🧐 Seele’s whitepaper explained Part 2: Heterogeneous Forest Network

What is the project all about?

Seele positions itself as a blockchain 4.0. Their aim is to improve on Bitcoin (blockchain 1.0), Ethereum (blockchain 2.0) and EOS/Dfinity/Cosmos (blockchain 3.0). All previous blockchain generations suffer from the Scalability, Security and Efficiency paradox; meaning that it is difficult, if not impossible, to optimize one or two of these pillars, without comprising the other one. For instance, EOS has to potential to scale up to 1 million transactions per second; but in order to achieve such a high throughput the agent nodes may become susceptible to attacks; hence compromising on security.

Seele is trying to improve upon existing blockchains by building a new network infrastructure from the ground up without compromising on this scalability, efficiency and security paradox. To accomplish this, Seele strives to implement the following features:

➡️ Neural Consensus Algorithm

➡️ Heterogeneous Forest Network architecture

➡️ Value Transport Protocol

➡️ Quick Value Internet Connection protocol

This article is part 2 of a 4 part series where I write about the different infrastructures Seele aims to implement in their blockchain 4.0 protocol.
In this article I will try to explain the Heterogeneous Forest Network architecture.

Heterogeneous Forest Network architecture

The term Heterogeneous Forest Network architecture sounds highly technical and may be difficult to understand at first glance. However, it is actually not that difficult once you understand how it works. But first let’s start by identifying the problem and why Seele plans to adopt a heterogeneous forest network architecture.

Early generation blockchains (e.g. Bitcoin and Ethereum) have a single-chain structure and all transactions take place on that one chain. The advantage of a single-chain structure is that the transaction and consensus process is relatively simple. However, with the rapid development of blockchain technology and increasing market demand, the single-chain architecture gradually became exposed to many pain points, such as:

➡️ Problems with scaling throughput and performance: Bitcoin has only 7 transactions per second (TPS), similarly Ethereum clocks around 10–30 TPS, which is simply too slow to meet the growing demand for blockchain services.

➡️ Intra-chain businesses interfere with one another: Single-chain architectures can easily become congested. For instance, the game Crypto Kitties clugged the whole Ethereum network, causing the problem that many normal transactions could not be promptly processed and confirmed.

➡️ Closed network structure: The closed network structure makes it impossible to interact with other chains, which does not fit well with the need of companies to interact between multiple platforms.

To overcome these pain points, new, multi-chain structures were proposed, like main/side chain and parallel chains. Such a multi-chain structure indeed provides a better solution to the problems of single-chain blockchains; however, there are still some shortcomings in terms of flexibility and customization.

For example, with multiple parallel chains, the function of each chain is usually pre-configured, making it difficult to meet the rapidly changing and diversified business needs. Also, the issue of how to share computing and data resources on multiple chains is not solved adequately yet. For the main/side chain structure, different side chains can be derived according to the growth and changes of the business. However, side chain consensus is more closely coupled with the main chain, which may cause the main chain to become a new center and bottleneck.

✅ By introducing a heterogeneous forest network architecture Seele tries to tackle these issues. Although it sounds difficult at first, it is actually just a way to classify each subnet in a hierarchical manner. On the top of the tree chain stands a global service chain, called “Meta chain”, which provides global configuration and scheduling services. From top to bottom, the hierarchy is structured according to various business scenarios, isolation mechanisms, and performance costs. The upper layer provides addressing and scheduling services to the lower layers. Each layer can be set independent governance mechanisms, such as access rights, flow control, and security mechanisms. Each layer can be seen as collection of independent small ecosystems. Let’s use the following image as an example.

At the top we have the meta-chain (in the image it is shown in the centre). Next in the hierarchy we have different business industries, such as: finance, medicine, education, government and energy. Each of these business scenarios can be divided in even more subsets, such as for the energy industry, different energy sectors like: bioenergy or nuclear energy. Similarly, the finance industry can be divided by banks, insurance companies etc.

The combination of the various small ecologies constitutes a complete large ecosystem. Due to the various specialties and needs of different businesses it is difficult for a single-chain structure to perfectly support multiple heterogeneous services. However, in a heterogeneous forest network, each chain only serves the services of the smallest set of functions, and each of the cohesive services runs on a separate chain. This enables effective security isolation, efficient use of computing power/resources, and cross-chain agreements between different chains for value exchange. With their heterogeneous forest network architecture Seele can meet the different needs of various types of complex businesses. Different types of business with different characteristics run in different sub-chains. For instance, compute-intensive, IO- intensive, and mixed-type businesses respectively run well on different chains; Different levels of security requirements of the business can also run at different levels. Banks and data security businesses require high security levels; by adopting a heterogeneous forest network architecture these businesses can be integrated in the most secure layer.

✅ In brief Seele’s heterogeneous forest network architecture is a classification system that allows for a clear structure of the different sub-chains that reside in the Seele ecosystem. At the top there is the meta-chain, which is divided in different business industry which are further divided in business types within that industry and so on. By having a clear structure, groups of businesses that share similar features (e.g. the need for high levels of security) can be grouped together with the appropriate permissions and be put on the layers that are best suited for that particular business type (e.g. the most secure layer, for security-heavy businesses).

✅ I hope this article provided a better picture regarding Seele’s heterogeneous forest network architecture. In the next article we will be diving deeper into Seele’s Value Transport Protocol. If you have questions about Seele’s heterogeneous forest network architecture or Seele’s other technical features, you can always send me a message.

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Blockchain and cryptocurrency content creator. Writing for | Hacker Noon | The Startup | Good Audience | Blockdelta 📧: lindacrypto@ziggo.nl