Kadena: The First Real Private Blockchain
This series of posts will cover Kadena’s Blockchain. It uses ScalableBFT to offer high-performance (8k-12k transactions per second) with full replication and distribution at previously impossible scales (the capacity for more than 500 participating nodes). This, along with the multi layered security model and incremental hashing allow for a truly robust blockchain. Based on Raft and Juno, Kadena embeds a full smart contract language (Pact) into its blockchain that can be run as either public (plain text) or private (Double-Ratchet encrypted) transactions. It is a huge step forward in the blockchain space, possibly representing a new-generation of blockchain technology entirely by it’s introduction of the idea of “Pervasive Determinism.”
Similar to Bitcoin, Kadena’s blockchain is tightly integrated; understanding what it is capable of and what these capabilities imply requires covering a considerable amount of ground. As such, I’ve broken the post into 3 parts: Introduction & Raft, Kadena’s predecessors – Tangaroa & Juno, and Kadena’s Blockchain – ScalableBFT, Pact and Pervasive Determinism.
The history behind Kadena is an interesting case study in the new field of blockchain consensus algorithms and distributed computing. Kadena is a “distant relative” of the Raft consensus algorithm. The Raft consensus mechanism was followed by Tangaroa (A Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) Raft) and the JP Morgan project Juno (A fork of Tangaroa), neither of which are longer under active development. JP Morgan’s new blockchain Quorum is much different from Juno and uses a fusion of ideas from sidechains and Ethereum; public smart contracts are allowed on the blockchain in addition to private contracts which are represented as encrypted hashes and replicated via side-channels. Kadena is the “next generation Juno.” It uses a new, but related, protocol called ScalableBFT that was spawned from the open source code of the Juno project and was built by the two key developers who built Juno. Before diving deep into Kadena a brief history and description of Raft and the predecessors to Kadena need to be discussed.