AMA Recap: bloXroute COO on the BCH Mining Test & More
This past month Eyal Markovich, bloXroute Labs COO, took to our Reddit page to answer questions about the exciting results of the bloXroute BCH Mining Test. Since there were so many great questions asked, we wanted to share them with the rest of our community on Medium. For some of the questions, we expanded upon our answers and edited for clarity and brevity.
Can you explain if bloXroute works on PoS blockchains? If so, how and are you testing any PoS blockchains?
The answer is yes! We have a Medium post coming out on how bloXroute works with both PoS and hybrid frameworks. You should think about the BDN as an alternative, and better, network layer for any blockchain or highly distributed network. The BDN is a Layer 0 solution, so PoS or PoW doesn’t affect it. The real question is whether there will be value from using the BDN, and the answer to this is dependent on the size of the network, number of validators, size of blocks, number of transactions, size of transactions, etc. Every project is different. Our focus until now was on the core BDN functionality with support for BCH and ETH. We have already started discussions with several PoS projects.
Have you been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?
First of all, it’s not easy to surprise me. :) But I am surprised by the weather in Chicago! I was traveling for two weeks and when I left Chicago it was 50 degrees and when I got back it was in the 90s. Walking to the office today was like walking in a sauna. But seriously, everyday I am surprised by the great team we have built here at bloXroute. Their passion for the project and work ethic is definitely a pleasant surprise.
When will BLXR trading start?
We are planning a token sale in Q4 2019. More details on the sale will be announced on our Twitter.
What was geographical/global distribution (decentralization) rate of the BCH nodes that were participating in the test? How does the decentralization rate of the BCH nodes from the test compare to the real decentralization rate of BCH nodes on the mainnet? There is an impression from the published test results that most of the test nodes were concentrated in China.
- That’s a great question! Before we started the test we ran a network crawler to report the global distribution and size of the testnet network. We identified that unlike the mainnet, the nodes in the testnet are highly connected. This means that some nodes had tens of peers. It also means that unlike the mainnet, less hops are required to propagate blocks and transactions. With that in mind, we understood that the results that we could obtain in the testnet will probably be better in the mainnet.
- The question of decentralization of BCH nodes was not very relevant for our test. We were testing the same topology with and without bloXroute. There were two main goals for our test. We wanted to make sure that our network was working (and for this, decentralization is not relevant), and we wanted to make sure that miners will benefit from our network.
- The planned upgrade of BCH on May 15 caused a few weeks of delay because it split the network into two separate chains. As a result, we started up around 100 BCH nodes in 3 regions; the USA, Europe, and Singapore (since we noticed very high latencies for SIngapore). We did not specify peering for these nodes and they connected to peers automatically. We then re-ran the test without bloXroute again to have a new baseline.
- In regards to China, we started up a few nodes in China and many of the miners are from China. Most of the nodes are not from China, however China nodes have seen the highest improvements with our network.
How many BCH nodes or % of total BCH hashpower participated in the test?
I believe the total BCH testnet network was around 250 nodes. The hashpower is not very relevant, since the testnet difficulty is different than the mainnet.
Are you able to translate the improvements in BCH block propagation time with the BDN from the test to an increase in BCH TPS with the BDN?
The answer is yes! BCH offers data reduction services (eg. compact blocks), so the performance of BCH is not bad without the BDN. Putting the China nodes to the side for a second, I don’t see a major problem with BCH scaling to large full blocks of 32 MB. Depending on the size of transactions, that can translate to 50–100 TPS. Obviously with the BDN, BCH can perform better. However, this will not work for nodes in China. We have seen very low performance sending blocks to China and this is where the BDN will add most of the value for BCH.
To summarize, the values that the BDN brings to BCH are:
- Mempool synchronization across the network. This by itself improves performance of compact blocks.
- Improved latency for nodes that are not using compact block’s high bandwidth mode.
- Improved latency for nodes no using compact blocks at all.
- Improved latency for all nodes in China.
With the BDN, BCH can opt to increase the block size even further and that will translate to higher TPS capacity in the case of full blocks. We have seen some bottlenecks in BCH block verification time, so I suppose before increasing the block size they should address this concern. Obviously they probably need to get more user transactions, as right now the TPS on the mainnet is low.
Updated business timeline please?
We recently published an updated Q3 2019 Roadmap Update. On a high level, we plan to start our Ethereum Miner Test in August, and go live on the BCH and ETH mainnet shortly after. As for the token sale, we plan to do that later this year.
bloXroute aims to increase blockchain speed, TPS etc. Common sense says that propagating blocks to every node is the bottleneck that the BDN wants to address. Is it possible to use bloXroute’s technology together with non bloXroute nodes on the same network? If yes, how could you achieve a TPS increase without reducing block time or increasing block time? If not (i.e. every node would need bloxroute tech) what is your response to my thesis that you would reduce decentralization by making your BDN a kind of backbone to the network?
First of all a small correction: bloXroute aims to increase blockchain speed and TPS, not just by propagating blocks faster but also by syncing transactions faster.
It is possible to use bloXroute technology together with non bloXroute nodes. In fact, this is what we did in the miner test. The miners participating in the test connected their nodes to the BDN. However, all the other nodes that we did not have access to were not aware of the BDN. From what we have seen in the test (we ran a few benchmark nodes not connected to the BDN) even the nodes not connected to the BDN got some value from the BDN. The idea is that if their peer is connected to the BDN and receives blocks or transactions faster, they will also receive it faster. Obviously if they connect to the BDN it provides them optimal performance, but it’s not mandatory.
One more important item to clarify, the BDN does not replace the peer to peer network. So, nodes connected to the BDN are also connected and send data to the P2P network. This addresses your concerns about reduced decentralization. The BDN can either help or not, but it cannot make things worse.
Any thoughts on Vitalik wanting to use BCH to scale ETH?
I don’t want to get into politics, so I’m not going to address this. However, ETH will benefit from the BDN more than BCH since it doesn’t already have data reduction services. I’m expecting great results from ETH increasing gas limit and running with the BDN. If they decide to use BCH the BDN will be ready and they better use it!
Will the BLXR token be a security or utility token? Is the token launch planned for after bloXroute is deployed on the mainnets? Will the Ethereum integration be included in the first release for bloXroute?
The BLXR token will be a security token and the token launch is planned for after the BDN is deployed on BCH and ETH mainnets. And yes, Ethereum integration is included.
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