ALEPHIUM: Blockflow for Scalable Cryptocurrency?


What Is ALEPHIUM?

ALEPHIUM is building the first scalable platform that supports cross-shard transactions natively. The platform proposes a novel sharding algorithm that supports cross-shard transactions natively without using locks or other synchronization mechanisms. With its new technology, Alephium commits transactions in parallel to the network, achieving more than 10,000 TPS with low transaction fees.

The project decomposes smart contract into token protocol to enable developers to build scalable blockchain applications easily. The operational aspect of the token could be automated using a dedicated scripting language.

ALEPHIUM Platform Protocol

Alephium believes that in general, it's impossible to scale smart contracts to work efficiently with sharding algorithms. However, it's possible to scale the most useful functionalities while keeping the other functionalities still available in a non-scaling setup. In Alephium, the aim is to decompose smart contracts into token part and data part.

Both tokens and data are easily scalable, but the cost is that it loses some generality. All the same, the platform plans to support smart contracts in specific shards for the cases where developers really need powerful contracts such as turning complete contracts. Importantly, Alephium gives a high-level description of its protocols in plain English.

In its protocol, Alephium supports the creation and removal of customized tokens. As has happened in recent years, tokens are crucial for the adoption of blockchain protocols. In its design, it aims to make token creation as easy as possible. At the same time, it doesn’t want people to abuse token creation leaving many null coins in the system.

For each token creation, the creator needs to burn a specific number of coins. In addition, every customized token has an expiry date, which depends on how many coins were burnt during the creation, in order to further reduce storage and computation cost.

ALEPHIUM Features

With its new consensus algorithm and protocols, Alephium aims to achieve scalability for both data and computation. It introduces several useful features in this section to make the system even more practical and sustainable:

Multi-Signature

For all the data submitted and token exchanges in its protocol, there could be multiple owners and multiple signatures. This feature could be used for security reason, but it could also be used to represent ownership. Although each chain involves at most two user groups to participate in, it's not really a problem to support multiple signatures in general. Users could create new accounts in specific address group easily.

Expiry Date

All the data and customized token have an expiry date, which could be represented as timestamp or block heights. If data expires, the network no longer stores it; it removes it from history. If a customized token expires, the network either discards if it's not convertible or gets converted automatically otherwise. Expiration date provides limited functionality of garbage collection.

Protocols And Applications

Lock Time: An UTXO could be locked by setting a lock time for it. Alephium makes lock time as a built-in feature for UTXOs because it's useful in many real scenarios.

Pricing model: The whole PoW network is a game between users, miners, and protocol. In order to keep this game in a good shape, it's crucial to design a reasonable economic model for it. Alephium focuses on how to price transactions and data.

This is relatively simple, as there is no need to price computation. Therefore, the platform considers simply the size and the expiry date of the transactions and data submitted.

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