Startup Raises $3 Million to Build ‘Proof-of-Space-Time’ Blockchains

May 8, 2018 at 10:00 UTC
Updated May 8, 2018 at 10:21 UTC

A cryptocurrency startup just raised $3 million in seed funding to revamp how blockchains reach consensus.

The Israel-based firm, called Spacemesh, aims to build “a blockmesh operating system,” seeking to improve upon more standard blockchains by using a new consensus protocol called “proof-of-space-time” (PoST) to replace proof-of-work (PoW) and proof-of-stake (PoS).

Perhaps the most interesting feature of PoST is the assertion that it can run on any desktop computer, and is aimed to be resistant to powerful and costly mining chips called application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), according to statements. Further, the protocol won’t even need to rely on mining by graphics processing units (GPUs), which are similarly on the expensive side.

Tomer Afek, one of the team’s members, said the protocol offers frequent rewards to incentivize miners not to join mining pools as has happened with existing major protocols. The ultimate goal is to create a peer-to-peer, fully decentralized cryptocurrency, he told CoinDesk.

To that end, “we’re not planning any ICO, we’re trying to recreate the original vision of bitcoin. If you want coins you’ll have to mint them. There will be no public sale of the tokens,” he said, adding:

“I think both ethereum and bitcoin, with all the best intentions, ended up unavailable to the home miner and centralized on the other end. So our intention was to create something that would always be open to the home miner. While going about it we also realized we we can also support a very scalable blockchain which can handle thousands of transactions per second.”

According to Afek, the problem with current consensus protocols is they ensure miners are profit-driven, which means they may sometimes choose to act in their own self-interests over the interest of the blockchain. PoST is supposed to solve this by making it so miners cannot harm the network and further have no interests in doing so.

“All [these] problems that you see on [PoS], we don’t have it because we have none of those mechanisms,” he said. “We don’t need to punish you for bad behavior because there is very little harm you can do.”

Time-lapse of stars image via Shutterstock

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