0chain Whitepaper

0Chain is a public, permissionless infrastructure cloud designed to host the next-generation of software and services.

Several roadblocks exist in today’s crypto market, as well as the underlying Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) that power them — hindering the maturation process of the blockchain industry. Some are regulatory and security concerns, some involve technical performance, while other issues are related to token economics, valuation metrics, and governance.

Regulators identify a few key shortcomings with regards to the security of crypto assets: poor wallet infrastructure, exchange transparency, and unreliable custody of assets. 0Chain is addressing all of these issues. Today, hardware wallets are clunky and extremely hard to use for an average person, especially for daily utility. Software wallets are notoriously prone to hacking, unless you can memorize your private key. Our software-based secure wallet is the world’s first to enable a 2-device authentication; it makes transactions simple and yet highly secure with just a mobile device and a laptop.

The finality for Bitcoin is about 1 hour; Ethereum is about 3-10 minutes — something that is still too slow for a micropayment transaction and verification. We aim to address this problem. 0ChainNet is a high speed blockchain with block finality achieved within 0.5 to 1.5 seconds (depending on network latency) (John’s comment: This is actually below 1 second at the moment!), highly scalable with throughput rates of over 1,000 transactions per second, and energy efficient by way of our unique Proof of Stake protocol. We have proven these results on a public test network of 10 worldwide data centers and have completed over 6 billion transactions to verify reliability.

An Ethereum node mines a block, stores the block, and stores associated unstructured data, all on the same node. This same node handles transactions and queries from the same client. This architecture makes the node very expensive, slow and unscalable. 0Chain architecture allows for separation of duties to specific designated nodes, called miners, sharders, and blobbers. Miners receive transactions from users and they generate blocks via the consensus protocol, Sharders store these blocks and respond to queries on transactions and blocks, and Blobbers store unstructured data. This architecture allows for off-the-shelf cheap hardware (making it inexpensive to support the network as a node), faster response rates, and better scalability.

The value of ZCN is mathematically related to the data stored and other services on the network, unlike other cryptocurrency. Expensive transaction fees and the volatility of native blockchain cryptocurrencies is an unresolved problem for today’s public blockchain networks. To address this pain point, 0Chain’s native cryptocurrency (ZCN) is uniquely programmed as an asset-backed token. When a user locks their ZCN, these tokens collect an “interest” which can be used toward payment of transactions or data services. Through this interest-bearing feature, the transaction fee is absorbed by the interest generated on the locked tokens. Additionally, 0ChainNet’s core service — data storage — is also enabled by locked tokens. Upon locking, a storage service can be activated and the extent of service is determined by the number of tokens locked by the user (for more details refer to section 3.2). In both of these services, the initial locked tokens are fully redeemable upon unlocking, thus facilitating free services on the network. It’s free because the network mints these tokens and is part of the inflation and underlying token economics. Storage and transaction services have a quantifiable, real world market value. Conversely, it’s frequently argued that other popular native blockchain cryptocurrencies (such as BTC, ETH, etc.) in their current state lack such an economic value beyond raw speculation. This creates a challenging process for accurate price discovery of cryptocurrencies, resulting in price volatility. 0Chain has programmed value economics into the ZCN token to curb price volatility. The lower bound value of the ZCN token can be mathematically estimated based on the number of tokens locked relative to the demand or usage of data storage and transaction services (for more details refer to section 3.4). In other words, ZCN is backed by an allocation of transaction and data storage services, thus injecting a non-speculative, integral value into the ZCN token. The asset-backed nature of ZCN can buttress its market value and reduce its price volatility unlike other popular native cryptocurrencies.

Upgrades in the context of a protocol are not just unavoidable, but critical. The mechanisms being used by public blockchains to initiate protocol upgrades leave a lot to be desired. Today, changes are slow, and occasionally result in a contested fork; which can have dire implications, as evidenced by the divisive chain splits seen on the Ethereum and Bitcoin networks. 0Chain governance enables a fast but fair approach to all issues, ranging from configurable changes to major code upgrades.

Today’s blockchain solutions for the enterprise market are disjointed. While HyperLedger, Corda, and Ethereum platforms provide a barebones blockchain (or block-less in the case of Corda), they do not solve issues regarding governance, profit sharing, addition/removal of consortium members, and verifiable storage of data. Most of the latter issues need to be developed, verified, and agreed upon by all parties so that they can trust the blockchain system. Thus, it is not simple for enterprises to transition to a blockchain system and roll-out new products on it. In addition, the notion of a private blockchain in a datacenter under the control of a central party (or developed by such) always has the nagging complaint of being a glorified version of a traditional centralized system. And so, it is likely that a centralized blockchain system is a good transition market for enterprise products before they move to the public chain in the future. 0Chain provides a suite of protocols that addresses all of these issues, and so enterprise private chains can use 0Chain to abstract out the infrastructure and protocols, in order to develop and market new applications at a faster pace.

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