The smart contract revolution?

First developed in secret by three French researchers between 2017 and 2020, then made public 2 years ago, the Massa blockchain comes out of the shadows and stands out. It wants to disrupt the blockchain ecosystem with several groundbreaking innovations, including the very first smart contracts autonomous. Discover this new blockchain, which offers a new approach with the aim of solving the famous “ trilemma described by Vitalik Buterin, which summarizes the constraints that each blockchain faces: Scalability, Security and Decentralization.

The blockchain is a technology born in the 90s. It enjoyed great popularity when Bitcoin was created in 2008 by the famous but anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, founder of this type of database allowing exchanges on a model Peer to peer anonymously and decentralized. In 2015, Ethereum appeared in turn, introducing the concept of smart contracts, which completes stored transactions with machine instructions. The smart contracts are the origin of the explosion of DApps, or decentralized applications. But Ethereum, like Bitcoin and all the blockchains that have appeared since, also remains dependent on certain compromises between scalability (i.e. the volume of transactions that can be carried out by the network each second), security and decentralization.

Regarding Bitcoin and Ethereum, for example, it is at the level of scalability and decentralization (measured by the NDC: Nakamoto Decentralization Coefficient) that the problem lies. As the decentralization is partial, the scalability of the networks is consequently slowed down according to the interests of the subgroups of miners, validators. The difficulties encountered by Ethereum to move from consensus Proof-of-Worf to the Proof-of-Stake are the perfect example of this, as this migration has been on the table for a while, without having been able to run for good yet.

The Massa blockchain, on the other hand, has made decentralization its key point. It was based, from its inception, on an unprecedented consensus, the blockclique, which is based on Proof-of-Stake but which presents a technical approach that allows it to perform more than 10,000 validated transactions per second (scalability). the testnetdeveloped by an ever-growing community, leaves no room for doubt: the technical potential of this blockchain 3.0 is incredible, and several big names in the sector are already starting to talk about what could be the very first “completed” blockchain, long awaited by Web 3.0 enthusiasts.

The decentralized and scalable blockchain

Massa, the crypto french touch,

massah was, in 2017, a research project started by three friends: Sébastien Forestier, Damir Vodenicarevic and Adrien Laversanne-Finot. Sébastien, the CEO, obtained a doctorate in the field of artificial intelligence, and notably carried out robotics research in Inria teams after a period at ENS. Damir, in charge of development and technology in the team, has a doctorate in theoretical physics. He won the gold medal at the IGEM competition in 2013 for scientific research using genetically modified bacteria. Adrien is in charge of corporate strategy. A former Inria employee like Sébastien, he notably worked at the development of several algorithms on robots subjected to unknown environments in order to make them gain new skills, after passing through the ENS and the Ecole Polytechnique.

It was in 2020 that the Massa project took a professional turn, with the publication of a Technical Paper type research paper (Blockclick: Scaling Blockchains through Transaction Sharding in a Multithreaded Block Graph), as well as the foundation of the company Massa Labs. The organization organized a fundraiser that brought in 5 million euros last year, while taking care to limit the maximum possible investment per address, individual or donor entity, with the aim of maintaining maximum decentralization. About a hundred participants, individuals or organizations took part in this private sale.

A technical innovation

As can be seen in detail in its Technical Paper, Massa incorporates from its inception some major innovations and a combination of new concepts in a blockchain:

  • DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) Multithreaded with unique multi-channel system (32 strings work in parallel according to network needs)
  • Blockclique Protocol based on proof of stake and resistant to Sybil-type attacks
  • A dedicated token aimed at giving full control to the community (governance)
  • Autonomous smart contracts

It is in July 2021 that the testneta kind of “beta version” from mainnet (the official network), allowing the community to work to fine-tune the platform before the launch of the mainnet. At the same time, a medium was also launched, which informed the community of technical progress, prizes won during presentations of the Massa project, as well as news.

It is since the beginning of 2022 that the Massa project has been at episode 12 of its testnet :

  • Over 6,900 validating nodes within the network
  • +1000 validated transactions per second
  • 1.95 blocks per second

At the moment, the French team of this project is made up of about ten developers, scattered in 5 different countries. All use blockchain technology as well as the Rust programming language. They execute the next steps of the roadmapand particularly wish to achieve scalability up to around 10,000 transactions per secondwith a delay of 0.5 sec for each block creation (i.e. 2 blocks per second).

Comparison of the different types of existing blockchains
Comparison of the different types of existing blockchains

Autonomous smart contracts

On April 13, Massa created the event during the Paris Blockchain Week. As explained by founder Damir Vodenicarevic, Massa was first founded to try to solve the problems of decentralization and scalability existing blockchains face.

The teams integrated the idea of smart contracts autonomous from the drafting of their specifications. According to the project teams, this type of contract that executes without transactions is long overdue, as they offer extraordinary prospects for blockchain-based applications. Damir sums it up like this:

Why would you argue for decentralization, if you continue to use purely and simply centralized means to interact with your Smart Contracts? »

But one smart contract autonomous, what’s this ? Concretely, it’s a smart contract which is able to perform, at a given instant, a previously determined operation in the blockchain. For example, currently on Ethereumthe execution of a smart contract depends on a trigger, or trigger, in the form of a transaction placed on the blockchain. Thanks to smart contracts autonomous, Massa reduces the need for robots or even human interactionthus pushing back the limits of the decentralization still present today on other blockchains.

The best part: on the Massa blockchain, it is possible to store something other than transaction information or smart contract : you can also record dataand allow any other smart contract access it later, independently. There is no other blockchain today that uses this type of smart contract. Some infrastructures use centralized robots, but this way of doing things obviously presents risks because of its centralized nature, particularly in the event of option liquidation.

Figures from the Massa project
Figures from the Massa project

April 2022: World’s first working demo of standalone contracts

The CEO of Dusa Labs also said: Thanks to the autonomous smart contract and the hosting on the blockchain of our web application, we are able to offer the first experience of Challenge 100% decentralized. These technological innovations thus allow us a completely autonomous execution of the latent trading orders of our users, an optimal management of liquidations, all coupled with increased security for our users. »

On April 13, 2022, the Massa Network team presented a first POC, Proof of concept of smart contract autonomous, which performed live in front of the public during the Paris Blockchain Week Summit. It worked through a smart contract autonomous on the same model as the game of life by Conways. Multiple developers were then able to practice this new blobkchain tool directly during the Lyon hackathon, an event during which the Massa team was also present.

Decentralization is non-negotiable
Decentralization is non-negotiable

Conclusion

Currently, the Massa blockchain is still under development. What is certain is that the French team of this major project is innovating to offer alternatives to the problems encountered in other ecosystems. Massa is a completely decentralized blockchain, controlled by thousands of people all over the globe.

Thanks to the revolutionary multi-chain technology, the carriers of the project say they are ready for mass adoption. Regarding the validation protocol for transactions and blocks, Massa brings an unprecedented solution to increase network security. But it is specifically at the level of smart contracts that Massa stands out. This technology makes it possible to get a little closer to the concept of decentralization, which is fundamental in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

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