RChain Blog

Blockchain Gets Lean and Accessible

By Steve Henley, Tomislav Grospic, Rao Bhamidipati

Photo by Jonathan Petersson from Pexels

Last Finalized State Implementation

RChain, a blockchain consumer cooperative based in Seattle, Washington, recently achieved a technical milestone with the implementation of Last Finalized State (LFS).

What exactly is LFS?

Let’s break it down.

The genesis block is the first block of any blockchain.  The RChain genesis block, for instance, was created on February 24th, 2020 with the launch of mainnet.  Since that time new blocks have been created, one on top of each other, building the blockchain. The first epoch of 250,000 blocks was completed in June 2020.  The second epoch of 250,000 blocks finished in September 2020.  As a result of this constant growth and expansion of the chain of blocks, it has become increasingly more difficult for node validators to set up a node and become an exact mirror image of all other nodes on the network.  This process of updating to be identical to other nodes is commonly referred to as achieving current state.  

With LFS new node validators can quickly arrive at the current state.

The promise of a scalable blockchain platform will soon be realized.

How is this possible?

With LFS RChain can now remove the blocks from the blockchain (for instance, a group of 250,000 blocks) which in turn lightens the blockchain. Having far fewer blocks to process for update creates greater efficiency which allows new node validators to quickly arrive at the current state.   Any valid finalized block can serve as a genesis block for a fresh node validator as a starting point for LFS. The finalized block is validated by a majority of validators (by Casper consensus rules) and its child blocks cannot change this fact.

Another way to think of LFS is that it is a pointer to ‘the basis sufficient for required proof’ which keeps moving forward as blocks are created. LFS requires you to go back only a few blocks, rather than all the way back to the genesis block.

Why is LFS important?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from individuals who live in the European Union (EU).  As a result, Europeans have the right to be forgotten in accordance with GDPR rules.  LFS allows an immutable blockchain that can potentially record information forever to delete an individual’s personal data and be in compliance with GDPR.

Legacy Data Niche

The removal and archival of data creates business opportunities.  Consider the business model for archiving extremely old data.  In the year 2030 RChain mainnet will have generated 10 years worth of data.  This data could potentially be stored in a specialized database.  Although this data would be seldom searched, it still holds value.  Because of this value customers would pay a premium for data access.

Data with Regulatory Considerations

Data removed due to GDPR regulatory compliance presents another business opportunity.  In this scenario data removed from the blockchain goes to a specialized database with GDPR compliance.  Data oversight and retrieval are governed by GDPR laws.  Due to the regulatory risks associated with this business model customers would pay a premium to search the data.

Industry Specific Data Solutions

Solution providers who specialize in specific industries generate industry specific data which could form as the basis for search, analysis and predictive analytics.  Due to the specialized characteristics of the data there would be a premium for data access.

Open Source Community Data

In the open source community developers are able to harness their collective abilities to achieve greater outcomes.  Access to archived open source data generated by open source projects could be made available for search, analysis and predictive analytics.  Archived open source data could be part of a broader ecosystem of observer nodes, testnets, child shards and development tools available to grow the open source community.

Summary

The arrival of LFS is another set forward for both RChain and the entire blockchain sector.  As an innovative technology in the tech world, blockchain is finding its place as it continues to grow and mature.  The days of being called a “fancy database” will be in the past.  While addressing pressing problems with real solutions and use cases are in the present and future. 

Decentralized Network Roadmap

Next on the RChain technical milestone checklist is block merge followed by the proof of stake (PoS) contract update.  With their completion the RChain platform will gain additional performance and allow for node validators to join the network.  The promise of a scalable blockchain platform will soon be realized.