Improvements in technology may create something better that’s not a block or a chain
I think that in 10 years blockchain technology will improve to a level that calling it “blockchain” will no longer be a useful term. Let’s think about this a moment. Why do we call it a blockchain?
I think the three most interesting parts of the blockchain are:
- Consensus mechanisms
- Management mechanisms (meta-consensus of how to manage future improvements to the overall chain)
- The structure of the blockchain itself (blockchain design, off chain, fundamental architecture)
The last one will impact how large the network can get how fast transaction times will happen, et cetera. And the structure of the blockchain is why we call it a “blockchain.” Let’s break that down.
So, what do we mean by “Blockchain?”
Let’s break out the two terms:
Block: A set of transactions connected together cryptographically into a block. So, a block is a bunch of transactions bundled together.
Chain: The blocks from an endless connected chain connected cryptographically to each other. So, this is a linear chain of blocks.
I think in the future the block will be more of a connected set of transactions (block would not be needed). And, I also think that in the future, the chain won’t be a single directional chain of blocks. I think it will look more like a mesh (or graph).
So, maybe we’ll call it a transaction graph. I’ve also seen the term “tangle” for early similar concepts. Maybe we’ll call it “the graph” much the same way we say “the cloud” today. We will all save information and transactions into this global graph (whether we know it or not).
Maybe we’ll call it “the graph” much the same way we say “the cloud” today.
The closest thing I’ve seen so far that matches my imagined path is a DAG. So, this looks very interesting to me. IOTA and Hashgraph are real-world projects that seem to be on the cutting edge of similar designs, those will be a couple projects watch as well. Let’s look at the DAG concept below.
DAGs (Directed Acyclic Graph)
Some of you may be familiar with DAGs.
A DAG-model works differently than a blockchain. A common blockchain requires miners to maintain blocks, a DAG wouldn’t need either proof of work or blocks. Transactions are linked together and can confirm previous transactions. In order to submit your next transaction, you need to validate others in the queue. In order to get what you want (your transaction submitted), you have to do some work for others.
Transaction times in this model would be faster the bitcoin (for example) transaction times. Since the miner is technically removed and each transaction validates past transactions, and transaction times can actually go down as more people use the system. And, maybe we could have a non-linear set of of branches that go in several different directions, where many parallel transactions are happening. New models of management would be needed. So, there is a lot of work to do.
But to summarize, this model theoretically gets better as new nodes are added. So it may be an improved model for both fee (gas) and scalability over current blockchain models.
As I mentioned above, in the future we won’t have blockchains. We may have something that does what a blockchain does, only better. There are still challenges to this model, so I don’t know how this will play out. But, I think this design is intriguing, and I’m curious to see how this develops.