The Blockchain Trilemma [ PART 1 ]

Tram Ho

Blockchain is a technology that is growing very fast and widely used globally. However, during its development, blockchain faced an important problem known as “trilemma”. Trilemma blockchain is a concept that indicates that blockchain systems cannot achieve all three factors of security (security), scalability (scalability) and decentralization (decentralization) at the same time.

First introduced by Vitalik Buterin -CEO of Ethereum, the “blockchain impossible trinity” or “scalability impossible trinity” hypothesizes the limitations of blockchain technology. . The scalability impossibility trilogy is based on Eric Brewer’s CAP theorem , which focuses on the limitations of traditional databases. The CAP theorem is a well-defined concept in computer science that examines the relationships between consistency, data availability, and partition tolerance in databases.

The CAP theorem, also known as Brewer’s Theorem, applies a type of logic to distributed systems. It states that a distributed system can only provide two of the three desirable characteristics: consistency, availability, and partition tolerance (‘C,’ ‘ ‘ A’ and ‘P’ in CAP). Consistency means that all clients see the same data at the same time, regardless of which node they connect to. Availability means that any client that requests data receives a response, even if one or more nodes are down. Partition tolerance means that clusters must continue to function despite many communication problems between nodes in the system. Reference link:

The blockchain impossibility trilogy argues similarly to the CAP theorem, there are three core characteristics of blockchains that exist in a zero-sum game. These three characteristics are defined as decentralization, security, and scalability. According to the impossible trinity, most attempts to enhance one of these three traits inevitably result in trade-offs with the others. If “simple” techniques are used, only two of the three properties can be obtained. The three attributes are:

  • Scalability: A blockchain system must be scalable, meaning it can process a large number of transactions quickly and efficiently without compromising security or decentralization.
  • Decentralization: A blockchain system must be decentralized, meaning no central authority controls the network. This ensures that the network is not controlled by a single entity and that transactions are validated by a large number of participants.
  • Security: A blockchain system must be secure and resistant to attacks, ensuring that all transactions on the network are valid and immutable.

Considering three types of “easy solutions” can only get two of the three properties of trilemma.

  1. Traditional blockchains – including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and other similar chains. These tokens rely on every participant running a full node to verify every transaction, and as such, they are decentralized and secure, but not scalable.
  2. High-TPS chains – is a type of blockchain capable of processing a large amount of transactions per second (TPS – Transactions Per Second). This includes chains that use DPoS as well as many others. These chains rely on a small number of nodes (typically 10-100) to maintain consensus, and users must trust the majority of these nodes. This makes the system scalable and secure, however, it does not guarantee distribution.

DPoS stands for “Delegated Proof of Stake”, which is one of the consensus mechanisms used in blockchain systems like EOS…. DPoS is used to ensure the security and validation of transactions. on the blockchain quickly and efficiently. In DPoS, token holders on the blockchain elect representatives to represent them in executing transactions and validating new blocks on the blockchain. Delegates will be elected based on the number of tokens they hold, and these delegates will be given the authority and responsibility to perform the tasks of validating and updating the blockchain.

  1. Multi-chain ecosystems – is a general concept in blockchain, it allows different applications to exist on different chains and use inter-chain communication protocols to exchange information. This makes the system distributed and scalable, but it does not guarantee security, because an attacker only needs to control the majority of consensus nodes in a chain (usually less than 1 % of the whole system) to break that chain and possibly affect other applications on other chains.

So how do current blockchains solve this problem? Is there any solution that meets all 3 elements of Trilemma? Please discuss below, and look forward to reading part 2 of the article.

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Source : Viblo