Why Net Neutrality is the Key to Scaling Blockchains

By Professor Aleksandar Kuzmanovic, Co-Founder and Chief Architect of Bloxroute Labs. 

Bloxroute a blockchain network base in Chicago USA, with a team of crypto researchers and blockchain veterans who solve the scalability bottleneck at its core at the network layer underneath the blockchain.

“Blockchain and net neutrality are two fairly distant topics. So why is net neutrality so important to blockchains and by extension to bloXroute, the blockchain scaling project?

Net neutrality: Defined

Let me start with net neutrality in the way most people might be familiar with the term. Broadly speaking, a fundamental question in the decade long net neutrality debate is the extent to which network operators (or ISPs — Internet Service Providers) should be allowed to discriminate among Internet packet streams to selectively block or adjust quality of service. Application providers (e.g., Google, Amazon) as well as numerous net neutrality proponents, want ISPs to behave like utilities and simply transfer bits. On the other side, ISPs (e.g., AT&T and Comcast) want to boost (and charge more to) certain applications over others.
I was an active participant in this debate. My 2008 NSF CAREER project (a five-year project) was among the first to explore the extent to which network endpoints can detect if ISPs are biased or discriminatory. This wasn’t a purely academic exercise — I was one of the founders of the Measurement Lab, a Google-initiated platform for monitoring net neutrality. Supported by Google’s robust infrastructure and openness to researchers to contribute their monitoring and auditing systems, the Measurement Lab became the largest collection of open Internet performance data on the planet. In principle, it is hard for an ISP, anywhere in the world, to discriminate against an application without the Measurement Lab being capable of detecting it.

Thus, when Uri Klarman, now bloXroute Labs Co-Founder and CEO, came to me and said that net neutrality is the key to scaling blockchains, I was quite intrigued given that the topic was familiar. The core idea behind bloXroute is the following: given that the slow peer-to-peer (P2P) network utilized by blockchains is the main barrier to scaling blockchains today, why not replace the P2P network with a powerful distribution network? People know how to effectively distribute content on the Internet. For example, YouTube alone has more than a billion users¹, and a striking 70% of North American internet traffic² in peak evening hours comes from streaming video and audio sites like Netflix and YouTube. Such massive content distribution would not be possible without content delivery networks. This is in stark contrast with blockchains, where sending a single block once every tens of seconds (Ethereum) or minutes (Bitcoin) is a bottleneck.

He Professor Aleksandar Kuzmanovic concluded by saying

“Solving scalability is not only about speeding up the slow P2P network, but also, and more importantly, about how to do this in a way that is provably neutral. bloXroute is the first and only content delivery network that is trustless and proves to its users that it cannot be biased. We built this system to support all blockchains to fully unlock their potential.”

bloXroute resolves the information propagation bottleneck, allowing all nodes to maintain the consensus over the state of the blockchain, even when mining thousands of transactions per second, on-chain.

Author: N.E. Nelsedos

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