There are over 5100 crypto projects that are listed on CoinMarketCap. This is not a complete list though, there are 1000s of other blockchain/crypto projects that are out there that are not listed on CMC yet for various reasons (one big one is they may not have their own cryptocurrency to trade).
With 1000s of Crypto projects already existing – it is difficult to get excited about new projects. However, when you hear about a project that is conceived and built by a Lead Researcher who lead the team at Microsoft on Distributed Systems, you want to learn more.
Dr. Brendon (JiaPing) Wang, along with Co-Founders Minghao Pan and David (Xiaobing) Zhang, has conceived of an idea that could increase the current transaction speeds by 1000s of times that of Bitcoin or Ethereum. The exciting part about Asensys is its performance increases with the user base. The more users who use the network the faster the network becomes.
This counterintuitive novelty could give Asensys the edge in the blockchain space. But, is it all hype or is there mettle in this project?
We wanted to find out directly from the founder. This exclusive Q&A with Dr. Brendon Wang is geared to provide great insight to the reader about Asensys.
1) How would you describe Asensys to an already confused novice with 2000 odd projects in the market? What sets it apart?
To understand Asensys, you first need to understand the problem we are solving. Bitcoin revolutionized finance by introducing the first peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Its brilliance lies in the fact that two individuals can exchange value without verification from a third party intermediary, upending the system we’ve relied on for centuries that gave undue power to trusted, centralized entities like banks and governments to validate transactions and provide legitimacy to currency itself. The way Bitcoin circumvents the need for trusted, centralized validators is by outsourcing verification to a decentralized web of computers, called nodes. This means that every transaction and action on the network needs to be broadcast and replicated by all nodes, a process that takes time—too much time to meet the needs of the fast-paced digital economy. This issue of how Bitcoin and all blockchain networks can scale has been one of the biggest roadblocks to adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain systems to-date.
One obvious way to improve the speed at which blockchain networks can process transactions is to decrease decentralization. The more centralized a system, the fewer nodes need to be communicated with to replicate the action. However, decreasing decentralization compromises the security of the network, making it more vulnerable to a 51% attack—when a majority of nodes collude against the whole to update the chain of transactions in their own interests (AKA: cheating). Incentives are designed to deter nodes from weakening the network, as they stand to benefit from a fully-functioning blockchain, but most members of the crypto community believe weakening security is a bad idea. Furthermore, decreasing decentralization is contrary to the spirit of cryptocurrency that drew so many of us to cryptocurrency in the first place.
What we’ve done with Asensys is introduce a way to dramatically reduce over-redundant actions across the network (the main culprit contributing to blockchain latency). Our novel solution utilizes Asynchronous Consensus Zones to essentially “divide and conquer” all intra-network tasks into “mini” networks, which are independent and parallel zones.
Dividing workload produces substantial performance lift for the entire network, but it raises two problems: cross-zone transaction handling, which is when a user in one zone transacts with a user in a different zone, and mining power dilution. Asensys addresses the efficiency issue of cross-zone transactions with eventual atomicity and the security threat of mining power dilution with Chu-ko-nu mining.
Eventual atomicity enables transactions to be verified and executed in the zone where the transaction’s first state was initiated. Groups of operations are then conveyed to other zones in relay transactions, but the data pertaining to the transaction remains in the zone in which the initial state resided.
Chu-ko-nu mining protects each zone and the entire network against a 51% attack by incentivizing miners to create multiple blocks for different zones with a single nonce, which enforces even distribution of mining power across zones.
2) Most projects do well in a test environment but fail miserably when it comes to real world application – what factors contribute to this variance and how is Asensys going to circumvent these very issues?
We have conducted an in-house experiment to simulate how Asensys will scale as more users are added to the network and greater capacity and throughput are required. The results demonstrated that performance by the Asensys protocol increases proportionately to the community size. This means that as the user base grows, Asensys becomes even more efficient at processing transactions. In a test including 1,200 virtual machines worldwide to support 48,000 nodes, the Asensys system delivers 1,000 times the throughput and 2,000 times the capacity of the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks. The below graphs are from our whitepaper.”
3) Your claims are in line with companies like Credits, Hedera Hashgraph, etc., all of which have raised substantial capital to fund their projects. How big is your team to gain traction for Asensys and how are you going to fund it?
I lead a global team working from the United States, China, and Germany. Co-Founders Minghao Pan and David (Xiaobing) Zhang are based in Frankfurt and Shanghai, respectively. Michelle Chuang leads Audience Engagement and Customer Experience for Asensys. She comes to us with over 20 years of experience in marketing and customer engagement and has led key initiatives for companies such as Starbucks, Chevron and Staples Inc. We have funding from angel investors who are also high-profile leaders in technology, news that we will be [releasing] very soon.
4) Will you have your native currency on Asensys?
Asensys will have its own currency just like Bitcoin and Ethereum to incentivize miners to add blocks of transactions to the chain. Ultimately, however, Asensys intends to be the underlying system powering a decentralized web of applications, each capable of issuing their own tokens.
5) Is your network designed to support micro transactions, and will it be blockchain platform (bitcoin/ethereum/ripple/etc.,) agnostic?
Asensys is its own infrastructure layer, distinct from Bitcoin, Ehtereum, Ripple, etc.
6) How does Asensys’s unlimited scalability translate to a real world business use case, can you give an example that can be understood by a non-technical business person?
Asensys will be the system powering the decentralized web, which will be comprised of dapps for entertainment, finance, healthcare, e-commerce, education, and more. Just as developers can build on Ethereum, they will be able to build on Asensys without concern for its capacity to scale as the number of users grows. Asensys has a programming language, Parallel Relayed Execution Architecture Language (PREAL), specifically designed for blockchain systems and based on asynchronous consensus zones (just like nVidia has CUDA language to GPU programming). PREAL is based on a functional programming model that allows developers to describe transaction logic without concerning themselves with the underlying parallel blockchain system.
7) We only saw Academy research reference on your site, is there a white-paper or document that describes Asensys and contrasts it with existing projects?
If you’d like to learn more, please refer to our whitepaper, which describes the details of our system in great detail. This research was also presented at the prestigious NSDI’19 conference. We are continuing to add to our website and build our community. Feel free to follow us on LinkedIN and Twitter channels for updates on news and developments:
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