by Lumai Mubanga
The need for more centralization and a choice of consensus mechanisms are among the critical factors that determine the success of individual enterprise blockchains. There are arguments that this compromises on the security feature as opposed to decentralization and scalability. This article will look at two more examples of enterprise blockchains focusing on consensus mechanisms adopted and other features that promote scalability.
Cosmos is an initiative to connect blockchains together. The focus on blockchain interoperability. For instance, if I want to exchange Bitcoin for Ether, an exchange like Kraken or Coinbase is what will come on my first options. However, cosmos is working on a mechanism that will link different blockchains using one “hub”. This “hub,” according to the design is powered by the consensus mechanism called Tendermint. In addition, Tendermint empowers users with a way to build their own blockchain apps in any language through an interface called “application blockchain interface.” Furthermore, blockchains communicate with each other through the “Inter Blockchain Communication” protocol. Besides, Cosmos and Tendermint can also be used in enterprise contexts on their own merits. Cosmos may provide a way for private blockchains to connect, even if these use different protocols, such as a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain and a Corda blockchain. Tendermint is a prime consensus mechanism for enterprise blockchain networks as well.
It is obvious from the above brief review that this is built for scale as opposed to decentralization, giving a good or obvious difference between the focus of some enterprise blockchains versus that of public blockchains.
Rootstock, a Bitcoin sidechain, aims to integrate smart contracts with the Bitcoin blockchain. It has a two-way peg, essentially, a two-way peg is a method by which data can be transferred between the main chain and a side chain. Rootstock developed out of QixCoin. QixCoin is the first cryptocurrency blockchain with a Turing-complete language, designed to enable peer to peer games.
The QixCoin developers saw Bitcoin as a way to add security to their platform through merge mining, which reuses the mining power of the main chain on a side chain. Rootstock allows its users to write smart contracts that would allow for interaction with the Bitcoin network as well as to increase scalability, using blockchain sharding techniques. It also aims to increase block creation every ten seconds instead of every ten minutes.
Enterprise blockchains often times have an inherent boost in their ability to scale since they work with smaller networks with trust guarantees. For the same reason, enterprise blockchains are less decentralized than public blockchains – and this matches their use case.
The fact that enterprise blockchains are mostly permissioned means that there are also less potential security issues as well. Designing with these three properties – scalability, decentralization, and security – in mind entails further consideration of network architecture and choice of consensus mechanisms.
Thus, while cosmos focuses on blockchain interoperability to scale, rootstock takes advantage of merge mining on the bitcoin network to increase scalability.