Every decentralized blockchain network has three core features – scalability, decentralization, and security. But there is a widespread belief that blockchain developers must forgo one component to accommodate the other two at any given time, thus raising the question, which feature should be sacrificed? This theorem is widely known as the Blockchain Trilemma.
Solving this problem could catalyze the global adoption of decentralized networks. And that’s why developers are constantly creating novel layer 1 and layer 2 solutions to improve the balance between scalability, security, and decentralization of blockchain networks. Massa is the latest solution that seeks to improve the Blockchain Trilemma.
What is Massa
Massa is a layer 1 network that aims to disrupt the blockchain industry by solving the famous trilemma through autonomous smart contracts and other innovative solutions. The team behind the project has been silently building since 2017, and the Massa testnet was not publicly released until last year.
Massa Labs, the company behind the Massa protocol, was founded in 2020 by three friends – Sébastien Forestier, Damir Vodenicarevic, and Adrien Laversanne-Finot. Forestier has expertise in artificial intelligence and is the company’s CEO; Vodenicarevic is a theoretical physicist and heads the development and technology team; while Laversanne-Finot has experience in AI and leads the firm’s strategy.
In February 2020, Massa Labs published a technical paper titled Blockclique: Scaling Blockchains through Transaction Sharding in a Multithreaded Block Graph, detailing how blockchains can scale without sacrificing security or decentralization.
In November 2021, the company raised $5.8 million for a private seed round that saw participation from more than 100 individuals and entities.
Features of Massa
Massa’s core features include:
The Blockclique Architecture
Massa designed a new architecture called Blockclique to process thousands of transactions per second without renouncing security or decentralization. The Blockclique architecture is based on transaction sharding in a multithreaded block graph.
Although the Massa testnet currently processes up to 4,000, the project is targeting the 10,000 mark at the end of its testing phase.
DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) Multithreaded
Another component of the Massa protocol is the multithreaded block graph dubbed Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG). DAG is a data modeling tool that records crypto transactions as vertices in parallel threads.
Massa uses block DAG to shard transactions – distributing transactions into smaller partitions. But unlike the few projects that have adopted the block DAG, Massa’s architecture permits transaction blocks to have one parent, thus allowing parallel blocks with compatible transactions.
Autonomous Smart Contracts
This is one of the key innovations of the Massa ecosystem. Autonomous smart contracts can perform pre-determined blockchain operations at any moment.
Currently, decentralized applications (DApps) rely on centralized systems such as cloud infrastructure and networks of bots operators) to automate smart contracts, but the Massa team believes that shouldn’t be the case.
The project is building smart contracts that can execute arbitrary operations autonomously, thus reducing the need for bots and human interaction.
High Nakamoto Coefficient
The Nakamoto Coefficient is a metric used in measuring a network’s decentralization. It represents the minimum number of network validators (nodes) that can work together to disrupt or cause harm to a blockchain. So, the higher the Nakamoto Coefficient relative to the total number of nodes, the higher the decentralization and the lower the risk of disrupting the network.
Unlike many decentralized protocols with a Nakamoto Coefficient below four, Massa is targeting at least 1,000, making it the first decentralized network to do so.
In Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchains, validators stake coins to verify and process transactions, unlike Proof-of-Work (PoS) networks where miners solve complex cryptographic hash puzzles to verify blocks of transactions. This is why PoS is more energy efficient than PoW since validators don’t need to worry about heavy hardware setups.
Massa adopts a Proof-of-Stake Sybil-resistance consensus mechanism to make transactions faster, ensure low energy consumption, and prevent Sybil attacks.
In summary, Massa is a layer 1 network based on a parallel block technology that seeks to solve the Blockchain Trilemma. The project is the first blockchain to build autonomous smart contracts to reduce bots and human interaction with DApps.
Massa aims to process up to 10,000 transactions per second without sacrificing decentralization or security. The protocol also hopes to achieve true decentralization by targeting a Nakamoto coefficient rule above 1,000.
The project is currently on its episode 13 testnet. Massa releases new episodes monthly, and the testnet will run until protocol goes mainnet. The team targets to launch between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023.