The RChain Cooperative and its partners are building a public, Sybil-resistant, and censorship-resistant computing utility. This is an open source project. It will be a blockchain-based platform for specifying, verifying, building, and running decentralized protocols (“smart contracts”) that form the base for decentralized applications. On top of this technology platform, a broad array of solutions can be built, including financial services, monetized content delivery networks, marketplaces, governance solutions, DAOs, and RChain’s own flagship decentralized social platform.
The decentralization movement is ambitious and will spawn solutions that provide awesome opportunities for new social and economic interactions. Decentralization also provides a counter-balance to abuses and corruption that occasionally occur in some organizations where power is concentrated, including large corporations and governments. Decentralization supports self-determination and the rights of individuals to self-organize. Of course, the realities of a more decentralized world will also have its challenges and issues, such as how the needs of international law, public good, and compassion will be honored.
We admire and respect the awesome innovation and intentions of the Bitcoin and Ethereum creators, and other plat- forms that dramatically advanced the state of decentralized systems and ushered in this new age of cryptocurrency and smart contracts. However, we also see symptoms that those projects didn’t use the best engineering and mathematical models for scaling and correctness in order to support mission-critical solutions. The ongoing debates about Bitcoin scaling and the June 2016 issues with The DAO smart contract are symptomatic of foundational architectural issues. As an example question: Is it scalable to insist on an explicit serialization order for all transactions conducted on planet earth?
RChain’s requirements, originating from RChain’s decentralized social product and its attention & reputation econ- omy, are to provide content delivery at the scale of Facebook along with support for transaction volume and speed at the scale of Visa. After due diligence on the current state of many blockchain projects, after deep collaboration with Ethereum developers, and after understanding their respective roadmaps, the RChain leadership concluded that the current and near-term Blockchain architectures cannot meet these requirements. Therefore, RChain and partners resolved to build a better blockchain architecture. Together with the blockchain industry, we are still at the dawn of this decentralized movement, and it is now the time to lay in a more correct architectural foundation.
The journey ahead for those who share this ambitious vision is as challenging as it is worthwhile, and this document summarizes that vision and how we seek to accomplish it. We compare the blockchains of Bitcoin and Ethereum, outline the RChain architecture, rationale for its creation, and pointers to initial specifications.