In the Under the Microscope series, we take time to really get to know a project and focus on different elements of what makes the project great. We hope it provides a better understanding of the technology and its vision to the larger cryptocurrency and blockchain community. Today, we continue our examination of the Komodo platform by looking at how it solves a crucial problem: security.
Last week, we introduced Komodo as the next step in the evolution of blockchain technology — emerging from the amoeba that was the single central blockchain of the OG Bitcoin, to the virtual machine hub of protocols like Ethereum, to the next giant step in this process — a multiverse platform that liberates blockchains — each one existing as its own independent universe — available without limits to all developers and users.
Security is key
Today, we examine a key priority of Komodo that should be the primary focus of any distributed ledger technology: security. Security is, and has to be, the top of the list for any blockchain technology that hopes to last for any amount of time. Without security, no bells and whistles will compensate for rampant double-spending via 51% attacks and compromises in the integrity of data.
Traditionally, UTXO technologies have relied on their mining communities to enthusiastically jump on board in the hopes of seeing mining profits — ensuring blockchain security and integrity through the natural human motivation for profit. This is most commonly achieved through Proof-of-Work consensus, whereby an ever-growing army of miners keep pushing hashrates continually higher to prevent any compromises.
The problem with this approach is that, unless you’re the big kahuna itself — Bitcoin — or a few other highly secure blockchains that enjoy enormous hashrates due to their longevity in the blockchain realm, your network is vulnerable to attack. Many relatively small blockchain currencies, like Bitcoin Private, Bytecoin, or Bitcoin Gold, for example, can be attacked with relatively little expenditure via Nicehash rentals or an accumulation of ASIC hashing power. This is not just theoretical — it has happened. Lower hashrate currencies have suffered 51% attacks due to the relatively low cost of utilizing the required hashing power. One such attack resulted in the theft of about $18 million worth of Bitcoin Gold from exchanges last year.
Komodo sets security as its non-negotiable. It simply must be secure, by whatever means are deemed necessary. But instead of kneeling at the mercy of would-be miners who may or may not deem its blocks worthy of mining, Komodo opts for an elegant solution called Delayed Proof of Work. Recognizing the Bitcoin blockchain as the dominant currency when it comes to its massive hashrates, Komodo takes advantage of this strength, making an ally out of what might be considered by many to be a competitor.
An alliance with the hashrate king
Bitcoin’s hashrate is huge, churning out an astonishing 50 billion GH per second (that’s 50 quintillion hashes per second!) across its powerful network at the time of this writing. This hashrate continues to grow — even during bearish market conditions, it has generally continued to increase despite some recent fluctuations — and simply blows competing blockchains out of the water in comparison. For a little perspective, Bitcoin Cash chugs along at around 1.5 billion GH per second. Ethereum, the second-most popular cryptocurrency by market cap, enjoys a hashrate of around 160,000 GH/s.
Clearly, Bitcoin has the corner on the hashrate market. Rather than trying to fight the uphill battle against this enormous would-be foe, Komodo harnesses this power for its own security, turning Bitcoin into its strongest supporter. By using Delayed-Proof-of-Work, Komodo backs up its entire network on Bitcoin every block. A digital copy of Komodo’s entire multiverse is written into the Bitcoin blockchain through a process dubbed notarization — completed by Komodo’s notary node network. By doing so, Komodo is not bound by the longest chain rule of traditional PoW consensus blockchains, protecting itself from malicious behaviour by checking the most recent “backup” of all transactions and thereby eliminating the possibility of double-spending using older transactions. Thus, every blockchain, every bit of data, every individual universe on the Komodo platform is secured and protected. This allows the Komodo multiverse to be extremely diverse and versatile whilst not sacrificing security and speed.
Thus, Komodo solves the security problem with a clever and efficient method that does not add to the energy burden of Proof-of-Work mining, but still manages to take full advantage of its benefits. Not only is Komodo highly secure, it is also capable of scaling limitlessly with extensive customizability, all while maintaining interoperability between its many varied elements.
As we continue the Under the Microscope series, we will continue our examination of the Komodo platform by looking into these key characteristics.