HPB Update – Updated Whitepaper, Results of The First Trial Phase, and Start of Marketing Efforts
Before reading on, we recommend you to read our original HPB analysis, in order to grasp the fundamentals of the project; what it aims to achieve, the problem it solves (especially in the IoT and Big Data industries), and why High Performance Blockchain has the potential to be a protocol used by many others. In brief, the project intends to solve blockchain usability bottlenecks (low Transactions per Second (TPS) and high confirmation times) by creating a software-hardware architecture mix with the use of an in-house accelerated board needed to confirm transactions on the blockchain.
In the last news roundup on HPB, as well as in our analysis of Banyan Network, we covered the “potential” partnership between HPB and UnionPay Smart, a subsidiary of UnionPay, the company which has a virtual monopoly on debit and credit card processing in China. However, what really intrigued us was the information to come regarding HPB’s testnet trials. Not only did the team successfully complete the first part of the trial, but they also released an updated whitepaper, remodelled their website, and made their Github public, enabling developers to comment on the code, as we will see later.
The updated whitepaper has made some issues clearer and gone further in depth on others. Firstly, the team once again clarified the design (architecture) of the protocol. Secondly, they provide a comprehensive overview of the technology design. As explained in the High Performance Blockchain analysis, the Unique Selling Point (USP) of HPB is the integration of the Blockchain Offload Engine (BOE), which is the technology enabling the high TPS throughput and low latency.
Thirdly, we have a description of the consensus mechanism: “a two-tier election mechanism”; with inner and outer elections – a type of Proof of Authority system. To become a node, one needs to adopt the hardware (the accelerated chip), hold a certain number of HPB (the exact figure is not yet known), and contribute a certain amount of bandwidth to the network. With a project like HPB, whose USP is to be fast, there is a dilemma, and they chose a certain degree of centralisation to fix it. We are not against this choice per se, however, it could lead to trust issues.
Lastly, concerning the protocol framework, the whitepaper develops on the application layer and on the virtual machine, which is the software element running smart contracts. To be highlighted is the fact that HPB aims to be integrated within other blockchains (such as NEO), offering them a 3rd party scaling solution. To this purpose, the team will develop a modular design for its VM in order to support the NeoVM, EthVM, and any other smart contracts.
In the last pages of the whitepaper, the team also describe 3 use cases for their blockchain: Big Data (with UnionPay being “officially” mentioned as a partner, and Banyan Network being clearly in the team’s mind), Gaming, and Traceability. Big Data clearly necessitates high TPS and low latency, as companies are dealing with thousands of data points which need to be processed quickly, and are in need of beefy processing power in order to run the real-time dashboard; thus, we see great potential for HPB to be used within the Big Data ecosystem.
However, we are skeptical concerning the use of HPB in Gaming and Traceability. First, because we believe that specific blockchains need to be created for specific industries as they need to be optimised for the tasks to be performed. For instance, in term of traceability, protocols such as WTC, or VEN, s were created with the complete supply chain in mind (or at least, in the case for VEN, that was the idea at inception); therefore, they will be preferred by companies as they directly respond to their needs.
Last but not least, the updated whitepaper mentions that in Q3 2018, a tentative launch for a project with UnionPay Smart will be launched concerning the traceability, certification (ownership?), and authorization of Big Data.
Initial Testnet Results (first phase)
As we’ve mentioned in the previous HPB update, the accelerated chip will be tested during the second phase of testnet trials. However, the design of the accelerated chips has already been tested and resulted in a 30,000 ECC signature verification throughput per second, according to the latest official update.
The purpose of the first phase is to test the “feasibility, security, and stability of the new network topology and the new consensus algorithm”. However, a Medium post noted, from the piece of code available on Github, that HPB’s code is a 100% copy of Ethereum Go with a changed consensus algorithm. Additionally, the same author found, not using the hardware and in isolation, that the TPS was 1,500 (in comparison with the 30,000 claimed by the team). However, the major component of the project lies within the accelerated hardware chip; thus, we expect most of the modification of the Ethereum Go code to be released when the BOE is finalised.
Concerning the TPS throughput, coding/technical review is not our strength, thus, we won’t comment on that but look forward to other reviews concerning the network.
Disclaimer: We are long on HPB.
As always, this is not financial advice. This article is based on personal opinion, and we invite everyone to read HPB’s white paper, available on their official webpage, before investing. Do your own research, contact the team on their Telegram channel, and consult a financial advisor if needed.
Jacek graduated with an M.A. in Finance from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. He lived in Europe and Asia, and always loved to dig into papers and research projects to really understand the key drivers and trends. He’s passionate about blockchain’s business application, the sharing economy, and FinTech.