Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: Why does the blockchain need to be a single chain?
2 points by torginus 18 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 4 comments
One of the big issues plaguing the blockchain is throughput - since all the transactions go into a single ledger AFAIK, the transactions need to be serialized.

But why does this need to be the case?

Imagine you had a blockchain you could fork at arbitrary points, let's limit ourselves to 2 levels - a core level and a sub level.

On the core level the only thing you can do is create sub-chains, let's say through a PoW algorithm.

On the sub-level, it would work like a regular blockchain, so you could write transactions into each chain with a PoW algorithm.

Let's identify each user with, a letter, and each subchain with a number.

Now, the problem would be that wallets could be distributed between chains, so for A, you'd need to add up the balance of A0 and A3 if we presume that A has coins on these chains.

Now, if A wants to transfer money to B, let's say she transfers from wallet A0 to B1, she just writes a transaction into subchain 0's ledger to transfer coins from A0 to B1, with the usual PoW algorithm. Then let's say the miners who manage chain 1 record this transaction into it out of charity - since A has PoW already invested, these sort of cross-chain transactions can't be spammed.

Now I described the algorithm with 2 layers, but it could scale to an arbitrary number, to minimize the chain lengths, as long as the chain id's are unique.

Now I'm pretty sure I missed something dumb, but I can't see it :)

Blockchain was intended to solve the “double-spend problem”. It is however the most brute-force way to do it, making everyone store everything.

Blockchain always uses the maximum amount to secure every transaction — like using an armored truck and a convoy to transport $0.25. So it can’t support micropayments or even mainstream payment systems.

You can shard Ethereum by smart contract, for instance, but then when the Total Value Locked in that contract exceeds the cost of a sustained 51% attack, there are incentives to destroy confidence in the chain and take the money. (So the theory goes.)


Yup, this is what I was looking for. Thanks for pointing it out!

single is already too power voracious, let alone more

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact