Dash is a cryptocurrency that has always focused their attention on the Point-of-Sale problem. If you wanted to pay for a pizza with cryptocurrency, how would you do it? This question has motivated them to create things like simple wallet addresses, and focus on the adoption of their crypto by expanding Dash-compatible ATMs around the world.
Although both Dash and Bitcoin rely on a Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm to verify new blocks, Dash added another component to their network: masternodes. Crypto masternodes are responsible for doing the grunt work for their networks, and also make it possible to offer many additional features not available on traditional blockchains.
Dash is currently leagues ahead of other masternode cryptocurrencies in terms of node worth, which is just shy of $190,000 at the time of writing.
As trendsetters of the niche, they recently announced the introduction of Long Living Masternode Quorums (LLMQs), which are designed to solve key limitations within previous masternode models.
Scalability Issues for Masternode Quorums
LLMQs are Dash’s response to the scalability issues they’ve struggled with throughout the evolution of their company. To understand what LLMQs are, first one must understand what a masternode quorum is.
Simply put in a Dash blog post:
A quorum is a collection of entities that are able to vote on something. Every member is generally allowed to vote only once. If >= 51% vote for the same thing, majority is reached. Something either got the majority of votes or not, there should be nothing in between.
The entire network benefits from removing ambiguity on specific nodes, which ultimately creates faster transaction speeds for the end user. However, using traditional masternode quorums will limit the scalability of instant transactions.
Since each individual vote needs to be propagated across the entire system, the entire network is strained with each transaction.
The Long Living Masternode Quorum Solution
As the name implies, the new quorum models will be long-lasting, while potentially being large in size in order to enhance security. Using LLMQs would mean only the quorum members experience an increase in required resources, rather than the entire network.
Since there are multiple LLMQs active at any given time, the network load would remain evenly distributed.
The size of the LLMQs is yet to be decided, but it has been confirmed that there will be multiple types of LLMQs, differing mainly in size and longevity. A broad range was given of 10 to 400 members being active for 1 LLMQ.
The term “long living” is used to differentiate the way in which the quorums are built. The traditional model will build a fresh quorum on the spot, whereas LLMQs are built in advance and used for a fixed amount of time.
According to Dash Core Developer Alexander Block, they’re also easier to scale because they “only require the members of the quorum to perform the propagation and validation of individual votes (signature shares).”
The Advantages of LLMQs
Breaking it down even further, Block explains that “a LLMQ performs M-of-N threshold signing sessions to gain majority consensus when decisions need to be made.” Each of the M-of-N sessions requires a distributed key generation (DKG) protocol.
One of the problems being solved is that each of these DKG sessions requires a lot of network resources. With the introduction of the LLMQs, the heavy lifting is done in advance, and keys can be reused for multiple signing sessions.
Instead of using CPU, RAM, and bandwidth to propagate multiple signatures for each transaction, Dash’s LLMQs will use BLS-based M-of-N signature sessions, which result in a single BLS signature that can be dispersed to the rest of the network.
The advantages of using BLS signatures are baked into the way the scheme is structured.
Along with a single BLS signature being produced, Block points out that the signature is “deterministic and unique, which means that there is only one valid signature for every combination of message and keys.” The end result creates an environment that will allow Evolution to integrate “features which were previously very hard to implement securely.”
It should be noted that although LLMQs are new to Dash’s ecosystem, according to Block, they already exist in an advanced form—although it wasn’t specified in what way. They’ll be implemented as a platform for future use cases, allowing new applications to simply call on the functions of the LLMQ base layer.
The functions being called on would be questions like “Do we have majority?” and “Is there majority?” or simple statements like “Sign this message,” making it easy for new use cases to benefit from Dash’s LLMQs.
To get a better understanding of the technical advantages of LLMQ, make sure to check out Dash’s blog post. To stay up-to-date with Dash, check out their website, read the whitepaper, follow them on Twitter, and join their Telegram group.