IC3 Debuts Upgraded Off-Chain Transaction Protocol ‘Teechain’

May 22, 2017 at 19:30 UTC
Updated May 22, 2017 at 19:48 UTC

The Initiative For CryptoCurrencies & Contracts (IC3) has unveiled a new version of its Teechan off-chain transaction protocol.

First put forward last year, Teechan relies on the utilization of specialized hardware, the Intel SGX, which provides a kind of masking layer for the data it contains. Conceptually, the protocol is similar to the Lightning Network, a proposed transaction layer to bitcoin aimed at creating payment channels – and with them, the potential to enable millions of transactions per second.

It’s the promise of huge throughput that has led to projects like Teechan, and the Cornell University-based team behind it is releasing several new changes to the original design, now dubbed “Teechain”.

Among those upgrades: the ability to direct payments to parties that aren’t directly linked via an existing channel.

Cornell associate professor Emin Gün Sirer explained in an email:

“In the jump from ‘teechan’ (peer-to-peer TEE-backed payment channels) to ‘teechain’, we added the ability to route payments along paths. So, the system can now route money along teechan paths from one user to another, even if they are not directly connected. The system guarantees atomicity, namely, that no money will be lost or stuck if there’s a failure anywhere along a route while funds are being transferred.”

As previously reported by CoinDesk, IC3 – the research effort launched in 2015 with federal funding – has been pursuing a range of blockchain applications, including those that utilize trusted hardware.

The group also recently added asset manager Fidelity to its ranks.

Image by Stan Higgins for CoinDesk