Today, as expected and discussed in my previous article on the subject, performance testing company Whiteblock released the results of its testing of the Syscoin platform. In particular, Whiteblock verified the performance of one of the elements of Syscoin’s block validation mechanism, namely, the Z-DAG protocol, and confirmed its scalability features.
The Z-DAG protocol is part of Syscoin’s hybrid approach to block validation that also includes proof of work (PoW). The basic idea is that most transactions can be seamlessly confirmed through Z-DAG, while those that are suspicious can be dealt with by PoW. In addition to this, Syscoin is merge-mined with Bitcoin, which, according to the Whiteblock team, reduces mining costs, while not undermining the PoW’s benefits too much.
As far as Z-DAG’s purported scalability is concerned, it has passed the tests with flying colors. Under realistic testing conditions, it consistently delivered the speeds of 14,000 – 30,000 transactions per second. Importantly, the protocol withstood even high levels of network latency (the time it takes for some nodes to receive and pass data) and the performance actually rose with the number of Syscoin assets (see our previous article for details) transacted with.
It has to be noted, however, that the scope of Whiteblock’s testing of Syscoin has so far been rather narrow and concerned only the Z-DAG layer. As members of the Whiteblock team explicitly acknowledge in their report, “these test initiatives were focused entirely on the practical performance of this implementation and do not account for any additional analysis pertaining to the security of the Syscoin platform as a whole.” The hybrid consensus mechanism to be employed by Syscoin has not so far been used by any public blockchain, let alone one presenting a valuable target for external attacks, and may have unique vulnerabilities. Nor has there been an extensive discussion of the incentives of various participants on the platform. However, the upcoming launch of its fourth iteration on June 4 may well give us the answers soon.