In the ever-evolving world of digital currencies and decentralized systems, Hashgraph has emerged as a promising alternative to the well-established blockchain technology. While blockchain has been the backbone of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Hashgraph presents a new approach to achieving distributed consensus.
But what makes it stand out, and could it truly be superior to blockchain?
Hashgraph vs. Blockchain
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)
Both Hashgraph and Blockchain are forms of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). A DLT is a network of peers that communicate with each other to reach a consensus. In a DLT, every node has a copy of the ledger, making it immutable in nature. The key features of DLT include decentralization, security, transparency, integrity, and speed.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is one of the most popular forms of DLT. It is the underlying technology behind the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. In a blockchain, peers communicate to form a peer-to-peer network.
Technically, a blockchain is a series of blocks or records. It supports an append-only structure, meaning new data can be added, but existing data cannot be altered. This ensures data immutability, making blockchain ideal for applications like voting, supply chain management, and finance.
Bitcoin utilizes a basic form of blockchain technology. However, there are other types like Ethereum, which is a 2nd generation blockchain supporting decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts.
What is Hashgraph?
Hashgraph is a consensus method offering a different approach to DLT. It is not a complete system but rather a data structure or a consensus algorithm.
Unlike blockchain, which uses a linear structure of blocks, Hashgraph utilizes a directed acyclic graph for storing and accessing information. This structure allows for faster and more efficient consensus.
Hashgraph uses techniques like “gossip about gossip” and “Virtual Voting” to maintain connectivity and consensus. It is designed to offer a secure, fair, and fast network.
Differences between Hashgraph and Blockchain
Blockchain stores data in blocks linearly, while Hashgraph uses a directed acyclic graph for storing and accessing information.
Blockchain uses various consensus algorithms like proof of work (PoW) and requires third-party validation for transactions. In contrast, Hashgraph uses gossip about gossip protocols for validation and claims to achieve a high level of security through asynchronous Byzantine fault tolerance (aBFT).
Hashgraph boasts high scalability with the ability to process up to 500,000 transactions per second. In contrast, blockchain’s scalability varies, with some blockchains processing only 100 to 10,000 transactions per second.
4. Power Consumption
Blockchain, especially those using PoW, requires significant energy for mining and transaction verification. Hashgraph, on the other hand, does not require high computational power or a significant electrical supply.
5. Control Over Data
In blockchain, miners can potentially cancel or postpone a transaction. In Hashgraph, validation of transactions is determined by consensus.
6. Public Availability
Blockchain technology, especially in its initial forms, is open-source. In contrast, Hashgraph is a patented algorithm owned by Swirlds, which may limit its widespread community-driven development.
Why Hashgraph is Better
Hashgraph is known for its low energy consumption. Unlike blockchain, which requires significant energy for mining, Hashgraph’s consensus mechanism is more energy-efficient. The storage required to maintain the live ledger in Hashgraph uses less than 1 GB, and transaction records eventually get deleted, ensuring optimal storage use.
Hashgraph employs Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerance (aBFT), a robust security method that prevents the network from malicious actors. This ensures that all events are recorded accurately. Even in the presence of malware or other malicious entities, the data remains untampered, enhancing the reliability of Hashgraph.
Hashgraph boasts impressive transaction speeds, thanks to its “gossip” method. As events occur, less information gets propagated across the network, ensuring rapid transaction processing. This method contrasts with blockchain’s slower transaction speeds, especially in networks with high congestion.
Hedera, the only public ledger based on Hashgraph technology, offers surprisingly low transaction charges, starting from $0.0001. This is a stark contrast to some blockchain networks that can charge significantly higher fees per transaction.
Caveats of Hashgraph
However, it’s essential to note that Hashgraph is not without its challenges:
1. No Mining
While this can be seen as an advantage from an energy efficiency standpoint, the absence of mining means that there’s no incentive mechanism for participants to validate transactions, as seen in blockchain networks.
2. Public Perception and Trust
Being a newer technology, Hashgraph still needs to gain the same level of trust and adoption that blockchain has achieved over the years. Hedera is more decentralized than Ethereum, Cosmos, and Polygon, but the public’s perception of its centralization remains, and this might hinder its widespread acceptance.
Hashgraph presents a compelling case as a next-generation technology that could address many of blockchain’s limitations. Its speed, security, and efficiency are undeniable advantages. However, like all technologies, it comes with its set of challenges.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it will be fascinating to see if Hashgraph can carve out a significant place for itself or if blockchain will adapt and evolve to meet the competition head-on. Only time will tell.