One of the major problems within cryptocurrency is the ability to scale. Without scalability, Ethereum will not be able to achieve mass appeal. Fortunately, the blockchain company OpenST may very well provide a solution to this dilemma, and deploying OpenST’s Mosaic protocol does not require that any fundamental changes be made to the blockchain.
Ethereum developers consider sharding and zk-snarks as their best bet for resolving scalability issues. However, both are far from ready for deployment. Fortunately, the Mosaic protocol will be ready for deployment within the next few months. It works by temporarily moving Ethereum tokens into an auxiliary system – where it does not hold up the blockchain – until its ready to move back to the original blockchain.
By using an auxiliary chain process, Mosaic is able to increase Ethereum’s network throughput and thus allow for greater transaction volume. Not incidentally, this process reduces transactions costs for Ethereum users as well.
The Basis for Mosaic
The Mosaic protocol enables developers to make use of an “opt-in system”, one that transfers the computational work required for transactions to the auxiliary system (mentioned above). When ready, these transactions are then committed back to the mainnet in batches. The lead architect of Mosaic calls this “token sharding”, as sharding references partitioning so as to finalize the heavy work elsewhere. It’s this token sharding process that allows the mainnet to finalize multiple transactions at any one point in time.
Mosaic also uses a proof-of-stake incentive system, whereby token transaction validators cast votes to finalize transactions and reap rewards (far different from proof-of-work, in which computational puzzles need to be solved). And it’s this proof-of-stake system Mosaic uses that dramatically reduces transaction costs.
Two Major Components
To help Ethereum scale properly, Mosaic relies upon two components. The first, a public validator pool, ensures that token transactions proceed to the auxiliary system and back to the mainnet at regularly timed intervals. This is trickier than what might be supposed, as Mosaic must observe what is going on in both the auxiliary system and mainnet at the same time.
A second component critical to Mosaic is the capability to fall back on using the Ethereum blockchain (particularly if transactions fail to be validated on the auxiliary chain). As Mosaic’s lead architect has noted, “If an auxiliary chain halts and doesn’t reach consensus anymore, we have the alive system of proof-of-work to continue and recover the last committed state.”
Ethereum’s need to scale better can be met by Mosaic, at least until more advanced solutions are available.
The second key component to Mosaic is in how the whole system is secured at its core by ethereum.
Though computationally-intensive, the guaranteed validity of transactions on ethereum is leveraged as a fail-proof for OpenST users to fall back on. For instance, in the event validators are unable to come to a two-thirds majority agreement about the state of an auxiliary chain, the ethereum blockchain will be consulted.
Bollen told CoinDesk, “If an auxiliary chain halts and doesn’t reach consensus anymore, we have the alive system of proof-of-work to continue and recover the last committed state.”
What’s more, until 2020, Mosaic will possess a built-in “safety rail” that prevents validators from unstaking tokens and otherwise prematurely leaving transactions unvalidated.
However, the guarantee from OpenST developers is that by the year 2020, Mosaic would be fully decentralized and “the system would be fully released to the validator pool to determine its future.”
They’ll be doing all this, while maintaining their work with a growing client base made up of businesses such as the LGBT Foundation, PassKit and Animoca Brands, among others.
And like most developers, Goldberg and Bollen understand that the work, even with a successful launch, is never done, contending that it’s not just about further developing more comprehensive tokenization solutions for enterprise business, but also about upgrading ethereum to better serve decentralized application developers and users.
According to Bollen, pushing Mosaic as a broader scaling solution is simply about making ethereum “more secure for the future” and giving it “a much longer runway and viability to change the Internet and the way we organize.”
To this end, Goldberg said there may be several scaling solutions implemented that will be “viable and interesting to different types of customers.”
“It’s not about one approach being right or wrong. It’s about having a community body of work that is both improving the ethereum origin chain, as well as, providing options to how to scale on existing ethereum.”