RaiBlocks – Fast, Feeless, Minerless.

RaiBlocks is a novel crypto-asset utilizing an unconventional structure of discrete, user-held blockchains (i.e. each account, ,designated by its public-key, is itself a blockchain and chooses which other chains to do business with, while carrying responsibility for updating his own) within a DAG (directed acyclic graph) architecture of what is colloquially referred to as “block lattice”.

RaiBlocks (XRB) delivers instantaneous split-second transactions (about 30 seconds across all the hops on kucoin exchange as of the writing of this) with (at least theoretically) unlimited scalability and the doing away with mining/miners.

The strange name (pronounced “ray blocks”) is an ironic wink referring to the Rai Stones from Yap, probably the most cumbersome, inconvenient and wildly impractical currency of exchange in the history of man.

(Rai stone at the Bank of Canada Currency Museum in Ottawa)

The irony here is kind of three-fold as it can be taken to refer to the sluggishness of conventional distributed linear blockchain architecture, and the fact that XRB is so designed as to be low-tech and low energy cost system along the lines of the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) and UNIX philosophy (their motto: “Do one thing and do it right”) while being highly efficient in what it strives to deliver.

As mentioned above, each user is in a way himself a ‘miner’ (solving of simple captchas as an anti-spam mechanism, the usage of delegated voting and representitives in case of conflict resolution, as opposed to high energy consumption) and responsible for updating his blockchain, which is instant and asynchronous to the rest of the network (whenever you pop up online, that is).

The delegated balance-weighted voting procedure is a decentralization tool with no other strong analog in either PoW or PoS protocols.

Another unique aspect of XRB is that transactions keep track of account balances rather than transaction amounts which allows for aggressive database pruning without compromising security.

Furthermore, the XRB protocol is light-weight, fitting the required minimum UDP transmission packet size, capable (as mentioned) of running on low-power hardware with minimal resources, no specialized mining hardware and ability to process high transaction throughput, making it ideal for practical everyday use.

The first RaiBlocks paper and implementation were published in December 2014, making it one of the first ‘cryptocurrency’ to break the linear-successive blockchain paradigm as its next evolutionary step, with ByteBall and IOTA having followed soon after.

To be exact, blockchains like Bitcoin are a special sub-case of the more general DAG category.

There’s four basic components to the RaiBlocks (XRB) system:

  1. The account, which is the public-key portion of the digital signature key-pair.
  1. The block, or transaction — the terms often used interchangably, with the transaction referring to the action, while the block is the digitally encoded footprint of the transaction.
  1. The ledger, which is a unique characteristic of XRB, is the global set of accounts where the run-time agreement is replaced with a design-time agreement, namely the manner in which only an account owner can modify their own chain whenever logging on into the network. Thus, a seemingly shared database is remodelled into a set of non-shared database structures.
  1. The Node is a machine running a piece of software that conforms to the XRB protocol. A node may be storing the entire ledger or, more often, a pruned history that contains only the last few blocks of each account’s blockchain.

The genesis account contains the whole fixed balance (i.e., is “pre-mined”) which can never be increased and is from there on subtracted and divided between other accounts via registered valid and non-conflicting transactions. The total sum of all balances can never exceed the original genesis balance.

The genesis balance is kept in cold storage in a bank secure box and blocks move from the genesis to a landing account every once in a week in order to minimize the number of live undistributed blocks.

Transactions take place by users creating two blocks: a send block on their personal blockchain and a receive block on the recipient’s. Users receive funds by “pocketing” the outstanding receive blocks to their blokchain, and users don’t have to be online to receive funds.

One could only imagine what the implications of this might be for things like forex, high-frequency trading, arbitrages across exchanges and just simply the moving of assets across borders and around the globe.

RaiBlock’s white paper is an example of how to write a white paper. Concise, readable, straight to the point, 8 pages long. The wallet pretty much following the same design rationales.

With a few clever hacks and a team of just 5 developers (among which one of PayPal’s software engineers) and attracting a community and culture of similar like-minded people in its orbit (some of which making generous contributons and donations), RaiBlocks is quickly climbing the ladder by market capitalization (22th) and just might hit the top 5 by end of the year (stranger things have happened, after all).

The team is also honest about the possible attack vectors and gravity of their risk (low to moderate, one can read more about it here: https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks/wiki/Attacks)

XRB uses a 128 bit integer representing of account balances defined in a set of prefixes to make it all more readable and avoid confusion. The reference wallet uses Mxrb as a divider.

Gxrb = 1000000000000000000000000000000000, 10^33
Mxrb = 1000000000000000000000000000000, 10^30
kxrb = 1000000000000000000000000000, 10^27
xrb = 1000000000000000000000000, 10^24
mxrb = 1000000000000000000000, 10^21
uxrb = 1000000000000000000, 10^18

1 Mxrb is referred to as Mrai, and 1 raw is the smallest possible division.

At the beginning of the month XRB had hit a price in the neighborhood of 30$, currently having dropped down to ~13$ due to problems and overload with the small exchanges on which it is bought and traded.

Kucoin is currently the main exchange, expected to be listed on Binance by the end of the month.

Martin Banov8 Posts

Martin previously studied Biology and Chemistry, but then ended up in the IT industry (things Infosec and cryptography related, often) and then a whole lot of other kinds of work across a number of different countries throughout the last decade (Czech, Israel, Taiwan..). As of the past 2 years or so have gotten increasingly obsessed with the cyclical/rhythmic behaviors of the markets, historical processes, and media studies/technology in a kind of Marshall McLuhan/Bruno Latour gist of looking at things.


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