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Blockchain Consensus as a Service

What is Blockchain Consensus as a Service?

Blockchain consensus as a service is, appropriately, a third-party blockchain consensus service provided to a private or authorized blockchain network or application. Basically, this service is intended to verify the order of events or transactions in these networks and applications. This type of service can be provided by a public DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) network. A network that provides blockchain consensus as a service validates transactions on the network that are time-stamped outside the network. This creates an auditable and transparent log. Therefore, private networks can benefit from consensus as a service without losing the privacy of persistent transaction history. In other words, Blockchain Consensus as a service combines trust and privacy to bring the best of both worlds. Enterprises can benefit from reliable time stamping, high transaction throughput, fast finality, and public ledger security while maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive data.

What is consensus-as-a-service?

Consensus-as-a-Service is a third-party blockchain consensus service built for private and authorized blockchain networks to validate the order of events and transactions. Public DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) networks can provide this type of service. For better understanding, let's take an example of a publicly distributed ledger like the Hedera network. Hedera can provide consensus in the form of services to authorized private blockchain networks such as Hyperledger Fabric and R3 Corda. A network that provides blockchain consensus as a service also validates the order of events on the blockchain platform approved via timestamps. Doing this creates a transparent and verifiable log. Private blockchains benefit from consensus as a service by not sharing a history of network transactions. In short, consensus as a service is the provision of trust in combination with privacy. This helps authorized networks or apps protect and maintain the confidentiality of sensitive data, providing the benefits of fast finality, high transaction throughput, and public ledger security. Consensus-as-a-Service provides decentralized trust and helps enterprise and consumer apps eliminate the costly reliance on intermediaries to mediate trust between the parties.

Why do we need consensus as a service?

Blockchain technology is valuable because it can constantly timestamp the order of financial services, IoT, or supply chain events and provide a verifiable record of everything from financial transactions to attribution of significant assets. On the other hand, private apps lack public trust because they rely on the consensus provided by a small network of known and approved nodes. Consensus services can provide the level of confidentiality that is highly needed. Consensus services benefit applications or authorized networks that need to execute logic based on the exact time and order of events (such as data validation and data tuning). Or, to establish a decentralized consensus, an approved network or app can choose a block producer with a proof-of-work using a public ledger such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. However, these public ledgers are very slow and expensive, and it can take minutes or even hours to determine the validity of a transaction. The speed at which consensus is reached is important. Therefore, public DLT networks that provide consensus services must be able to provide both distributed and high-speed consensus.

Applications or authorized networks that need to execute logic based on a particular time and order of events (such as data validation and data tuning) can benefit from consensus services. Without such services, these applications rely on moderation, matching, and ordering performed by individual entities. This has three major drawbacks.

  • Applications are vulnerable to accidental network failures or intentional tampering with services.
  • Users are at risk of losing control over a few centralized parties.
  • These are subject to the cost model of the central infrastructure provider.

To achieve decentralized consensus, authorized networks or applications also have the option of using public ledgers such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and block producers can be selected through Proof of Work. However, these public ledgers are slow, expensive, and often take minutes or hours to confirm the finality of a transaction. Since the speed of consensus search is important, public DLT networks that provide consensus services must be able to provide distributed and fast consensus.

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Key Benefits of Blockchain consensus as a service

It is clear that a centralized blockchain network or application jeopardizes the decentralized consensus for achieving privacy. The essence of the benefits of blockchain is lost in the process. Consensus-as-a-Service provides two important features to solve this problem.

  • Decentralized consensus on event validity and order.
  • Event history transparency.

The consensus model as a service uses a broader network of distributed nodes to agree on the timing and order of events. The ability to individually verify when and when an event has occurred allows you to provide a timestamp for the event. The blockchain consensus service model must not rely on the storage of all events across all members of the network. This severely limits service. Therefore, you need decentralized consensus and optimized performance. This can be achieved through a service model that does not require a persistent history of long-term transactions and can offload storage requirements to other support resources or networks. This allows consensus services to provide quick, fair, and secure consensus.

How does blockchain consensus work as a service?

The blockchain protocol that underlies the consensus model primarily determines the model's architecture. Therefore, different blockchain consensus models as services differ in terms of service costs, transaction processing capabilities, finalities, and even mechanisms. Normally, blockchain consensus as a service consists of three main elements that are central to the application. A mirror network of distributed node public networks, consensus algorithms, and support resources. The transaction is first sent to the public network for verification. The consensus algorithm validates and time stamps an event or transaction. The role of the mirror network is used the mirror network to offload storage requirements to the node. Public networks provide the decentralization and reliability of distributed networks. Consensus algorithms combined with public networks ensure seamless consensus. In addition, the mirror network protects privacy by preventing the model from keeping transaction history.

Types Of Blockchain Consensus Mechanisms

  • Proof of Work

Proof-of-work (POW) processes are also called mining, and miners are called nodes. Miners solve complex math puzzles that require extensive computing power. To this end, miners use multiple mining methods such as CPU mining, GPU mining, FPGA mining, mining pools, and ASIC mining. After solving a math puzzle, if a miner finds the solution first, such a miner will receive a block as a reward. Moreover, puzzles can only be solved by trial and error. Therefore, miners need more and more computing power to find a solution quickly. The difficulty of the puzzle depends on the speed at which the blocks are disassembled. The faster the blocks are created, the more difficult the puzzle is, and vice versa. Therefore, to carefully adjust the difficulty of the puzzle, you need to create a new block within a specific time frame. Some popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin use the proof of work process. However, the proof of work consensus mechanism consumes resources at an alarming rate, and it is not efficient for the environment.

  • Proof of Stake

Proof-of-Stake (POS) uses a random process to determine who has the opportunity to create the next block. Blockchain users can lock tokens for a period of time to become validators. After becoming a validator, users can create blocks. Validators can also be selected based on the blockchain design. In general, the user who owns the largest bet or coin for the longest time is more likely to create a new block. The validator typically rewards the work for all or part of the transaction fee for all transactions performed on the block it creates. Alternatively, you can give the validator a certain amount of coins based on inflation. In this approach, the proof of stake method encourages validators to maintain the blockchain network. Proof-of-stake is more energy-efficient than other blockchain consensus mechanisms like proof-of-work.

  • Proof of Capacity

The capacity proof method stores the solution of complex mathematical puzzles in digital stores such as a hard drive. This entire process is called a plot, and it involves storing solutions in a hard drive or storage space until the storage is filled to capacity. The larger the storage device, the more solutions that can be stored, and the higher the chances of becoming a validator. The user who finds the solution earliest will have the opportunity to create a new block. Therefore, the user with the maximum storage capacity is more likely to create a new block.

  • Proof of Elapsed Time

The elapsed time proof process randomly and fairly determines the creator of the new block based on the time spent waiting. To this end, this mechanism provides each user with a random wait time, with the user with the earliest wait time creating a new block. This consensus mechanism works only if the user cannot run multiple nodes and the system can confirm that the delay is really random.

  • Proof of Identity

Proof-of-Identity compares a user's private key to an authorized ID. Basically, proof of identity is a cryptographic proof of a user's private key, cryptographically attached to a particular transaction. Users identified from the blockchain network can create blocks of data that can be presented to anyone on the network. Identity proof ensures the integrity and reliability of the data created. In addition, smart cities can use blockchain consensus mechanisms such as the Proof of Identity to verify citizen identities.

  • Proof of Authority

The Proof of Authority mechanism is a modified version of the proof-of-stake that puts the validator's identity in the network at risk. In this scenario, the ID is the correspondence between the validator's personal ID and the official document for validating the ID. These validators use a reputation over the network. The Proof of Authority allows only the node that will be the validator to generate new blocks. Validators with staked identities are encouraged to protect and maintain their blockchain network. Also, the number of reviewers is quite small (ie 25 or less).

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  • Proof of Activity

The proof-of-activity mechanism is a combination of proof of work and proof of stake. In the Proof-of-Activity, miners try to find a riddle solution and claim a reward. However, the block created by the activity proof mechanism is a simple template with mining reward addresses and header information. The network then uses the header information to select a random group of verifiers to sign the block. Validators with high stakes are more likely to be selected to sign new blocks. When the selected validator signs a new block, that block becomes part of the network. If the block is not signed by some verifier, it will be discarded and a new block will be used. The resulting network charges are split between the winning miner and the validator.

Build, Integrate, and Implement Various Blockchain Consensus Solutions with Rejolut

As a blockchain development firm, one of the most enviable services we offer is blockchain consensus as a service solution. Over the years we have used several SDKs and many popular programming languages ​to bootstrap existing blockchain consensus as a service system and provide solutions to projects implementing similar infrastructure.

The most important components of our consensus service solutions are:

  • Client application
  • SDK interface
  • Mirror net nodes

Our understanding and experience with critical models like the split governance model set us apart from others in the quality of blockchain developer services we offer. We have worked on governance solutions provided by the world's most trusted blockchain protocols. We are building an enterprise-class platform managed by professionals. Implementing blockchain consensus as a service focuses on all aspects of the blockchain stack which includes the application, middleware, Sybil control, consensus, and networking. Our focus is on creating the best solution for the consensus and networking layer. Using our experience and understanding of how nodes communicate with each other, we deploy open source solutions that can benefit everyone. We also have experience building blockchain consensus as a service solution that is compatible with Cosmos SDK and allow for interoperability across ecosystems. To ensure high throughput and verification, asynchronous byzantine fault tolerance solutions. As more organizations and enterprises use blockchain-based applications or authorized networks in their processes, the demand for consensus as a service will only increase. Our services provide secure, fast, fair, and decentralized consensus for any application, whether based on a private ledger or a public ledger. As a foremost blockchain development company, Rejolut’s blockchain consensus solution services also help to reduce the operating costs of your private network and improve the reliability of both your private ledger and your centralized server.

Conclusion

Companies and organizations are increasingly aware of the wide range of applications that blockchain technology brings and are developing enterprise-level blockchain-based applications. In doing so, they often encounter trade-offs between privacy and decentralization. For data-sensitive applications such as financial services, logistics, and supply chains, ensuring data protection is paramount. However, blockchains often maintain the confidentiality of their data at the expense of a truly decentralized consensus. Nevertheless, business applications can use the Blockchain consensus as a Service to review records, match bids, transfer security tokens, or update the status of in-transit orders. In summary, the blockchain consensus service provides secure, fast, transparent, and decentralized consensus for any application, whether it is a private ledger or not. It also reduces operating costs for private networks while building trust in both private ledgers and centralized servers.

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