Hive Decentralize Standards And Journey To Power Web3 With Scalability

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Hive is a decentralized multipurpose application blockchain. It's purpose is not only Hive blogging. At first glance it may seem that Hive blockchain's main function is providing social blogging platform in decentralized manner. It not its purpose or goal. Hive blogging, regardless which front-end app you use, is only a proof of concept of what can be done on Hive. In its core it is designed to power many social platforms, many games, many applications, various purpose websites and businesses independent from each other. There are already many examples of how Hive can be utilized besides its native blogging features. And this magic happens with Hive's custom JSON feature.

You can build anything you can imagine on top of Hive blockchain utilizing custom JSON, and get the benefits of decentralization, larger network, and economy. If you would like to learn more about custom_json, feel free to read Custom JSON - The Magical Power Of Hive Blockchain. The purpose of this post is to discuss the scalability of Hive. If Hive indeed can power tens of thousands of platforms, apps, and games; if Hive indeed can empower tens and hundreds of millions of people, the scalability becomes the main question. At its current stage, Hive blockchain has a limited capacity and may have difficulty processing hundreds and thousands of millions of transactions.

Hive is a decentralized database. It can store all kinds of social and digital activities, and interactions. Social actions like posting, upvoting, following, commenting, gaming are stored in the blockchain. The blockchain doesn't have unlimited capacity and power. In fact, we can calculate how much data can be stored within a certain time period and compare with how much data is generated by people's online activities on various platforms.

Every Hive transaction is stored in Hive blocks and each block has set size. Currently, block size consensus is 65,536 bytes. This parameter is set by witnesses, and they can change this anytime they like. One of the Hive witnesses, Hextech has this parameter set at 131,072. Hive blocks are just bunch of transactions in text format. If one byte can store one character, this would mean one Hive block, currently can store maximum of 65,536 characters. This means we can store limited amount of transactions: be it posts, comments, custom_json, upvotes, follows, asset transfers, etc. This limit is defined by this block size.

Let's say Twitter like apps starts operating on Hive, and one person would in average post 100 characters at a time. This means we can store about 600 tweets in one block. Hive blocks are produced every 3 seconds. If Hive produces 28,800 blocks a day, this would result in 17 million tweets a day. On average there are about 500 million tweets shared on Twitter every day. Current block size and production speed wouldn't be able to accommodate all daily Twitter activities and all Twitter user-base.

Twitter is an extreme example. But still it is just one platform. How is Hive suppose to power many many apps, games, and platforms? How can Hive scale to make this happen? These are among some important questions asked by those who looked into Hive blockchain. One of such people is, Brendan Eich. We may think, Hive is not well known yet and people just ignore. I believe many who are interested in blockchain technologies to build Web3 know about Hive, how it works and what it does. Last year I had an opportunity of brief Twitter exchange with Brendan Eich.

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It is clear from this and other tweets of Brendan that he knows about Hive. While he believe no blockchain is a solution for Web3, he specifically thinking Hive is not it either. In other places he talked about scalability as well.

Who is Brendan Eich, and why should we even care about what he thinks? He is the creator of JavaScript, the main programming language that powers all browsers. The history of JavaScript itself is interesting as well. But the most interesting part is how it transformed the web. It powers the most used apps in the world, the browsers. Brendan Eich is also the founder of Brave browser and Basic Attention Tokens. So, clearly he is interested in blockchain technologies, crypto, and where the next iteration of the web is heading. If someone with his background, experience, and expertise knows Hive and has legitimate questions/concerns, I am sure there are others too.

Just because Hive currently may have limitations, doesn't mean it cannot scale. Even centralized systems and platforms don't have massive capacity right away. The solution most of the time is money. And more money is invested into the infrastructure and brainpower as systems and platforms grow. Doing so too early, maybe wasteful and get them bankrupt before bigger things happen. This reminds what Blocktrades said during one of the interviews. How Hive blockchain core team of course has considered scaling options, but these are better done gradually as the network grows.

Spending resources, efforts, and time to support a billion user-base right now when participation is not even in millions would be a bad idea. There are better things to do. There are higher priorities. Tackling scaling issues as the network grows makes sense and seems to be doable and only limited to the available hardware technologies, which also improves over time.

So, the first option we can consider is increasing the block size. This would mean more processing power needed for witness nodes, and paying for more expensive servers. At current Hive prices, top witnesses of Hive make about $4,500 per month. This maybe decent amount of money to cover the costs, but not nearly enough to go super fancy with the infrastructure. Good news is, as the network grows, the value of the network grows as well and it reflects on underlying asset, the Hive coins.


The value of a network equals the net value added to each user's transactions conducted through that network, summed over all users. <h/5>
~ Beckstrom's Law <h/5>

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Let's say the network growth cause Hive prices to go up to $10. This would increase revenue from producing blocks for Hive top witnesses to about $90,000 per month. Now with this kind of funding witnesses can purchase of build all kinds of fancy hardware to run their witness nodes that can support a lot higher block sizes. When price goes up to $100, witnesses will be running a million dollar nodes. More resources will create more opportunities and possibilities.

Another question I always had was the possibility of lowering the 3 seconds block production time to something lower. Recently, I got the answer to this as well and it looks like this is possible with some decent amount of work on blockchain code. Again, as there are more resources and brainpower is available with the the growth of the network, these limitations can be improved as well. The cool thing about Hive is, it has awesome developers who continue improving core code, and other developing apps and layer 2 solutions. Among the recent announcements was how pretty soon we may get OBI protocol, which will bring one block irreversibility to Hive. I think this is huge and will also help with future scaling solutions. All apps, games, and Hive participants will greatly benefit with OBI.

Keep in mind that Hive also has decent size decentralized fund that will also play important role in continuous development, improvement, and innovation. Both software and hardware technologies also will continue getting better and better. We are in a good shape in building the Web3 decentralized standards and I have no doubt Hive will scale just fine and will be able to power many many apps, games and platforms and become home for hundreds of millions if not billions.

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I have been using internet for about 20 years, but I have never seen a platform like HIVE. HIVE is virtual platforma, however I can say that it is essential like a bread and a cheese ;)

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(Edited)

OBI is a cool development.

As I was reading, I kept thinking about reducing the block time, so I am glad you covered that. My question around that is, is it easier to switch the block time now while we are relatively small or wait until later? If it is relatively easy to change, I think it is something to consider sooner than later. There are so many scalability issues with crypto, I think it is quite the selling point to have them in place ahead of when we need them. One of my “worries” is that Hive gets its 15 minutes of fame, people flock here overnight and we cannot support them and they leave. People won't stick around for the few months it takes to solve the issue. I agree current resources need to be spent elsewhere but we should have someone slowly working on scalability at all times in my opinion.

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I agree with your thoughts. To answer your question I will quote Blocktrades, as I don't have technical knowledge or skills of how it would be accomplished. When I asked Blocktrades if it will be possible to lower the 3 second block production time, the answer was as following:
"It is definitely possible, based on things we've done to latency times in the p2p layer. But I suspect there would be a fair amount of work on the blockchain side of the code and it would need further investigation."

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(Edited)

Thanks! And this is kind of what I thought. Going from 3 sec to 1 second block times would require a decent amount of work, something we wouldn’t have time to do if we start getting sudden mass adoption. Doing it though would 3X our capacity and 6X it if we also doubled the block size.

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Fantastic, it's better to be done now and see the progress that can be made because more people diving here would only put everyone on there toes and that would be tantamount to what we really wanted.

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I believe another way to scale is to also be a bit more discerning about what is actually written to chain. Layer 2 storage will be so important as other, slower blockchains have already discovered. (yes, I am looking at you ETH) I have great faith that the developers will find solutions to all these problems.

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It is true, not everything can be or should be stored on blockchain. For example, images are not stored on blockchain. However, at the same time technology never stops amazing on what's possible. What may present challenges today, might be a no issue in the near future. Our phones today are thousands times more sophisticated and powerful then computers used to launch space shuttles in the past. With Eth, isn't main issue the use of PoW? I think PoW is great for monetary innovation like bitcoin. But for build multipurpose applications PoW may not be the right fit.

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Many do not want to know about having continuous and steady growth but rather what it is now, I believe time will tell as Hive will become more powerful as to be able to handle more block sizes.

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Hive can become a powerhouse. If block sizes can increase, expansion with a lot more nodes !

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I didn't really think about Hive's capacity to support tweet-like messages until I read this. The ability to support ~17 million messages a day is pretty cool. Now I wonder if any blockchain has Twitter capacity right now. Thanks for the rabbithole. :-D

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Thanks for this very informative post. I am glad that @xawii shared it on ListNerds. I missed your content for so long. This reminds me of my plan before to study coding, but it never materialized. I am glad to hear from someone who knows about this stuff. Thanks for the following info and insights:

About Brendan Eich as the creator of JavaScript and founder of Brave browser and Basic Attention Tokens.

I think this is wise:

Spending resources, efforts, and time to support a billion user-base right now when participation is not even in millions would be a bad idea.

And this one is very encouraging:

The cool thing about Hive is, it has awesome developers who continue improving core code, and other developing apps and layer 2 solutions.

Blessings!

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True words spoken, hive can expand to what would lead to to having a long term future.
That's why I've said hive blockchain isn't ready for the world yet because from the number of blocks produced and a block capacity, having a larger number of activity wouldn't suffice.

Thanks for putting all you've said into perspective, now it becomes glaring what must be done to scale the blockchain.

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Great read!

Spending resources, efforts, and time to support a billion user-base right now when participation is not even in millions would be a bad idea. There are better things to do. There are higher priorities.

The "slow grind" is why HIVE is perfectly positioned in the market. The constant focus on development instead of marketing and mass scalability is what seperates us from other projects, especially in a bear market. Slow & steady wins the race

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Are there any detriments to increasing the block size? I would think there wouldn't be any but would it decrease the time for a block to get approved (3 seconds right now)?

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I think increasing block size would mean the need for better hardware/servers, which means running witness nodes costs will be more expensive. While top witnesses probably will be ok, this will affect backup witnesses too, who may not have enough witness rewards to pay for higher costs.

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Great post. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully we can scale Hive when the time comes. Twitter and Instagram like apps could provide that boost.

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Yes. on to web3!!! HIVE!! :)

ps.. that first pic is sooooo awesome! did u make it? i had to stare at it for a good 5 seconds before reading on..

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Great work it's going to be good to see how more things develop with hive

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Hive right in the middle social platform. As you put it upfront Hive can do a lot more than social media.
This is what keep the blockchain running. I know #Splinterlands have it’s fame and time but writing is what still attracts a sizable diamond hands to the blockchain.

!BEER

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Web3 has the potential to revolutionize how we interact with the internet, but it is still in its early stages and has not yet reached its full potential. Several issues need to be resolved before web3 can be fully implemented, including security, privacy, and scalability.

While web3 has the potential to change the internet for the better, it is essential to be aware of the risks and challenges involved to develop a healthy appreciation for the limits of decentralized applications and blockchain technology.

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Block production speed and witnesses nodes are not all about scalability. It's one thing to create and store data but the retrieval process is as important, if not more.

We only have a few witnesses who like me run an API node.

Should millions of users want to interact with the blockchain but not enough powerful API nodes to deliver it's content fast enough, that would lead to a disappointing user experience.

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That is a great point! Since there is no incentive in running API nodes, maybe in the future it will just be expected from top witnesses to run? or some other incentive options created via DHF.

You are 100% right. API nodes will play a crucial role as network grows.

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It is a long time I didn’t have the time to interact with your blogs. Sorry about this. I was quite away those days (conference, off-line family time and now … COVID). Anyway, here we go again.

I have read this post, and I agree scalability is definitely an important concern for the future. I think (as you apparently) that we still have time to get prepared (but we may not wait for too long). I imagine that at some point, this will go high on the list of priorities on the core devs of the Hive code.

Hive is a decentralized multipurpose application blockchain. It's purpose is not only Hive blogging.

As a side note, blogging is only one of the numerous facets of Hive (I would be in particular interested in seeing numbers comparing blogging activities to gaming activities). This is however not repeated enough, in my opinion.

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I haven't seen the numbers myself, but I have heard Splinterlands transactions are higher than of blogging transactions. It will be good to this comparison indeed.

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Very nice post. I am a newbie here. Your summary will help me to understand hive a bit more.

Your calculation is OP😊

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This is a nice take on how Hive can grow. Thanks for the great post.
I have reblogged you
!CTP

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