What is Hashgraph?
The Hashgraph is a consensus protocol because it provides a distributed consensus platform.
It allows community users to generate transactions, and agree on the order in which they did the transactions, in an environment where everyone trusts no single user.
The Hashgraph can achieve a consensus, and still be fast, fair, provable, efficient and inexpensive.
In this guide, we are going to look at how it’s able to achieve those characteristics and how the technology differs from the blockchain technology used to run cryptocurrencies.
Speed of Hashgraph
Unlike the blockchain, the Hashgraph’s speed of transacting is only limited by the bandwidth of all nodes.
If each node can download 5000 transactions per second, which will be the number of transactions the system will be able to handle ever second.
That would only be a few Megabits per second, which is the internet connection speed of an average home. Such a speed would be able to facilitate transactions for the entire Visa Card network.
The Bitcoin network can only do 7 transactions per second, which obviously needs to be improved by say increasing using a mega block. However, that will put a greater load on the network nodes.
The Hashgraph is fair because no single node can manipulate the transactions.
That means there is no way for an individual to control which instruction is going to occur, and which one is to be postponed.
In a blockchain, a miner is allowed to choose what to include and what to discard in their block. If two people say Peter and Paul are transacting, a blockchain miner can choose to carry Peter’s transaction and drop Paul’s, but in a Hashgraph platform, an individual must include both transactions in the order they were received.
Therefore, in Hashgraph, the best that Paul and Peter can do is to invest in a fast connection. Whoever has a faster connection will have their transaction processed first.
Hashgraph is Verifiable
The transactions from the Hashgraph are provable because once a transaction occurs; it only takes a few minutes before everyone in a community knows where the transactions will be queued in the ledger.
Moreover, everyone will be aware that the whole community knows about it, and therefore, implement the changes caused by the transaction, and discard it.
There is no need to keep the record in their ledger for life. That’s why unlike Bitcoin’s 160 GB blockchain, Hashgraph’s platform only needs a device to have less than one gig of storage.
Therefore, you can use a typical phone to run the Hashgraph platform.
Is Hashgraph Byzantine?
The term technical term Byzantine means that no small group of members or single member can stop a community from reaching a consensus.
Furthermore, once a consensus has been reached, the smaller group or individual cannot change it, and every member will know eventually learn the network has reached a consensus.
Blockchain doesn’t guarantee a Byzantine agreement; each member never gets to a point where they believe they have reached a consensus.
For example, if a group of miner cut-off from the rest of the internet from a few minutes, the can easily reach a consensus within a short time.
Hashgraph is ACID Compliant
The Hashgraph is considered an ACID compliant because it’s used as a distributed database.
The Hashgraph helps members of a community to agree on the order in which transactions occurred, and list them accordingly.
If each local database is Atomic, Consistent, Isolated, and Durable, then the whole community is said to have a distributed but single database with the same properties.
In contrast, nodes running the blockchain technology are never certain a consensus has been achieved across the whole network.
However, if we were to consider a minimum of six confirmations as achieving “certainty,” then a blockchain would also be considered to be ACID compliant.
Hashgraph is Efficient & Cheap
In Hashgraph, no effort is wasted. That’s because the list of transactions or what’s equivalent to a “block” in the blockchain, is never discarded by the community.
All “blocks” are utilized to reach a consensus.
Also, the need for proof-of-work makes the blockchain technology expensive to run when the mining power of the community increases.
The proof-of-work is a series of calculations that are fulfilling any other purpose apart from slowing down the community in generating new blocks. Since Hashgraph doesn’t require proof-of-work, no “blocks” are wasted, and it’s therefore 100% efficient.
Hashgraph is Timestamped
In Hashgraph, each transaction receives a time stamp that is an average of the time it was received by each community member.
That timestamp guarantees it’s provable and Byzantine. The timestamp remains reliable as long as the participating members are running reliable clocks on the mining machines.
In contrast, the blockchain only uses the timestamp of the machine that mined the block that was accepted by the 50+1 mining power.
The timestamp consensus is useful in the smart contract because it helps to determine if an event met a deadline or not.
Hashgraph is Safe From DoS Attacks
The Hashgraph is resistant to DoS because an attack on one member of the network will not stop the rest of the community from continuing processing transactions successfully.
A total DoS attack on a Hashgraph requires the attacker to attack all members at once, which is prohibitively expensive. The Blockchain is resistant to DoS attack, also, but it attempts to avoid proof-of-work using the round robin or leaders system makes it vulnerable to it.
The attack only needs to be able to predict the current leader, attack them, identify the next one just before the handover, and attack them as well. The Hashgraph isn’t vulnerable to such attacks and doesn’t need proof-of-work.
Hashtag is Non-Permissioned
The Hashgraph is non-permissioned, although it doesn’t require proof-of-work.
For example, it allows members to vote according to their ownership stake or proof-of-stake. That stops Sybill attacks, where attackers use large hordes of fake accounts to prevent the system from reaching a consensus.
Therefore, it remains secure without the use of proof-of-work. In a permissioned system, only members who have been vetted are allowed to participate.
Overall, the Hashgraph is designed to be fair, and Byzantine.
No effort is wasted, as each transaction list created by each community member is eventually reconciled with other transactions, making it fast, and efficient as well.
Furthermore, since there are no historical records of transactions going on, the Hashgraph does not require expensive hardware or a huge storage capacity; it can run on a smartphone or an old PC.
However, because it discards “old blocks” once a transaction is verified, it doesn’t keep a record of the details as blockchain does. To some, this might be a deal breaker. What about you?