereum’s decentralized and secure state. While theoretical solutions have been delivered by many, Elrond Network is the first one to tangibly resolve the blockchain trilemma on a live network.
Determined to Keep Trying
Elrond Network’s founders have taken a different approach to the development of a blockchain that overcomes the Trilemma. Their founder was involved in the creation of NEM, managed a fund, and launched the first mass successful ICO review website late 2016. The founding team had great exposure to many of the cutting-edge developments in the blockchain space, but they were able to recognize that the Trilemma remained unresolved.
Thus, in October 2017, project Elrond Network was launched with the aim of delivering a blockchain that can be run from an average household laptop. This ambitious goal would lead to the most adoption-friendly decentralized network to date. Elrond Network’s founders began to explore a means to retain the decentralized nature of a true blockchain without sacrificing security and scalability.
Adaptive State Sharding
The core infrastructure of Elrond Network leverages Adaptive State Sharding. Many blockchains have attempted to leverage various forms of sharding to deliver a scalable network, but Adaptive State Sharding has been avoided by most due to its complexity. As Elrond Network was being funded by the founders’ capital, the development had the freedom of exploring uncharted territories as no third-party capital was at risk nor did the development team had to worry about the demands of external entities. Thus, the development took a true course of the scientific method: a hypothesis followed up with experimentation, and adjustment of the hypothesis upon failure. With trial and error, and more trial and error, the development began to see improvements in increments, but the increments added up.
The development eventually led to the utilization of a novel consensus mechanism called Secure Proof of Stake (SPoS), which randomly select a node validator but requires the proposed block to collect 2/3 + 1 signatures from the consensus group. Meanwhile, Adaptive State Sharding ensures all network resources can play a role in throughput, and given that Elrond Network can allow even a standard household PC to become an active node, the network is able to take advantage of even the most minimal scale of resources. Collectively, the SPoS consensus mechanism, Adaptive State Sharding, and Elrond Network’s mass market-friendliness enable a platform that is presently handling 3,750 TPS per shard; as there can be an infinite number of shards per network, the platform scales linearly and thus becomes faster as adoption grows.
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