Hashgraph steps in to compete with blockchain
A new alternative to the blockchain aims to add fairness, speed and efficiency to the Internet of the future.
On Tuesday, the founders of startup Swirlds officially announced plans to launch the Hedera Hashgraph Platform yet this year as a new kind of decentralized ledger that operates in a multi-dimensional graph rather than the linear form of the blockchain.
They claim the hashgraph will add a trust layer to the Internet.
“We need a more trusted, secure and equitable online world. You should be able to carve out a piece of cyberspace to create a shared world, be confident when interacting with others, feel safe online, control how you collaborate and share only the information you want,” hashgraph algorithm inventor Leemon Baird said in a VentureBeat article.
Despite aims of decentralizing money and transactions, much of today’s bitcoin and Ethereum mining has been amassed in the hands of only a few large miners. Hashgraph, in contrast, will begin with governance by a diverse council of corporations and organizations spread across industries and the world, and rather than a select few miners, anyone using the platform can create transactions and the hashgraph’s equivalent of blocks – without the resource-intensive computations that blockchains like bitcoin require.
In technical terms, the hashgraph white paper states that its “algorithm accomplishes being fair, fast, Byzantine, ACID compliant, efficient, inexpensive, timestamped, and DoS resistant”.
Like blockchains, though, the hashgraph is expected to have its own cryptocurrency based on proof of stake. Hashgraph is designed to layer on top of the Internet, while the cryptocurrency, file storage and smart contracts are layered on top of the hashgraph. Because of the hashgraph’s expected speed and efficiency, it claims fees will be a “small fraction” of what’s typical for cryptocurrencies today. Fees are then designed to reward stakers.
Ultimately, hashgraph’s claims are lofty: “Hedera directly resolves the five fundamental obstacles to mainstream market adoption of public ledger technology: performance, security, stability, governance and regulatory compliance.”
For more explanation on how blockchain is designed to work, check out our guide.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds XRP, CND, ANT and DRGN, and actively trades BTC and ETH.
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Picture: Hedera Hashgraph