Blockchain technology faces some challenges such as scalability, latency, security, and size and bandwidth. To address these limitations, the Infinity Project is launching a new cryptocurrency, HYCON.
In this interview, we learn more about the project, its technology and what it aims to achieve.
Can you start by introducing us to what HYCON is?
HYCON stands for Hyper Connected Coin, which is a DAG-based blockchain that enables high throughput and very fast confirmation times.
Can you break down what exactly a DAG is?
It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot, people seem think it has magical powers. A DAG is just a way of structuring a blockchain. All that means in our case is that instead of having a singular blockchain that is just linear, our blocks refer to multiple predecessors. It doesn’t have to connect to more than one block, but for our consensus model, a better connected block ends up being more likely to be chosen in the event of a double spend.
And what are the benefits of using a DAG rather than a linear blockchain?
The primary one is that it allows us to move the bottleneck away from latency. It allows us to have faster blocks. In a system such as Bitcoin, if you have two blocks published around the same time, depending on the system latency, you could end up with the some part of the network mining on one block, the other part of the network on another block, and the other blocks will be orphaned.
With our system, with a DAG, because you can have multiple connections to previous ones, it doesn’t actually matter if the blocks are not linear. They can arrive at the same time and the consensus algorithm will order the transactions later.
Can you tell me about how HYCON first came to exist? What was the founding story?
It started with us looking at what we thought were the problems with the existing blockchain systems. And one of the ones that we really wanted to look at was scalability in an on-chain manner.
When we looked at the way scalability was developing, there were a lot of off-chain solutions like side chains, direct payment channels, things like that. We wanted to actually raise the transactional throughput on an on-chain system. We looked at various ways we thought we could do that, including sharding, and then we came to the idea of doing something like a DAG.
After reading more and more about DAG-based approaches, we came across this research from Israel by Aviv Zohar and Yonatan Sompolinsky called SPECTRE. It allows for pair-wise ordering of blocks in a DAG structure. After studying that more in depth, that’s what we decided to do.
Can you break down what SPECTRE and pair-wise ordering is?
Yes – with the SPECTRE algorithm you can take any two blocks in the DAG, and with those two blocks, you can give precedence to one block or the other. You can say which block came first in the sequence, based on a series of implicit voting rules. The votes are based on the structure of the graph itself — the structure of the DAG and how connected the blocks are to the other members of the DAG.
So what we can do is, in the case of a double spend, run the algorithm, and it will give you results that either block 1 came before block 2 or block 2 came before block 1. So it’s done in terms of pairs, where there is a conflict.
Got it. And how is HYCON’s DAG technology different than IOTA’s DAG technology?
Primarily, IOTA is a DAG of transactions. They use transactions to validate other transactions. We are using a block-based DAG. So the nodes of our DAG are blocks, and inside the blocks you have transactions. That would be the primary difference between what we’re doing.
And what’s the difference between a DAG that’s block-based instead of transaction-based?
With blocks you can do bulk processing of a lot of transactions. That allows you to have higher throughput, which was one of our goals.
Can you talk about the Infinity Platform?
The HYCON project is a three phase roll-out. First of all is the underlying blockchain. HYCON is the token that runs our blockchain. That’s our transactional layer that’s basically going to power our infrastructure.
The platform — the goal is to make it a platform for customizable solutions. Someone can come in and basically create their own blockchain based on our underlying technology. We’ll make it super easy and a seamless user experience.
Finally, we’re also launching a decentralized exchange.
If someone uses the platform, would it be a DAG or a blockchain?
It will be customizable. They will have the option to use the DAG.
One interesting thing about SPECTRE is that if you slow it down, the rules will actually generalize to the longest chain rule that you find in Bitcoin or Ethereum. It can handle a linear blockchain or a DAG.
Where do you see HYCON going in the next 5 years? What’s the long-term vision for this project?
We’re hoping for mass adoption really. One of the reasons we’re looking for such high transactional throughput and fast confirmation is we want it to be usable for, say, point-of-sale transactions.
Where you could go to a convenient store and buy gum using HYCON. Here in Hong Kong, where we’re at right now, they have the Octopus cards, which are used for public transportation. Likewise, you can have your HYCON card and you can use that for your public transportation. That’s something we’re really looking at trying to expand into. In Korea, we have some of the best technical infrastructure in the world, so it would be quite easy for us to deploy on the systems in place in Korea as a test case, and then expand to somewhere else.
Is there anything else you want to share about the project?
Just keep an eye out for us. You can check us out at hycon.io. Read our whitepaper, and if you’re interested, please reach out and contact us.