Dan and Radix’s Tech Journey

Beginning with Bitcoin

Down in his coding cave (in reality quite a nice, if messy study, in the back on Dan’s house) Dan started spinning up nodes and spamming his test network to really see what bitcoin and blockchain could do. He did everything from increasing the blocksize to ridiculous numbers, using the top hardware available, to even making mining as cheap as possible. In the end, though, he could still only achieve 700–1,000 transactions per second (TPS) with blockchain. Knowing that Visa on processed up 24,000 TPS and Alipay did over 725,000 transactions on their biggest day of shopping, Dan knew that these speeds would not be enough to achieve the goal of a global payments rail.

Building upwards with blocktrees

Dan’s next thought was if a single chain of blocks could only hit 1,000 TPS could a branching network of blockchains do any better? Catchily named blocktrees this next area of investigation was Dan’s first step into investigating and understanding sharding. The theory was that different branches of the blocktree could have different states of synchronisation, with related transactions being in one branch and unrelated transactions in another.

Doing it with DAGs

You or I may have been deflated by this news, decided to pack it all in and popped down to the pub instead. But not Dan, he got a strong cup of tea, metaphorically rolled up his sleeves (very difficult to do literally when you only wear T-shirts) and decided that he need to think differently. What if instead of transactions being grouped and synchronised in blocks they were dealt with individually? With this in mind, Dan started exploring Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs).

Channelling on with CAST

Whilst Dan had finished that strong tea; it was after all almost a year since Dan first started investigating DAGs and two years since he explored blocktrees; he kept up his positivity as he knew that the learnings from DAGs and blocktrees could apply to other solutions. Such is the way with research, what is that famous Thomas Edison saying?

Table-flip with Tempo

At this point, Dan metaphorically flipped over the table. At least we assume and hope it was metaphorical otherwise it would have created quite a mess within the small coding cave. He decided that instead of iterating and evolving on each solution this problem required a complete rethink. Following lots of brainstorming, blue-sky thinking, and other overused cliches, Dan came up with Tempo.

Charging forward with Cerberus

So what next? Well we picked ourselves up and looked at what from Tempo made it great and we could keep, what we could learn from other research projects and what we’d have to start over. The result of this exercise is Cerberus.

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