In the crypto ecosystem the need for scalability is repeated ad nauseam. In the eyes of a group of outsiders, we could be seen as a community of neurotics endlessly pursuing scalability on the blockchain.
But come on, we have earned it, since it is one of the last steps that remain to be taken, to definitively gain a central place in the world economy.
Today I am pleased to analyze Velas (VLX), a blockchain designed to achieve the long-awaited scalability. However, it is not the only thing they are trying to achieve and the path chosen to reach the goal may surprise us. Join me in retracing this interesting project.
In English, candlesticks has its own meaning and we quickly relate it to the charts that show the prices of “cryptos”. But, for a while, let’s forget about that meaning and let’s make room for a highly innovative project.
Velas, is an acronym that summarizes the following words, “Virtual Expanding Learning Autonomous System”. You could translate it as, “Virtual Expanding Learning Autonomous System”. Quite a name, isn’t it?
Already the title gives us a guideline, it is a blockchain, perhaps the first one, that integrates artificial intelligence to its infrastructure. This is not a minor detail. By adding this technological innovation of recent times, they intend to provide users with a decentralized, scalable and transparent ecosystem.
But the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence is not the only innovation proposed by this team. We found, already in this blog, several projects that try to scale Ethereum, and take it to another level, from the creation of a compatible sidechain, created thanks to the Solidity language. Here the story is different…
The Velas project was approached, from the beginning, from a different perspective. Everything was born from the following two questions:
1- Why scale Ethereum by creating a network with Ethereum code?
2- Why not use code from a network that has solved the problems Ethereum has?
Answering these two questions, the natural path was to create the Velas blockchain, taking the Solana network code as a basis. This blockchain, known for its scalability and huge number of transactions per second, allowed them to solve the scalability and speed problem from the start.
However, it is common knowledge that Solana has its detractors who present convincing arguments. Taking into account these avid discussions, from Velas they implemented artificial intelligence to offer a network, which according to their proposal, solves the blessed crypto trilemma. Not resigning one iota of decentralization, speed and security. Artificial intelligence allows this blockchain to maximize, according to the needs of the moment, any of these three pillars of the ecosystem.
You might be thinking, where did the main goal of scaling Ethereum go? Of course, it is contemplated in the project. The Velas code is EVM compatible, so any developer can “deploy” their compatible EVM application on the network.
Before unraveling how Velas works, it is not a bad idea to get to know the people behind this project.
Its founder is Alex Alexandrov and Velas is a Start Up founded in Switzerland. According to details from its official website, Alex is surrounded by a diverse team of engineers, cryptographers, researchers, mathematicians and business leaders.
FOutside the team, it has important partnerships that help to demonstrate the potential of the project. In this sense, CoinPayments, a cryptocurrency payment gateway, and Mind AI, who focus on the field of artificial intelligence that integrates this blockchain, stand out.
Although in the introduction, I said a lot about the functioning and basis of this network, there is still more to say.
The Velas team claims that this blockchain is capable of validating and processing up to 30,000 transactions per second. They also reported that their consensus method, allows them to virtually eliminate the possibility of a 51% attack.
So, it is time to analyze the benefits of this network, attacking them step by step.
The mechanism created for this network is known by the acronym AIDPOS. For those who have noticed, it is the DPOS consensus mechanism, “Delegated Proof of Stake“, with the addition of Artificial Intelligence.
In networks with this type of consensus, the participants elect delegates. They will be in charge of validating the blocks of the network, doing so in turns, which will be randomly assigned.
The AIDPOS consensus adds the participation of artificial intelligence. With this addition, it is possible to adapt the blockchain to the circumstances of the moment, preserving the level of performance in optimal ranges.
This goal is achieved, by incorporating trained models within each complete node. These “trained models” reproduce the optimal values of the key parameters for the blockchain, based on the data collected from the last epoch.
What did I mean here? Let’s bring this last paragraph down to earth.
The Velas team introduces what is known as a “recommendation algorithm”. Through training, carried out by means of data collection and extensive data review, this algorithm will be able to make recommendations to the nodes, according to previous experiences, allowing an optimal development under various circumstances.
In simple words, in times of congestion, network speed will be prioritized, while in times of an attack, the algorithm present in each node will recommend prioritizing security to the detriment of the other values.
By implementing this code, the candlestick blockchain is able to reach the wonderful number of 30,000 transactions per second.
This characteristic, connected with the information in the previous paragraph, gives this network enormous potential.
Criticisms of Solana focus on the onerousness of the equipment needed to participate with a node in the network and the lack of decentralization that this causes. The focus of the team behind Velas was on these criticisms, so they sought to provide a fertile ecosystem for validators.
To date, the network has 93 validators, which given its TVL, total value locked, and time of existence, is not at all negligible.
No network that intends to solve the scalability problem, combining the possibility of generating a multi-purpose application ecosystem, could fail to consider this compatibility.
Through this feature, any Ethereum developer is able to deploy their applications without modifying their code.
That’s right, although the network is based on Solana code, created in the Rust language, EVM compatibility allows launching applications on top of Velas written in Solidity.
However, this feature does not diminish the level of in-house development within the network. Velas’ own ecosystem continues to grow with applications related to DeFi and a suggestive social network, called BitOrbit, which aims to unseat the king of the segment, Facebook.
How many cases do we know of users who misplaced their famous 12 words and lost their funds forever? Or how about those who try to create an encryption system and lose their seed phrase by forgetting how to decrypt their own codes? A team of developers, contemplated these situations.
In the ecosystem of this blockchain, there is “Velas Vault“. This application allows network users to delegate the security of their passwords, keys or seed phrases to segmentation algorithms and validators. The latter distribute the information in encrypted form throughout the network, the user being the only one with access to it.
We cannot deny that this is a controversial system, but it will be interesting to know the experience of those who use it.
Those who have read my articles will know the value I place on coins native to a Proof of Stake network, or in this case Delegated Proof of Stake, a combination of words that does not detract from the importance of VLX.
Its 2 most important uses are:
1) Network security. Users can delegate their VLXs with a network validator, contributing to the security of the blockchain and receiving rewards generated by block validation in return
2) Means of payment. Within the network, VLX works as a means of payment to access different services or functionalities.
As relevant information to take into account, about the VLX staking method, is the existence of a period called “Cool Down”. This is a period of two days that we must wait to count on our SLX once we decide to withdraw them from the stake.
After this brief summary of Velas, it is not difficult to feel enthusiastic about the proposal. Clearly, the team behind the network identified several of the problems we already know about and found relevant solutions.
On the other hand, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, undoubtedly two scientific fields destined to collaborate with each other and enhance each other. However, it is true that here we have just observed one of the first effective applications of both.
In the technological world, those pioneering companies that combine topics that until now have gone their separate ways tend to triumph. Only time will tell if Velas is one of those companies…