NEO has released an update on the current consensus mechanism. DBFT 2.0 is now available, and although it will take some time to fully activate, the update promises to complete transactions much more effectively. NEO creator Erik Zhang announced the news on Twitter:
dBFT2.0, a very important component of NEO 3.0, was developed and released as NEO CLI v2.10.0. It will soon be implemented in TESTNET and then updated on MAINNET. Specifications for dBFT2.0 can be found here: https://t.co/z4B6CPvJst
– Erik Zhang (@neoerikzhang) March 14, 2019
What is DBFT consensus?
All blockchains rely on consensus to decide which blocks are valid. This in turn allows the settlement of transactions. Bitcoin, for example, comes to a consensus through the efforts of many miners who are constantly fighting for new blocks. In contrast, NEO relies on just seven trusted nodes to cooperatively achieve consensus.
Because NEO relies on predefined trusted nodes, it uses delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (DBFT) to achieve consensus. This means that consensus can even be reached indirectly: if some nodes are unavailable or conflicting, NEO can continue to consensus as long as two-thirds of its nodes match.
What changes 2.0?
DBFT 2.0 adheres to the above principles, but also makes some changes. According to a recent paper, NEO encountered earlier consensus problems following the disruption of its nodes. This update forces nodes to commit to a block as soon as they interact with it. It also introduces a recovery mechanism that helps failed nodes get back online.
Basically, these features should make the NEO network much more stable. As NEO Global Development notes, the changes will also make transactions truly irreversible, which is important for commercial applications. Although blockchains can undo errors with great effort, this leads to significant disadvantages, especially for users who handle a large number of transactions.
Zhang said about the upgrade back in January, finding that transactions can be completed in just 15 seconds:
With this improvement, dBFT will have a stricter finality. Users only have to wait for a confirmation (15 seconds) to ensure the irreversibility of transactions and avoid duplication. This is very suitable for financial applications.
– Erik Zhang (@neoerikzhang) January 3, 2019
Competing BFT variants
Although Byzantine Fault Tolerance may be less obvious than other consensus mechanisms, it was created in 1999 and has gained much traction ever since. Many blockchains and projects, including ICON, Tendermint and Ontology, have inherited variations from BFT. Thanks to Avalanche, Bitcoin Cash will soon be able to introduce a secondary capacity for BFT.
However, DBFT is NEO's unique take on the consensus on BFT. DBFT improves on its predecessor by providing one-block finality, which means that transactions become irreversible almost immediately. Of course, every variation of the BFT leads to ideal changes, and the full potential of NEO's latest enhancements only becomes apparent when it is put into service.
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Post source: NEO releases DBFT 2.0 for better transactional validity
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