New Consensus Protocols Revealed by Cornell Professor

cryptographic protocol

A team of developers known under the pseudonym “Team Rocket” have created a family of new consensus protocols for blockchains.

Cornell University professor and blockchain researcher Emin Gun Sirer unveiled the new protocols Thursday at Token Summit III in New York. He xplained that the new protocols combine what he termed as the “classical consensus” and “Nakamoto consensus” models in blockchain network decision-making.

The professor said of the new protocols:

“The way this protocol works is incredibly simple yet incredibly powerful.”

Sirer and his research team had been working on the white paper for this protocol family for months, he said, but it was actually developed by a pseudonymous team called “Team Rocket” after the Pokemon characters.

Called Snowflake, Snowball and Avalanche, the protocols work by randomly sampling network participants, and ultimately select a single result. Sirer said that “They rely on randomness and they rely on random interactions and yet they ensure after the interactions everyone has decided the same thing.”

The white paper goes further:

“Inspired by gossip algorithms, this new family gains its safety through a deliberately metastable mechanism. Specifically, the system operates by repeatedly sampling the network at random, and steering the correct nodes towards the same outcome.”

However, not all agree that this is a novel breakthrough.

Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir tweeted that due to the nature of the protocols, they fail to combine “the best of Nakamoto consensus with the best of classical consensus” as Sirer had asserted.

Zamfir, the lead researcher behind the CASPER CBC noted that the new protocols combine “the worst of both worlds,” due to aspects of the code that could lead to weakened security.

Zamfir further objected to the new protocol, saying “It’s not asynchronously safe and it’s probabilistic,” Adding that “We don’t get to take a probabilistic model of the network for granted [in my opinion].”

Blockchain.com Picks Academic to Head New Research Team

Garrick Hileman blockchain logo

Leading Cryptocurrency data resource and wallet provider Blockchain.com announced they had hired a Cambridge academic as head of research May 16th.

The company revealed via a blog post that Garrick Hileman author of multiple cryptocurrency research publications, would “lead a new research arm aimed elevating block chain (sic) technology to its full potential.”

This appointment marks the second high-profile hiring the company has done in the past few weeks. Last April saw ex-Goldman Sachs exec Breanne Madigan get on board as head of institutional sales and strategy.

The career pivot is a natural progression for Hileman, who also developed Cambridge University’s first cryptocurrency course, as Hileman stands out among most academics, with his bullish views on cryptocurrency.

In an interview with Business Insider, Hileman expressed surprise that luminaries such as Nouriel Roubini and Paul Krugman “have a hard time seeing the technology.”

“Some of them don’t have the best track record for understanding technology, to be frank,” he also told the publication.

“Paul Krugman famously thought the internet wasn’t all that more significant than a fax machine. I’m not sure I would have a lot of success helping them understand the significance of this technology as a new platform, as something that in some ways can be compared to the internet.”

Bing to Ban Crypto-Related Ads by July 2018

Bing Bans Crypto Ads

Microsoft has just joined other internet giants in announcing a ban on crypto-related ads on it’s Bing search Engine, to take effect July 2018.

According to an official blog post dated May 15th, the main reason for the company’s decision to ban “advertising for cryptocurrency” and “cryptocurrency related products” is the current unregulated status of cryptocurrencies, which allegedly increases the risk for Bing’s users:

“Because cryptocurrency and related products are not regulated, we have found them to present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviors, or otherwise scam consumers.”

The blog post says that Bing Ads tool plans to fully implement the ban worldwide from June until early July of this year.

This ad ban is just the latest move in a search engine and social media crypto-boycott, initiated by Facebook in late January of this year. Google announced an analogous crypto ad ban in mid-March, and Twitter affirmed its own ban soon after.

Last week, multiple mainstream media outlets reported that Facebook is “exploring” the launch of its own cryptocurrency while earlier April this year, the co-founder of LinkedIn said in an interview with CoinTelegraph that the recent crypto ad bans are, in his opinion, most likely “temporary” and due to the current absence of clear crypto market regulations.