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A New Bitcoin Competitor Aims to Be Faster and Safer

Avatar Guest Author 5 years ago

David Mazières, a Stanford professor is claiming to have designed a faster and more secure digital currency payment system.

The Stanford professor thinks he has designed a faster, more flexible, and more secure alternative to Bitcoin. He released the design for his system in a white paper last Wednesday.

Bitcoin transactions rely on software run on thousands of computers linked up over the Internet. That distributed network uses a set of rules and cryptographic principles to reliably verify transactions even though no one person or organization is in control.

The new cryptocurrency protocol, called SCP, will be adopted by Stellar to replace the old system. Last year Stellar’s system unexpectedly “forked” into two networks that disagreed on which transactions were valid, and several hours’ worth of transactions got rolled back. This new system is said to avoid these kinds of issues.

Mazières is now taking leave from Stanford to start working four days a week on the project as chief scientist.

While Bitcoin rests on a mining, that currently takes around 10 minutes for a new transaction to be confirmed, and is very energy intensive. Mazières says that using mining to enforce trust and security also has limitations and that his system is designed to correct those same limitations.

Mazières says:

 “Bitcoin is good, but we wanted to start from scratch and address some of these additional properties.”

Maziéres SCP system also relies on people running software that communicates over the Internet, but trust is not enforced through mining. Instead, each person must identify a few other trusted participants to correctly apply the cryptographic rules used to validate transactions. Each instance of the software will recognize transactions only once a certain majority fraction of its trusted partners have also signed off. And the trust relationships are all public.

Mazières says the math shows that his new protocol will be able to reliably verify transactions using far less energy and a lot faster than Bitcoin. Is this the cryptocurrency which will overtake Bitcoin? Only the future will tell.

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