High Speed and Scalable
Every wallet address has its own independent blockchain. Transactions only need to be added to the blockchains of the two parties involved in the transaction, ie. the sender and receiver. This allows transactions between different users to occur independently and simultaneously resulting in a transaction throughput many orders of magnitude greater than current blockchains. If we assume the only bottleneck to transaction throughput is the blockchain architecture, it grows linearly with the number of wallets on the network. Thus, the blockchain architecture of the Helios protocol is infinitely scalable. That said, once we have eliminate the blockchain architecture bottleneck, that limits other blockchain projects, there will inevitably be other bottlenecks that present themselves at higher transaction throughputs. One such bottleneck is the sheer computational power of the nodes. Modern processors can only process so many transactions per second. The exact number depends on the programming language, processor model, and efficiency, but is expected to be in the 1000 to 10,000 tx/sec range with current affordable hardware. However, as computer hardware technology improves, and processors become faster, so will the throughput of our blockchain. We have essentially tied the scaling of the Helios Protocol, with the scaling of computer hardware. If you consider how massive the computer hardware market is, and how much demand there is for faster hardware, it is clear to see that things will reliably scale year after year.
Furthermore, the parallel blockchain architecture is extremely well suited for sharding. This will allow the transaction throughput to approximately scale by the number of shards on the network. If we have just 10 shards, we have no increased the transaction throughput, with current hardware, to between 10,000 and 100,000 tx/sec.
As a brief exercise, let's consider the scenario at some time in the future a few years from now, where computer hardware is no longer the bottleneck. Let us assume and the Helios protocol has 30 million wallets, which is approximately the number of Ethereum wallets as of now, and each blockchain could process 15 tx/sec, which is the approximate speed of a single Ethereum blockchain. The transaction throughput of the Helios protocol for this scenario can be calculated by
TX-throughput = 30000000/2 x 15,
where the first term is the number of wallet addresses divided by 2 because there are 2 wallets involved in each transaction, and the second term is the transaction rate of each blockchain. This results in a Helios protocol transaction throughput of 225 million tx/sec. We can compare this to Bitcoin's 4 tx/sec or Ethereum's 15 tx/sec in which case the Helios protocol is on the order of 50 to 20 million times higher throughput, respectively.
Secondly, wallets are allowed to add new transactions and blocks to their own blockchain at any time they choose. This allows transactions to take place on demand. There is no longer the need to wait for the next block to be mined like a traditional blockchain. So not only is the transaction throughput increased, the transaction latency is decreased as well.
Low Transaction Fees
Transaction fees are necessary to help fund rewards for full nodes who are required to maintain the Helios network. Without transaction fees, rewards would have to come entirely from newly minted coins which would lead to an increased rate of inflation and devalue the coin. Transaction fees are also necessary to stop a penny-spend attack where users send a very large number of small transactions to overload the network. That said, the Helios protocol will have many orders of magnitude lower fees as compared to traditional blockchain projects for the following reasons:
High transaction fees on the traditional blockchain occur because there is a limited number of transactions that can fit into each block. The transactions with highest fees are added before others which causes users to pay higher fees to make sure their transactions are added to a block as quickly as possible. This results in competition amongst users which drives transaction fees upwards. The high transaction throughput of the Helios protocol, and its ability to process transactions concurrently, completely eliminates this competition.
The Helios consensus mechanism, which lacks PoW, allows nodes to run on inexpensive, energy efficient hardware (see the energy efficiency section below). This dramatically reduces the upfront and continuing costs to run a node. So, the rewards required for nodes to generate the same income as they would with other PoW coins are also dramatically lower. This allows Helios to remain lucrative in comparison to PoW coins even with smaller rewards for nodes. The cost savings from having to pay less rewards to nodes is transferred directly to the users of the network via lower transaction fees.
Smart contract and dApp platform
The Helios platform will be capable of executing smart contracts and dApps programmed in Solidity just like the Ethereum platform. This will allow for accelerated adoption of the Helios platform by existing developers. It will also allow for seamless migration of Ethereum based dApps to the Helios platform. Furthermore, we are allocating a large percentage of HLS tokens to a dApp incubator fund to support new visionary projects built on the Helios platform.
Security and Immutability
The Helios consensus mechanism, which is based on both PoS and the very well understood physics of magnetism, is able to provide security an immutability to the same degree as PoW. It also provides additional measures not seen in PoW that increase security further.
Each wallet address has its own blockchain, and the wallet must sign all blocks on the chain. This makes it impossible for anyone to edit the contents of another wallet’s blockchain. Therefore, if a block or transaction is changed after reaching consensus, there is immediate proof that it was changed by the owner wallet. This allows the network to immediately identify the offending wallet and slash their funds. The amount of funds that are slashed are chosen to completely eliminate the economic incentive to break the protocol rules.
See the consensus mechanism section of the technical whitepaper for more details.
The new Helios consensus mechanism doesn’t require mining which dramatically reduces the energy consumption. We can walk through a quick calculation to see just how much more efficient we expect it to be as compared to Bitcoin:
To compare apples to apples, lets assume the Helios network has the same number of fullnodes as Bitcoin, which is approximately 10,000. (https://bitnodes.earn.com/dashboard/?days=730) We will assume each Helios fullnode is running an AMD Ryzen 1700, which is much more than enough processing power, and is not even the most efficient option. In this case, each node will draw around 100 - 130W from the wall. (https://www.bit-tech.net/reviews/tech/amd-ryzen-7-1700-review/6/) In this case, the annual energy usage of the Helios protocol will be between 0.011 and 0.0087 TWh:
100W x 10,000 Nodes X 8760 hours = 0.0087 TWh
130W x 10,000 Nodes X 8760 hours = 0.011 TWh
The annual energy usage of Bitcoin is currently estimated to be 66 TWh. (https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption) Therefore, the Helios protocol will use approximately 6000 and 9000 times less energy than the Bitcoin network with the same number of fullnodes.
Truly Decentralized and Democratic
Blockchain technology was originally developed with a guiding principle of decentralization. Decentralization is in the blood of any true blockchain project. The Helios protocol is determined to preserve this principle and provide a truly decentralized blockchain protocol.
The Helios protocol achieves a high level of decentralization by allowing any individual to participate and vote in the consensus process no matter how small their stake may be. Unlike delegated PoS, our consensus mechanism doesn’t require electing representatives or delegates to vote on your behalf.
PoW naturally results in some degree of centralization of power because it is more profitable to have a very large mining facility as compared to a single mining rig that an average person might have. Furthermore, the miners have the power to choose which transactions get added to each block. The Helios consensus mechanism eliminates both of these sources of the potential centralization of power.
With traditional blockchains, the order of transactions is determined by the miner who mines the block. This means the sender and receiver don’t know when their transaction will actually take place and just need to wait patiently until it gets added to the blockchain. As mentioned earlier, this can lead to centralization of power, and gas wars. With the Helios blockchain, every wallet is allowed to add a block with transactions to their own blockchain at any time they wish. Effectively, each wallet gets to “mine” a block at any time, and also choose the order of the transactions within the block. This gives the power back to the 2 parties involved with each transaction and eliminates the possibility of a central power choosing the order of transactions. Once the sender and receiver of a transaction has included it in each of their blockchains, the transaction is complete.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for normal people to participate in ICO's which are becoming exclusive to a small number of wealthy investors. This also results in a small number of people holding a large stake which reduces the level of decentralization and democracy within the protocol.
In the spirit of decentralization and democracy, we have chosen to not have an ICO. The Helios project is entirely self funded and bootstrapped. We will give away almost all of our tokens as bounty rewards, airdrops, and to fund dApp developers over a period of 3 years. Firstly, this will give everyone equal opportunity to participate in the project and ensure the tokens are distributed to a large number of individuals for improved democracy. Secondly, we will be rewarding, among others, strong community members, hard working developers, and social media influencers who help build the Helios community, project, and dApp ecosystem. These are the individuals who matter most in creating sustainable growth of a decentralized blockchain platform. By rewarding them, we will also accelerate the growth and adoption of the Helios protocol.