These days all of the talk surrounds different Blockchains, However there is a different technology being developed by a man named Dr. Leemon Baird, it’s called the Hashgraph Consensus Algorithm and Baird is the CTO of Swirlds Inc (Shared Worlds for those wondering what that means), a platform for Distributed Applications. Swirlds is a software platform designed to build fully-distributed applications that harness the power of the cloud without servers. What’s interesting about this technology is that a centralized server does not need to be trusted in order for it to work.
“The Swirlds platform enables developers to create both permissioned and permissionless distributed applications with high transaction throughput, low consensus latency, and fairness in transaction order, without the burdensome costs of Proof-of-Work.”
Like what is currently on the Blockchain, some of the use cases would be Cryptocurrency, Gaming, Public Ledger, and Identity. Today’s applications are said to be not trusted due to centralization and other factors. Swirlds claims that it can use Cloud to run these applications without the centralized servers. Swirlds argues that Blockchain technology is limited in scope because “Blockchain can’t enforce fairness and can be challenged with high latency and probabilistic consensus, and often requires costly, wasteful mining.”
Is It All About Trust?
In a world with massive populations, trust has worn thin. Blockchain technology aims to create environments of transparency through a distributed ledger. However, the Blockchain has been facing challenges from the mainstream adopting it. Similar to the early days of the internet, it takes time for people to grow accustomed to new things. I can remember in 2007 when iPhones were introduced and most people stuck to their old flip phones, refusing to adopt to the new touch screen phones, fast forward to nearly 2018, and it’s a rarity to see one. Hashgraph is already challenging the Blockchain with it’s tech, but will it be able to deliver? I have to say, the ideology behind this project is fantastic, a fair world for everyone to do business in without the need to trust a centralized entity.
How Does It Actually Work?
This image above illustrates the beginning of the Hashgraph. The 4 grey dots represent Nodes in the network, or imagine they are 4 different people. Each member begins an event which is just a piece of data. For these grey dots to begin moving, a consensus or agreement needs to take place with a timestamp.
“Gossip Protocol” Each person in the group will have to sync with each other. The graph of events forms a record of how the members have communicated with each other.
Through this visual, it’s easier to understand what Hashgraph actually means. These events taking place within the structure will form a chain and keep growing. “This is a graph connected by cryptographic hashes, so it is called a hashgraph.” according to Swirlds.
Although Hashgraph is far more complicated mathematically and harder to explain in full detail, this simplified explanation will help more people understand how the system works at a very basic level. Is it possible that Hashgraph could oust Blockchain technology and dominate the space? Only time will tell. Trust is sort of important (Sarcasm) when doing transactions between people (and machines).