IOHK to Unveil Hydra - Cardano Scalling Protocol

Hydra off-chain protocol allows to implement a number of new features, including micropayments and insurance contracts
25 March 2020   244

The developer of the Cardano blockchain project, IOHK, announced Wednesday the release of the Ouroboros Hydra off-chain protocol. It is expected to scale the blockchain while maintaining low latency and minimal data storage requirements for nodes.

Hydra allows to implement a number of new features, including micropayments and insurance contracts. Preparations for today's release have been ongoing for five years.

Hydra is one of the key elements of the IOHK plan for creating a highly scalable blockchain. It is described as a second-level scaling solution based on the existing Cardano blockchain. Hydra provides horizontal scalability, not vertical scalability, which is achieved by improving hardware. It is assumed that this approach is the maximum possible compromise between scaling, speed, geographical distribution of participants and their number.

With the connection of each new user, Hydra receives 10 additional “goals” or channels for transferring data and transactions. Each such "head" can process about 1,000 transactions per second. In the future, it is planned to further optimize the process. In theory, this will allow you to reach a bandwidth that exceeds the performance of existing global payment systems, such as Visa.

Our Ouroboros Hydra solution is the result of a colossal international research effort, spanning five years, that aimed to solve the security and scalability problems affecting blockchain. Once implemented, it will allow the Cardano blockchain platform to scale to process more transactions than any other blockchain or traditional payment system. IOHK’s Ouroboros whitepaper is a capstone of our team’s research and has been cited more than 1000 times. It forms an essential part of Cardano’s ultimate goal of creating a blockchain based global financial and social operating system.


Charles Hoskinson


Potentional Vulnerabilities Found in ETH 2.0

Least Authority have found potentional security issues in the network P2P interaction and block proposal system
26 March 2020   224

Technology security firm Least Authority, at the request of the Ethereum Foundation, conducted an audit of the Ethereum 2.0 specifications and identified several potential vulnerabilities at once.

Least Authority said that developers need to solve problems with vulnerabilities in the network layer of peer-to-peer (P2P) interaction, as well as in the block proposal system. At the same time, the auditor noted that the specifications are "very well thought out and competent."

However, at the moment there is no large ecosystem based on PoS and using sharding in the world, so it is impossible to accurately assess the prospects for system stability.
Also, information security experts emphasized that the specifications did not pay enough attention to the description of the P2P network level and the system of records about Ethereum nodes. Vulnerability risks are also observed in the block proposal system and the messaging system between nodes.

Experts said that in the blockchains running on PoS, the choice of a new block is simple and no one can predict who will get the new block. In PoS systems, it is the block proposal system that decides whose block will fall into the blockchain, and this leads to the risk of data leakage. To solve the problem, auditors suggested using the mechanism of "Single Secret Leader Election" (SSLE).

As for the peer-to-peer exchange system, there is a danger of spam. There is no centralized node in the system that would evaluate the actions of other nodes, so a “malicious" node can spam the entire network with various messages without any special punishment. The solution to this problem may be to use special protocols for exchanging messages between nodes.