Hashgraph: A Starter’s Guide
While blockchain technology has been around for close to a decade now and has piqued the interest of several large corporations and governments across the world, it is not without its problems. While it does bring the benefits of security and reliability to the table, blockchains are often criticized for their energy-intensive nature and lack of scalability. These problems, in particular, have alone been the cause of heated internal debates between cryptocurrency developers. However, a newly developed solution, Hedera Hashgraph, may finally seek to fix blockchain’s several inefficiencies.
What is Hashgraph
Hashgraph is perhaps best described as the next evolutionary step for blockchain technology, so much so that it’s often referred to as a blockchain on steroids. At its core, however, Hashgraph is a consensus algorithm that was first conceived of by Leemon Baird, co-founder of Swirlds. The company is a “software platform designed to build fully-distributed applications that harness the power of the cloud without servers,” making it a perfect fit for a solution like Hashgraph.
Hashgraph: How it works and its key features
The Hashgraph consensus mechanism uses two primary techniques to achieve its advantages over traditional blockchain technology, the first of which has been termed as “Gossip about Gossip”. It essentially allows any node to randomly distribute and receive signed information from other neighboring nodes through transactional data. The process is cyclic until all nodes on the network are completely updated.
The other technique, called virtual voting, allows nodes to directly verify the authenticity of new transactions on the network.
Hashgraph: Platform and technology
Instead of the tried and tested approach of staking and mining that most blockchain-based platforms usually employ, Hashgraph introduces the concept of virtual voting. Despite solely relying on nodes to verify new transactions, Hashgraph manages to retain key aspects of security thanks to the protocol being developed with Byzantine Fault Tolerance in mind.
Similar to proof-of-stake, Hedera Hashgraph also offers wallet owners the ability to stake their tokens to vote on transaction authenticity.
Hashgraph Token: Use and utilities
According to the project’s official token website, the Hedera Hashgraph network will have a native cryptocurrency that will act as a utility token for future decentralized applications on the platform. Since the token can be staked, the team also expects it to eventually “act as a unit of value to motivate responsible use and governance of the platform.”
Hashgraph token price
As of the time of writing this article, the Hedera Hashgraph token has not publicly offered to retail investors yet, therefore, no pricing data is available.
The whitelist-based Hedera Hashgraph presale is scheduled to occur sometime in the near future. While no concrete schedule has been announced by the team, registration for the SAFT presale is currently open to all accredited investors based in the United States.
Given that the Hedera Hashgraph digital token will be quite different to existing cryptocurrencies on the market, the only wallet software that will be initially available for it will have to be provided by its developers. In the future, however, the project’s white paper expects third-party wallets to be developed for multiple platforms.
Hashgraph: Can you mine Hashgraph?
Since Hedera Hashgraph has been specifically engineered to do away with the traditional proof-of-work consensus algorithm, there will be no way for users to mine new tokens. Verification of new transactions will be delegated to nodes on the network instead.
Hashgraph: Team and founders
The Hashgraph project is the brainchild of Leemon Baird, co-founder of Swirlds. He co-founded Hedera Hashgraph in collaboration with Mance Harmon who is currently the CEO. Both individuals, along with the rest of Hashgraph’s team, have considerable experience in computer science and with pioneering tech-related startups.
According to the Hedera Hashgraph development team on Telegram, the testnet for the token has been planned for release sometime in May 2018, with the mainnet expected to follow soon after.
Twitter: The Hashgraph team actively uses Twitter to make official public announcements from time to time to its 21.2 thousand followers.
Reddit: While user discussion in the Hashgraph subreddit is rather lacking as compared to other greatly anticipated technologies in the space, the team does maintain a presence there as is evident by the fairly comprehensive introductory post.
Telegram: Hashgraph has 27, 586 members and this is where the bulk of the Hashgraph community engages in mutual discussion over the technology and upcoming token. Those new to the consensus algorithm can also have their queries answered here.
Medium: The Hashgraph blog on Medium sees frequent posts explaining updates and key aspects of the platform.
BitcoinTalk: Apart from some general community-led discussion surrounding the project, the Hashgraph team has little to no official presence on the BitcoinTalk forum.
Hashgraph: How to buy Hashgraph
The Hedera Hashgraph token is currently only purchasable by accredited investors that have registered for the presale on the official website. All purchased tokens will be distributed once the mainnet is officially released later this year. Exchanges will also list the token once it becomes publicly available to retail investors.
If Hashgraph’s claims are completely accurate, it will be superior to traditional blockchains in almost every way. The theoretical limit for the number of transactions per second on the Hashgraph network is estimated to be over 200,000. In comparison, the bitcoin network struggles to process more than a hundred transactions per second, all while consuming significant resources while doing so.
Like any new technology though, Hashgraph still has a long way to go before it can be considered a drop-in replacement for the relatively mature blockchain platform.
Hashgraph: Final thoughts
With a large number of companies across different industries jumping on distributed ledger technology for everything from financial management to governance, Hashgraph may actually be able to capitalize on the rising demand. While it is unlikely that blockchain technology will go away anytime soon, it is refreshing that Hashgraph can give it some much-needed competition.