07 Mar 2022 · 4 min read

Is This The Solution To The Blockchain Trilemma?

Disclaimer: The Industry Talk section features insights by crypto industry players and is not a part of the editorial content of Cryptonews.com.

While blockchain technology has found its way into mainstream industries, ranging from gaming to finance, the underlying infrastructure of decentralized and distributed ledgers is facing a one-of-a-kind issue called the ‘Blockchain Trilemma.’

Coined by Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, the Blockchain Trilemma covers the problems developers face in delivering a perfectly balanced blockchain solution that’s decentralized, scalable, and secure.

Understanding The Blockchain Trilemma

Decentralization, security, and scalability are the three fundamental features of blockchain. However, blockchain technology isn’t perfect, just like any other evolving technology. More often than not, blockchain developers are forced to trade-off between one ‘aspect’ for the sake of the other two. 

In the context of blockchain networks, decentralization means that every user is offered equal opportunities to participate in the validation and production of blocks. Instead of being managed by a central entity, the work is distributed among thousands of nodes, making the network more decentralized and secure.

Scalability, on the other hand, refers to the network's overall performance and is usually measured in transactions per second (TPS). When a network focuses on decentralization and security, they have to compromise on scalability, primarily because the entire network will be managed by many nodes simultaneously (which will, in turn, slow the network).

For example, even though Bitcoin is the oldest and the most secure blockchain network, not many decentralized applications (dApps) and decentralized finance (DeFi) products are being built atop it. This is mainly because the transaction speed on the Bitcoin network is rather slow. 

Similarly, Ethereum has the largest share of dApps and DeFi because it was the first network to offer faster TPS than Bitcoin while maintaining security. Still, the Ethereum network has become extremely congested in recent years, leading to scalability issues and a surge in transaction costs. As such, users are looking for other alternatives to Ethereum that are faster and more cost-efficient.

The problem with legacy chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum is that the initial costs of participating in these networks have shot through the roof. Between high-end mining rigs and staking network-native tokens, the majority of the potential users have been left out from this valuable network role. Moreover, legacy networks are no longer quite as decentralized as deep-pocketed users become the only stakeholders eligible able to participate as full nodes.

Then came the layer-2 scaling solutions and new chains like Solana that offered high levels of scalability. Unfortunately, to achieve scalability and decentralization, these networks compromised on security, which is evident from the recent string of hacking incidents across chains like Solana, Binance Smart Chain, and several others.

This is why the majority of the blockchain community firmly believes that networks can only offer two of three benefits at any given time. However, a third-generation blockchain project has recently emerged as a possible solution to the Blockchain Trilemma. 

Mobile And IoT Device-Friendly Blockchain Is Here

With Minima's ultra-lean blockchain protocol, everyone can run a full building and validating node from their mobile or IoT device. The protocol is lightweight and specifically designed to use minimal resources, which allows it to run continuously (and completely), even on smartphones.

By creating a network run by a large number of nodes simultaneously with enough activity to make it both secure and scalable, Minima answers the thorny blockchain trilemma. Since the protocol doesn’t rely on the conventional PoW (Proof-of-Work) and PoS (Proof-of-Stake)-based consensus mechanisms, there are no centralized groups operating nodes or specialized stake-based privileges. Instead, every user on the Minima network has equal network privileges and rights and can run full nodes without any intermediaries or third parties, helping the network achieve complete decentralization as envisioned by the earliest networks.

While many existing networks have compromised on the characteristic of decentralization to achieve security and scalability, Minima focuses on true decentralization to offer high levels of security. With thousands of users operating full nodes from a wide range of devices, the Minima network becomes resilient to hacking attempts. It is near-impossible for anyone with malicious intent to take over the network to carry out the infamous 51% attack postulated in the past. Additionally, since no work is outsourced to third parties or intermediaries, the network’s security remains intact.

Finally, Minima’s protocol consists of two layers - Layer-1 (Minima) is the base verification layer, and Layer-2 (Maxima) is the transactional layer. All transactions are processed through layer-2, which, compared to layer-1, has no ceiling on the transaction settlement rate. Layer-1, on the other hand, is slow but extremely secure and is only used by network users and not general users. As a result, Minima’s protocol offers unmatched levels of scalability and security while maintaining low transaction costs and decentralization. Besides, unlike existing chains, there is no initial set-up cost to join the Minima network, making it easier for users to enter the ecosystem.