Elastos White Paper Podcast Recap
Randall Raymond, a Harvard graduate and Software Engineer at Google, has just released a podcast covering Elastos project in which he eloquently breaks down the Elastos whitepaper. Randall went over the advent of blockchain, how the internet protocol is structured, and how Elastos is set to change the internet as we know it with a new Smart Web.
At the beginning of the Elastos Whitepaper episode, Randall explains how the innovation of Bitcoin introduced blockchain technology as a peer-to-peer mechanism of exchanging money without any intermediaries. He goes over Vitalik Buterin’s invention of Ethereum which utilizes blockchain technology in the form of smart contracts and decentralized applications.
Randall goes further and illustrates the limitations of Ethereum’s blockchain. Due to Ethereum’s reliance on transactions working on one blockchain, it results in a frequently clogged network. There’s also inflexibility with Ethereum and difficulty in reversing bugs in smart contracts. Randall compares the Elastos infrastructure and explains that instead of having dApps run on top of the blockchain, dApps will run separately and be supported by the blockchain.
Mr. Raymond then talks about the fundamentals of the internet and compares it to the operation of the postal system. Items are transferred from point A to point B. There are five layers he describes when breaking down the internet protocol.
- Physical layer: This is where the language of computers, the 1’s and 0’s, are converted into electrical, radio, and optical signals and are transmitted into hardware. This is similar to USPS sending your package on a plane to its destination country.
- Data link layer: Grabs the raw bits from the electrical wire, packages them, and sends it to the next layer. In our metaphor, workers grab the packages from the plane, bundle them together, and ship them to the nearest post office.
- Receive information from layer 2 and route packages to individual addresses. The third layer acts like an actual post office. Once packages reach the building, they still need to be directed to the right room. The building is like the computer, the room is the program running inside the computer and the room number is the port.
- Messages are routed to the appropriate program running within the computer using something called a port, which is a number that tells us what program in a computer to go to.
- The application layer compares to the person receiving mail. Computer programs adopt protocols responding to and interpreting messages, which is what the HTTP protocol is precisely used for.
Randall also discusses Rong Chen’s (founder of Elastos) idea of preventing apps from directly accessing the internet. In 2017, Rong incorporated blockchain as the secure channel which acts as one of the main foundations in building a secure and safe new internet, also known as the Elastos Smart Web.
Mr. Raymond expounds on the four pillars of the Elastos Smart Web:
- Blockchain: Registers a unique DID for all users and items on the platform. It is used to record basic transactions on the web.
- Runtime: Virtual operating system that lives on a computer or mobile phone that prevents the computer from directly accessing the internet in a safe, sandboxed environment.
- Carrier: Peer-to-peer network layer that exists on top of the 5-layer architecture of the internet that ensures that traffic can be sent from computer to computer and doesn’t rely on going through big centralized servers like Amazon. Data can only be sent based on authentication from the blockchain and nothing else.
- Software Development Kit (SDK): The SDK is a tool that developers can use so their dApps can communicate with the more technical aspects such as the blockchain and Carrier.
Randall also elaborated on the Elastos merge-mining partial consensus mechanism. He makes the point that people can mine BTC while also being able to mine ELA at the same time without using any additional electricity.
Sidechains are a major part of the Elastos infrastructure. Sidechains are one of the key aspects of true scalability on the Elastos Smart Web. Side Chains along with Elastos’ additional Designated Proof of Stake consensus mechanism achieves true scalability. As stated in the Elastos Academy Side Chains & Scalability article, “In the case where a sidechain uses DPoS, it can utilize the pre-established DPoS supernodes of the Elastos main chain to run the DPoS consensus for its sidechain, thereby achieving a faster block time and superior TPS.” Most services and dApps occur on their own sidechains. Smart contracts are delegated to sidechains. Randall uses an example of someone reading an ebook: They’d invoke a transaction on the mainchain that delegates to its sidechain which is delegated to the book reading dApp. That sidechain would ensure the user has access to the book reading dApp.
Randall finally concludes his podcast with Elastos’s ultimate vision to make the internet safer and more secure. Elastos wants to give people ownership and power over the data they produce. Rong’s plan is to change the internet from a web of info to a web of wealth.
Thanks to Randall Raymond for the comprehensive coverage of the Elastos ecosystem.
Please check out his podcast here. He plans on covering more about the Elastos project, so stay tuned!