The Terab Project is an open source initiative that aims to solve a key technical issue paving the way for the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) chain to scale to 1 terabyte (1 million megabyte) size blocks, allowing the network to process 7 million transactions per second.
The project is managed by French quantitative supply chain technology provider Lokad and will receive technical support from blockchain research and development firm nChain Group. Antiguan-based Calvin Ayre, owner of CoinGeek.com, has pledged up to €3.6 million in funding to Lokad for the project.
The road to 1TB blocks
To be competitive in the global payment space, cryptocurrencies need to scale to the level of transactions that payment networks like Visa and Mastercard can provide. The legacy Bitcoin chain, otherwise known as SegWit1x (BTC), has shown its inability to process high volume transactions as it remains shackled to a 1MB block size cap that allows only up to 3-4 transactions per second.
Bitcoin Cash went in a different direction after forking from the BTC network in August 2017, when it began with an initial default block size of 8MB that allows an average 24 transactions per second. That’s still not enough to rival Visa or Mastercard speed, but developer groups are already working to increase the block size up to 32MB and higher in the future.
In October, the world’s first 1GB block was mined and propagated on the Gigablock Testnet, a joint initiative by Bitcoin Unlimited and nChain. Developers said this would enable throughput capacity of over 10,000 transactions per second, or up to 864 million transactions per day.
Another scaling initiative was the Terab Project, a brainchild of Corps des Mines engineer and Lokad founder Joannes Vermorel. In a blog post, titled “Terabyte blocks for Bitcoin Cash,” Vermorel explained how 1TB blocks are viable on the BCH chain.
A single terabyte block, added every 10 minutes, can contain about 4 billion transactions, and provide capacity of 7 million transactions per second. However, with such a massively scaled BCH network, developers will need to figure out how to optimize the unspent transaction output (UTXO) database maintained by nodes to prevent BCH double spending.
One of the Terab project’s goals is to deliver a standardized microservice API and high performance single node, multi-node and distributed software implementations that are progressively capable of supporting the throughput required for 1GB and then 10GB blocks, laying the groundwork for similar implementations that can support TB size blocks. To achieve this, Lokad plans to hire and manage a project team to develop the Terab software, which will be made available for usage under an open source license, but only for usage on the BCH chain.
For Ayre, addressing such issues is necessary “to achieve low-fee micro-transactions.”
“The criticisms of cryptocurrencies are very useful as they help us see what hurdles we have to take down in order to achieve low-fee micro-transactions. They are a few more which we will be addressing in due course but rest assured we will prove that BCH is the one true chain,” Ayre said.
nChain Group CEO Jimmy Nguyen said the Terab project “exemplifies how microservices architecture is needed for BCH applications to reach enterprise-level usage.”
“Terab is exactly the type of collaboration that nChain supports—projects that help fulfill the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper’s vision of a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Bitcoin Cash best represents that vision,” said Nguyen.