Kopalnie Krypto Team - Wednesday 15 March 2023
Why Chia? Part 2 - technology, durability, safety
In one of the previous publications, we partially described the new content of the main Chia Network website. We mentioned practical applications of the Chia blockchain. In the second part of this article series, we will focus on certain aspects of the technology that form the foundation of the ecosystem. Additionally, we will address security issues, as they directly stem from the technical aspects of the Chia project.
Chia is based on an innovative consensus algorithm - Proof of Space and Time. It utilizes a vast amount of excess hard drive space, making it the first new Nakamoto Consensus since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009.
Proof of Space is a cryptographic technique in which farmers prove that they have allocated unused disk space for the network. Proof of Time enhances the overall security of the Chia blockchain, mostly by increasing resistance to 51% attacks. Compared to Proof of Work-based blockchains, Chia consumes significantly less energy and is more inclusive while maintaining the same or higher level of security. Unlike Proof of Stake blockchains, Chia is less susceptible to attacks or manipulations and avoids the issue of "the rich get richer" and centralization resulting from staking. Chia provides security comparable to Bitcoin along with the functional advantages of a smart coin environment operating on the blockchain.
Chialisp is the programming language that governs the applications functioning on the Chia blockchain. It is an innovative blockchain programming language with powerful capabilities, ease of control, and security. Chialisp provides a transparent and user-friendly experience, as originally promised by cryptocurrencies.
Chia Network has created an entirely new consensus mechanism, Proof of Space and Time (PoST), to address the energy challenges posed by the cryptocurrency industry. This method ensures the highest level of network security. In the case of Chia, most of the work is done upfront in a process called plotting. The computational power used is very low, accounting for less than 1% of the total energy cost in the five-year TCO model. The ongoing power demand is minimal compared to Proof of Work. PoST only uses the energy needed to keep hard drives idle 99.75% of the time. The power consumption of the entire Chia farmer network is estimated to be less than 1% of Bitcoin's energy usage. Each transaction on the Chia blockchain consumes only 0.01% of the power used in Bitcoin's network. The growing adoption of SSD drives will further reduce energy consumption.
Closed-loop business models are crucial to achieving a stable future. They allow for waste elimination and the repeated use of materials over an extended period. Farming Chia is a process that puts extremely low stress on hardware. It has been optimized for the use of hard drives and will drive closed-loop business models for mass storage. This approach will reduce electronic waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Damaged drives will be returned to manufacturers for component recovery and recycling of other rare materials.
Mass storage capacity is a widely available, highly scalable, and underutilized resource. Chia Network believes that the competitiveness of farming markets will lead to a large portion of Chia's network space being based on unused reclaimed hardware.
One-third of the Earth's mass storage (9.4 zettabytes in 2022) is unused and contains no user data. The average consumer only utilizes around 25% of their storage capacity. Chia utilizes this unused disk space to secure the network. This operation generates marginal costs, as consumers and businesses already possess the necessary disk resources.
The focus of the market will shift towards blockchains and digital assets that are inherently more secure and take attack vectors seriously. Only such projects will be able to build fraud-resistant systems and counter negative actions from states. Widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will occur only when the industry demonstrates a secure and auditable environment. Chia Network believes that two key aspects of security are decentralization level and smart contract programming language security.
Chia is one of the most decentralized blockchains in the world. The network consists of over 100,000 nodes distributed globally, surpassing Bitcoin by more than three times. Decentralization positively impacts the security of the network and its users. With Chia's revolutionary pooling protocol, all farmers build and sign every block, making the Nakamoto Coefficient value for Chia higher than 70. For Bitcoin, this value is 4, and for Ethereum, it ranges from 1 to 2.
Each smart contract is part of Chia coins stored in users' wallets. There is no central contract that could become a target for attacks, as in the case of Ethereum. Performing a similar attack on the Chia blockchain would require targeting each user individually. Centralization exposes Proof of Stake methods to significant risk, as a small number of individuals or organizations with significant stakes can effectively control decision-making processes, development, and the network's future.
Chialisp is a derivative of the Lisp programming language with added operators dedicated to blockchains and smart contracts. This language enforces the use of functional programming paradigms from Lisp. Avoiding state-based programming techniques significantly simplifies application security. The resources used by Chialisp can be fully controlled. The language must run on half a million different computers, so it is essential that programs do not adversely affect the hardware. Lisp applications are subject to evaluation, and they cannot generate new processes or interact with the underlying system they run on. Each smart coin in the Chia ecosystem, regardless of its complexity level, has a built-in smart contract. With Chialisp, all smart coins are interoperable since code and data are represented identically - in the form of lists (homoiconicity). Smart coins should be able to interact and communicate with each other, even if they were not specifically designed for it. The Chialisp virtual machine uses a simple and regular syntax, which should be characteristic of a blockchain programming language with Turing completeness features. Auditors capable of interpreting Chialisp will clearly understand the logic of the smart contract. At the same time, they can be confident that there will be almost no unwanted behaviors that could affect the functionality of the smart contract.
Chialisp focuses on auditability, interoperability, and security. Its goal is to provide an alternative to commonly used and difficult-to-control programming environments that create attack vectors and are the source of dangerous and costly errors.
Cryptocurrency projects based on the Proof of Work method, such as Bitcoin, do not fully leverage the potential of blockchain technology, damaging their reputation due to significant energy consumption. The Proof of Space and Time-based Chia blockchain prioritizes the environmental impact of the technology and avoids the mistakes of its predecessors. The Chia Network project sets new standards and rebuilds the positive image of the terms "cryptocurrency" and "blockchain." The technology on which the entire Chia ecosystem is based safeguards the security and durability of this innovative blockchain.