Reticulum, a standalone blockchain, is a next generation smart contract platform. It’s built upon an improved Ethereum codebase that solves the scaling problem with immediacy. We currently have a working TestNet showing in excess of 1300 transactions per second ongoing with stability and has been running as high as 2400 transactions per second.
Scalability, Decentralization & Security
Right now Ethereum can only process 13 transactions per second and as such their network is at capacity, yet it’s the industry standard. There are other players coming into the space trying to build new blockchains to solve this scalability issue but that won’t solve the Ethereum scaling problem. Next, many of these new blockchain solutions are 12-24 months out. Over 90% of the smart contracts are Ethereum based and they need an immediate solution. And, that’s where Reticulum comes in.
We will not only solve the Ethereum scaling problem with immediacy, but anyone currently using Ethereum will be able to seamlessly transfer to our network without making any code changes to get:
10x more decentralization
100x increase in speed
1000x improvement in energy consumption
Smarter, Lighter, Faster.
Speed and Volume. Public, decentralized cryptocurrencies suffer from slow transactions and low transaction volume. Bitcoin can only process 7 transactions per second, Ethereum can only process 13 per second. Additionally, the time to verify transactions can range from several minutes to several hours depending on current volume.
In contrast, Visa, Inc. averages 150 million transactions every day and is capable of handling more than 56,000 transactions per second. Public cryptocurrencies are too slow for real world processing by 4 orders of magnitude.
The process of mining blocks uses an enormous amount of energy because of a consensus algorithm called Proof-of-Work (PoW). PoW requires non-trivial computational work by mining nodes which, in turn, makes it cost prohibitive for a bad actor to perform malicious acts. This computational workload requires energy.
Proof Of Reputation
Reticulum uses a Proof of Reputation (PoR) consensus model that depends on the reputation of its participants to keep the network secure. A participant must have a reputation that is important enough that they would face dire consequences if they were to cheat the system–in both financial terms and branding.
Most businesses would face serious consequences if they were caught cheating a financial network. Larger companies with more to lose will be chosen over smaller companies with less to lose.
Once a company proves reputation, they may be voted into the network as an authoritative node and at this point, it operates just like a Proof of Authority network (PoA). Only authoritative nodes can sign and validate blocks.
Performance and Optimization
Speed and Volume of Transactions. By using trusted nodes, transactions can be verified very quickly and the volume of transactions the network can handle increases by orders of magnitude. Similar to systems we use everyday that can handle high volumes, like a Google search or Visa payments, those systems can handle high load only because they trust the servers and the network they are running on.
Other factors such as block size and gas limits are artificially low because of the computation power required by PoW. By trusting the consensus nodes we can increase the volume of the network by 100x more than Ethereum can currently handle. Trusted consensus is used outside
cryptocurrencies in systems such as etcd which can reach 141,578 transaction per second on a 3-node cluster using modest hardware. Improving throughput is critical as the growth rate of Ethereum is skyrocketing to an unsustainable rate. Ethereum runs at 13 tx/second right now; we are targeting 1,300 tx/second at mainnet launch.
Beyond our initial goals described above, we have a plan to upgrade the smart contract system to make it easier and less error prone. Software almost always contains bugs that are unknown at the time of release and developers need a way to fix those bugs. Ethereum does not allow you to upgrade your contracts and that results in $100’s of millions of value being stolen.
We intend to make writing smart contracts easier to write and easier to deploy, as well as making them safer to prevent the massive amounts of theft that is happening. Smart contracts need to be more like the real world, where they can be amended, paused, and/or terminated.
We are also adding standardized rulesets to contracts to define how and when contracts can be modified. We expect this will help the adoption of smart contracts by the broader business community by using familiar contract terms. For example, a co-op organization may require a quorum of members to change a contract while other organizations may require all participants in a contract to agree to a change.