In most blockchain-based projects, the verification process relies on mining, an energy-intensive process requiring computers to work through fiendishly difficult computations to verify transactions. Can Hedera Hashgraph sidestep that problem by removing mining entirely? We find out below.
What is Hedera Hashgraph?
Hashgraph is not a blockchain in the sense that it’s built on a chain of blocks. It’s best to imagine it as a graph, whereby the speed of verifying transactions goes up as more transactions are added to the network. The name for the technology its based on is, in fact, a DAG — Directed Acyclic Graph.
How does Hedera Hashgraph work?
A council of 39 of the largest, most trusted, multinational corporations from around the world will govern the platform and the software that will run on millions of nodes globally.
To reach consensus, instead of mining, nodes on the Hashgraph gossip with each other, comparing notes on the transaction history of the network.
As the nodes gossip, they select a few “famous witnesses”. Each witness is an event or a transaction and they become famous because they are communicated to the nodes early in the process. The chosen nodes then compare the gossip about these famous witnesses in the majority of nodes.
“So all we do is we just talk the way we talk anyway to send out our transactions, we add a tiny bit of information and it gives us this entire history. The history is called a Hashgraph. It lets you see such incredible amounts of information about who knows what when, then you get consensus for free.” Leemon Baird
The aim is to reach a point known as “strongly seeing” whereby two nodes could, with confidence, predict the decision—or outcome of a vote—by a third node, because they come to the same conclusion at multiple stages of the process.
How is Hedera Hashgraph different to blockchain?
The main difference between Hedera Hashgraph and some blockchain-based platforms, is that it doesn’t require compute-heavy proof of work.
The Advantages of Hedera Hashgraph
Hedera Hashgraph claims to achieve the highest possible level of security, even when malicious actors are present on the network, through a system called aBFT or asynchronous byzantine fault tolerance, that is employed by the nodes.
Hedera Hashgraph is faster than the Bitcoin or Ethereum blockchains because transactions can be entered in parallel, not serially, and has fast latency—it takes only a few seconds for a transaction to be sent out and confirmed (with 100 percent certainty) by the network.
The Hedera Hashgraph platform supports the Ethereum code, Solidity, which is commonly used for smart contracts. By enabling smart contracts, the platform can be used to build apps.
The Disadvantages of Hedera Hashgraph
Hedera Hashgraph hasn't been tested on a public ledger.
There are patents on the technology, so it’s not open source and available for everyone to use.
With its 39 governors, it’s questionable whether hedera Hashtag offers the decentralized solution that blockchain purists clamor for.
Did you know?
Hedera Hashgraph’s co-founders Leemon Baird and Mance Harmon met while they were both in the US Airforce. They have now been working together for 25 years.
What are Hedera Hashgraphs’s aims?
In 2018, Hedera Hashgraph raised $120 million in its token sale. The money will be used to provide cryptocurrency as a service to support micropayments; to develop storage in the form of a distributed file service that apps can use, and to enable contracts—including smart contracts—on its platform.
What companies are using the platform?
- Gaming company alto.io
- Virtual trading platform, TrakInvest
- CULedger, a consortium of North American credit unions
- Open VMS, the operating system that powers critical infrastructure such as nuclear power plants and stock markets.
Hedera Hashgraph is on a journey to become the fastest blockchain. Using a similar system to as IOTA and Tron all use similar systems, it wants to become the go to network for building all projects on.
However, they've got some catching up to do. There are more than a 1,000 cryptocurrencies currently using the blockchain; it has the strength of numbers behind it and is established as medium for smart contracts. Hedera Hashgraph and others like it are going to need to scale quickly and provide a better solution to the incumbent if it's going to be a success.