Understanding the Dandelion Network Part 1 — Intro to the Block Lattice
Blockchain networks and cryptocurrencies have been around for over a decade now. And during this time, many new innovations and developments have improved its capabilities and opened up new possibilities. The Dandelion Network is a revolutionary new blockchain company that is here to push the agenda even further. The first of which is to actually retire the blockchain and adopt a more performant approach that better suits tomorrow’s needs. This is the Block Lattice. Let’s dig into what it is with Jason Xu, VP of Engineering at Dandelion.
Although blockchain technology has made significant strides since its inception, it still faces limited scalability and sluggish transaction times. I liken the blockchain to the original iPhone, which was groundbreaking upon its release, but you would rip your hair out if I asked you to use it as a daily driver now. Disregarding the fact that the iPhone’s first iteration lacks compatibility with modern applications, its hardware specifications need to be revised for current needs. The iPhone 1 featured a modest single-threaded CPU, meaning it could only handle one task at a time. To compensate, it used techniques like task scheduling to give users the impression of greater functionality.
Similarly, the blockchain operates serially by design: each block references the previous one, and new blocks are added one at a time. Though certain processes, like transaction processing, can occur in parallel, the blockchain by nature creates a linear timeline for all data pushed to it. This can lead to slow transaction times and scalability issues when the number of transactions being processed increases. One of the biggest performance hits to existing blockchain systems is the conflict resolution required to decide which block should be next. This process for constant conflict resolution is embodied in consensus protocols such as proof-of-work and proof-of-stake.
However, just like the iPhone has evolved to meet the demands of modern technology, better solutions also evolve to address the challenges of the blockchain. This is where the Block Lattice comes in.
What is the Block Lattice
Much like how the blockchain was purposefully designed to be serial, the Block Lattice was designed to be parallel. A Block Lattice can be seen as a collection of individual blockchains, with each single chain representing a single account. This means that each account in the network can be operated independently from each other!
In a Block Lattice, a single block only has a single transaction. Transactions are also replicated on both the sender and recipient’s chain. This is called double-entry bookkeeping. Double-entry booking makes it more convenient for clients to verify their blocks. But most importantly, it allows us to decouple the clearing and the settling to further avoid conflicts. Blocks don’t all just have a hash of the previous block. Instead, if the block represents receiving funds, the hash is composed of the previous block and the sender’s block for the same transaction.
Here is an example of a Block Lattice with 3 accounts.
Let’s see how this could have been constructed.
- Blockchain is a data structure that is composed serially while a Block Lattice can be composed in parallel across different accounts
- Blocks in a lattice contain a single transaction
- Block Lattice supports double-entry bookkeeping
- Blocks that represent receiving funds contain a hash of not only the previous block in the chain but also the corresponding sending block
Part 2 will be about our Client-Leader consensus protocol. A revolutionary transactional consensus protocol that is unique only to the Dandelion Network. In the next part, it will also answer some questions you may have from this article if you are a keen reader. Like:
- How are conflicts resolved per account chain?
- How is decoupling achieved with the sending and clearing transactions?