One issue with one block chain is that it needs to be globally synchronized. One way to elevate this would be to use multiblock chains.

Namely, we can imagine that there are N block chains, working in parallel. To make double spending impossible, a you can only spend a total of 1/N of your total money on each chain. (If they need to spend more, you can do so on multiple chains. This is slower, but hopefully you don't need to do that as often. If, for example, there 10 chains, you have 100 units, and you are buying something for 15 units, you would spend 10 on one chain and 5 on another.)

After about 10 blocks or so (specifically when it happens is unspecified for now), a meta-block is mined that ties the chains together. This resets the 1/N limit, and allows money earned on one block to spent on the others. Otherwise, it would just be N different currencies.

Each individual block chain can go faster, since they will involve only 1/N of the community. More total blocks also means miners are rewarded more often, and more spread out.

Would this work? Would it verify transactions more often? Do any currencies currently use this?

  • By faster verification, do you mean that there would be less time until the first confirmation, or that the Bitcoin network would be able to process more transactions per second, or both? – Nick ODell May 7 '16 at 1:21
  • @NickODell both – PyRulez May 7 '16 at 1:22
  • There are ideas along these lines. "Sharding" is one name for this. Naïve versions don't work (I don't have enough details to make this into an answer). One problem is that in Bitcoin the PoW hashing is important for security: splitting the miners into 2 separate networks results in less than half of the security for each part. Partly because each network will have a certain number of orphan blocks, combined more than one big network would have. But also because 51% attacks on one shard is easier than on the whole. I think Peter Todd has some sharding proposals with some tweaks that might work – Jannes May 7 '16 at 2:55

I'm not sure this is the right forum for this sort of discussion, but I'm not a mod.

Anyways, decreasing the transactions in a chain does nothing to make block creation faster. That is a hard-coded target in the code. If the hashing power goes down, the difficulty goes down, and it all balances back at 10 minutes. There's no benefit in terms of confirmation speed from your proposal.

Total hashing power is also a big factor of overall security. With your proposal, instead of 1 chain with with hashing power of X, you have N chains each with hashing power of X/N. It means that the cost to attack a single chain with a 51% attack decreases by a factor of N. That's not good.

This also does nothing to solve the problem of centralization of mining power. Big mining pools will simply diversify their hashing power across all N chains, giving them the same proportional control they currently have. No benefit there.

Given the complexity that will be required to re-sync the chains, and not really getting any benefit from it, I would say that this idea would not work.

I think you may be interested in a similar concept called sidechains. You should give that a read, since it might be what you are after. If you are more interested in instant transactions, I think you would find the Lightning Network interesting.

  • The reason block creation is set at 10 minutes is to allow the network to resync. Multiple block chains could all go at 10 minutes each, since they don't have to resync with each other. – PyRulez Jun 19 '16 at 22:47

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