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BSV Blockchain Association tackles Teranode, overlay networks, ARC in post-LDNBlockchain23 Twitter Spaces

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After the massively successful London Blockchain Conference, the BSV Blockchain Association held a Twitter Space discussing the event, Teranode, overlay networks, ARC, and much more.

The evolving network architecture and infrastructure of Bitcoin

Brett Banfe kicks off this Space conversation by saying how much he learned at the recent London Blockchain Conference. He wants to begin by focusing on some of the ways Bitcoin architecture and infrastructure are changing and evolving, and he asks Deggen Kellenschwiler how it will change with the release of Teranode.

Kellenschwiler says it helps to think about how Bitcoin started—everyone was running a client that did mining, building blocks, signing transactions, etc. As usage increased, wallets became a separate thing that could send, receive, and sign transactions without engaging in these other functions, but instead sending transactions to miners at the center of the network.

Overlay networks are the next step in Bitcoin’s network topology. Wallets will transact peer-to-peer, sending transactions to overlay networks, validating them, and sending them to miners. There will be specialized overlay networks for specific token types. It will be a three-tiered system.

ARC—What is it and what role will it play in the Bitcoin network?

What about ARC? What is it and what role will it play? It’s a prototype overlay node that accepts all transaction types without filtering.

Thomas Giacomo explains that ARC was ordered by the BA to replace MAPI. It’s currently in private beta with TAAL and GorillaPool testing it, and it will soon be available for public beta. The goal is to release an MVP as quickly as possible and build additional features based on user feedback. The aim is to make it faster, more efficient, and simpler than MAPI.

How easy is it to build things that fit with Dr. Craig Wright’s vision for the network? Not easy, Giacomo says. It’s never easy to take the theoretical and make it a reality, but they can get close by designing, checking things over with Dr. Wright, and then developing things.

Giacomo elaborates that ARC is microservices focused and it’s infinitely scalable. Part of the secret to the latter is that it can validate transactions without relying on nodes. All of this will lead to the improved propagation of peer-to-peer transactions.

IPv6, Multicast, and preventing spam attacks

Banfe pivots the conversation back to Teranode, asking what role IPv6 and Multicast, two things discussed in The Bitcoin Masterclasses, will play alongside Teranode in building a robust, scalable network. Will they play a role in ensuring valid information is sent over communications channels, and will they help mitigate DDoS attacks?

Jake Jones answers this question. He explains that multicast is mostly used to manage network traffic. It aims to send data to the node closest to the recipient’s address. The multicast listener discovery sits at the second layer of the network, and by listening to groups, it can drop those with no subscribers. It’s also possible to blacklist senders or drop entire groups in the event of DDoS attacks.

Jones agrees that what Kellenschwiler and Giacomo said earlier about returning to first principles helps to understand things. There are three layers; nodes at the center, then layers of services and users. Transactions travel one way—from users to services and nodes. Multicast helps manage all of this traffic.

Jones emphasizes that DDoS attacks will also be prevented by the cost of transactions and by specialization in services. Wallets and services will deal with specific transaction types, which will help mitigate spamming.

At this point, Ty Everett from Project Babbage shares some of his thoughts on this issue. He points out that many transactions will involve authentication between parties, and this in itself will help disincentivize spamming. He also highlights that it’s not free to spam; all transactions cost something.

Kellenschwiler is aligned with Everett’s thoughts on this, adding that nodes can disconnect peers that repeatedly send invalid transactions. While there’s some room for error, it won’t be tolerated if it happens frequently. He also points out that bandwidth isn’t free and that services that have until now been subsidized will have to be paid for.

Is there room for smaller companies and competitors?

All of this leads to an important question; will there be room for smaller players, or will this all be dominated by a few big corporations?

Giacomo says that we have a shot at completing the internet, rebuilding the international payments system, and changing the way companies use databases. This will all require costly infrastructure, so big players will dominate running full nodes. However, in his view, there’s plenty of room for smaller firms and operators to operate specialized overlay nodes.

Everett agrees, in principle; while smaller entities might not be present at the center of the network, overlays will be different. Smaller outfits can validate transactions and run overlay nodes, validating transactions with SPV.

Thoughts on the London Blockchain Conference

Banfe brings the discussion to a close by asking everyone for their thoughts on the London Blockchain Conference. He says he learned a lot, was glad to meet everyone, and it was a great event.

Everett echoes these sentiments, saying he went with no expectations and was excited by how many open-minded people he met. He was thankful for the opportunity to educate and show businesses how his company can help them here and now.

Jones says this was his first in-person event. He was impressed with the quality of the conversations and the people in attendance. In his view, it was all very focused on the technology rather than price speculation, which was encouraging.

George Siosi Samuels says it was great to hear from many people interested in the technology. He spoke with a cybersecurity expert fascinated with the digital asset recovery process. Before attending the conference, he didn’t know it was possible and had many questions. This shows that people were being challenged and having their minds opened. Samuels emphasizes the importance of interacting outside of Twitter, where everything is amplified so much.

Crescenda Babiera expressed thanks for the opportunity to attend, saying she was overwhelmed by the whole thing. She was glad to have the opportunity to meet everyone, and traveling from the Philippines to attend a technology conference was a big deal for her. She especially appreciated the opportunity to meet colleagues she has long admired in real life.

Watch: Wallets and overlay services on the Bitcoin network

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