Aleph Zero: Public Blockchain with Private Smart Contracts
Why we are building Aleph Zero

The Industry Challenges

We recognize the real-world potential of DLTs. We also acknowledge the shortcomings and inefficiencies of the technology in its current state.

The major challenges have to do with security, scalability, privacy, and decentralization. We’re building Aleph Zero to solve the aforementioned problems in the most efficient way possible.

To help you understand Aleph Zero’s value, we must expand on the challenges that the blockchain industry has been experiencing ever since its inception. Before we, as an industry, will be able to build truly groundbreaking, decentralized products, we collectively need to tackle what is commonly referred to as the “Blockchain Trilemma”. This is generally associated with the problems below.

  • The Privacy Challenge

    Current internet policies have turned all of us into data commodities that are up for sale to the highest bidder. It is one of the gravest challenges facing the contemporary internet with many voices demanding that control be put back into the hands of the user. 

    Blockchain technology is poised to answer these calls with security measures that guarantee utmost privacy with social accountability. Zero-knowledge proofs (ZK-Proofs, ZKPs) and Secure Multiparty Computation (sMPC) are two of the technologies that can revolutionize the way we perceive internet privacy and help us regain control over the personas we create online. 

    ZK-Proofs pass a secure and secret key between users, whereas sMPCs secure data through multiple computers which cannot access data without unanimous consensus. Both solutions will allow the internet to become a place where our sensitive data is released only with our approval.

  • The Security Challenge

    Although distributed ledger technologies are considered—by the general public—as almost immune to attacks thanks to their decentralization, evidence speaks otherwise. While Bitcoin might be regarded as relatively safe due to its network size, smaller networks are being attacked on a daily basis.

    One primary challenge of the majority of current DLTs lies with analyzing the security of their chosen consensus protocol. Double spending, 51%, and Denial-of-Service attacks are possible vulnerabilities of blockchains and are important to understand prior to using a particular network.

    Even if these attacks are just a theoretical threat to some Distributed Ledger Technologies, the lack of proofs and theoretical guarantees make them appear to be less practical to use long term. The technology might change and what seems impossible from computational – or other – standpoints may become a practical threat in the near future.

  • The Scalability Challenge

    As observed in Analysis of the Blockchain Protocol in Asynchronous Network paper, in every blockchain protocol there is a trade–off between speed and security.

    It is widely known that the most popular blockchains, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are limited by scalability issues. With 3 to 15 transactions per second (TX/s), the technology is behind scaling capabilities of conventional networks such as PayPal or Visa. The confirmation times in Bitcoin are also still counted in minutes, rather than in milliseconds.

    There are, however, protocols that are—in theory—much faster than Visa or MasterCard. The only downside is that they typically achieve such performance in private, closed environments. If we are debating whether cryptocurrencies can be used worldwide as a standard payment system, we need to build them in a truly decentralized fashion. 

  • The Cost Challenge

    PoW-based blockchain protocols require special purpose mining rigs to solve computationally intensive, but easy to verify mathematical problems. The Bitcoin network is an example of how inefficient proof-of-work-based blockchains can be at scale. Since the computational power in the network increases over time, the difficulty of the mathematical puzzle to solve adjusts accordingly and dynamically.

    Therefore, the network requires more power, causing high energy consumption and expensive hardware that may have a short lifespan. This also makes mining operations out of reach for the average user due to capital requirements.

Science wins every time

We aim to solve these challenges

Aleph Zero is one of the most innovative platforms in the industry, based on a novel, peer-reviewed consensus protocol that uses a DAG architecture as an intermediary data structure. The team behind Aleph Zero aims to solve the aforementioned challenges—ones that prevented other technologies from becoming widely used.