I'm Andrew Levine, the CEO of Koinos Group, architects of Koinos, the blockchain with no fees, and in the following short episode of the Koinos Group podcast I chat with blockchain architect Michael Vandeberg about what it means to make a blockchain "fast."
If I tell you that a car is "fast" what meaningful information does that give you about the car?
Here's a fast car:
Here's another fast car:
Here's my current favorite fast car:
Most people would agree that all of these cars are fast, the point is that they are extremely different from one another, and whether fast = good will vary tremendously on the problem you are trying to solve.
If you don't mind spending a lot of money, aren't looking to drive on public roads (or even make turns), don't mind using special fuel or hiring a full time mechanic, then the drag racer might be an appealing option for you. If, on the other hand, you have a couple million dollars burning a hole in your pocket, then the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse might be a better fit. At a starting price of $130,000 the Model S Plaid, is certainly the most versatile and environmentally friendly option, but it would be a stretch to call it "accessible."
It is the concept of "accessibility" that brings us back to the topic of blockchain "speed." The power of blockchains stems from their potential to deliver an infinite variety of peer-to-peer financial systems that put us (the people) in charge by removing middlemen. But in order for it to be truly "peer-to-peer," individuals need to be able to run the infrastructure themselves, even if they ultimately choose not to.
The foundation of the blockchain's value is the ability to "replay" every single transaction that has ever happened in the history of the system, in order, starting from the first block. If blocks are created too fast, at some point no one will be able to catch up to the current block (i.e. the present), which totally defeats the purpose of using a blockchain at all.
There is no centralized source of truth who can simply tell you "the state of things" when you join the network. That means you can either get that information from some third party who you trust (which kind of defeats the purpose) or derive that information yourself.
In order to be truly decentralized, the second option must be at least possible, and ironically, the easier it is to derive the information yourself the less risky it becomes to rely on trusted 3rd parties.
As the designers of the blockchain, we wouldn't be very good advocates for decentralization if we assumed from the outset that everyone would be relying on a small number of people to give them the state of the database. Sadly, this is exactly how many blockchains achieve their "speed."
This is not to say that Koinos won't be fast. High transaction throughput and low latency are among our top design priorities. But we've also designed the Koinos blockchain framework to support industry leading reindex times precisely because if we want to push block times down as low as possible and increase block sizes, that is going to impact how long it is going to take someone (whether a user or enterprise) to replay the blockchain and deliver the level of trustlessness that distinguishes blockchain solutions from existing mass-adopted solutions.
This is especially important when you realize that Koinos isn't just a new and better way to build next generation decentralized applications, it’s a whole new, and far superior way, to build next generation blockchains. Not only with the Koinos community be able to lower block times without a hard fork through governance, but those who use this state-of-the-art framework to build their own blockchains will likely want to explore every variation of these parameters.
It is our job to ensure that no matter what options they choose, the blockchain remains as accessible as possible, which is why we focus on the solutions that really matter (like reindex times) because they are limiting factors on the higher level features people want like high throughput (low TPS) and large blocks.
That means that in the near future you will be able to run a Koinos node, connect to other nodes, and test out its incredible features for yourself! Not only that, but the process of setting up a node will be insanely easy. Anyone, no matter their level of technical expertise, will be able to run a node in minutes!
Hot tip: If you download Docker now, I guarantee you will be running a testnet node in under 5 minutes! Or your money back! 😂