RChain was developed as the world’s first form of Blockchain that is sharded – subdivision of the Blockchain into composable parts which interlock to a unified whole but do not need to be computed all at once – and concurrent – the subdivision enables different processes to run in parallel without interfering with each other.
With the objective to make the public claim control over previously centralized endeavours on social networks, RChain will address a fundamental flaw all standard blockchains share: the Blockchain replicates its entire history on all devices maintaining it to stay reliable and coherent. This wasteful and unsustainable process makes the use of the system any more complicated.
According to Synereo, this state of affairs where every node has to process each and every action performed on the entire system has troubled the industry for a long time and also true for turing complete Blockchains like Ethereum or Lisk.
By design of the RChain architecture, not every node in the network needs to see and validate the whole state of the blockchain hence making the building process much faster since it is being done in parallel. It enables Blockchain based systems to be much faster, infinitely scalable and cheaper to maintain.
A statement from Synereo says:
“Instead of mandating storage of the whole network at any given moment on any given device, each node only holds a single shard, relevant to its specific needs. This divides the work up so that different nodes can focus on different sets of problems at the same time.
These small shards can then be joined together into bigger shards, and those into bigger shards, just-in-time. This way, Synereo’s Blockchain is truly decentralized and distributed rather than simply being massively replicated across the network.”
RChain’s consensus protocol is based on the ‘Casper’ Proof of Stake design that was developed by Ethereum and Synereo’s CTO, Lucius Greg Meredith. It follows a model where the consensus is as cheap as possible for everyone except for adversaries while they are conducting an attack.
If a node produces anything that Casper considers “invalid”, their deposits are forfeited along with the privilege of participating in the consensus process thus addressing the “nothing at stake” problem. This allows Casper to make much more economical use of scarce computing resources, without compromising security.
Rchain nodes differ from Ethereum’s Casper do not validate entire blocks but logical propositions – a set of statements about the blockchain.
Meredith also developed the unique SpecialK protocol which has been under active development for over four years for the distribution of heavy media-data such as video, images and texts among Synereo nodes and retrieve them on demand.
Rchain’s native smart-contract language Rholang, is comparable to Ethereum’s Solidity though it is a reflective programming language that is based on process calculus which allows for the parallel execution of processes.
This gives it an edge over traditional smart contract languages and blockchain scripts, and puts it in the same category with established programming languages – Java, C#, and Scala, This feature makes industrial scale development possible despite its complexity and allows for better safety tests and simulations particularly for publicly used decentralized applications. Synereo maintains that the infamous The DAO hack, for example, could probably have been avoided if its code had been based on Rholang.
Though not expected to be fully operational until Q4 2017, RChain’s requirements which originate from Synereo’s decentralized social product and its attention and reputation economy are to provide content delivery at the scale of Facebook.
Synereo had earlier announced that it will be releasing the Alpha phase of its decentralised social network in September.