Blockchain Consensus Engine

Permissionless

Anyone can join without requiring permission

Fair

Resistance to ASIC technology centralisation and energy monopolies

Energy efficient

Extremely low computing and energy consumption

Universal

Support multiple blockchain instances in parallel

Secure

The level of security is similar to the Nakamoto consensus protocol

About

We believe that blockchain is a technology possessing great social value. Blockchain is able to coordinate human actions through the means of a consensus mechanism, thereby performing important tasks such as maintaining a public ledger. Ultimately, blockchain will facilitate a vision of an internet of value without intermediaries.

The consensus mechanism is the ultimate guarantee of the security and credibility of a blockchain. It requires that users are able to join the network and help maintain it without the need for permission, and all participants are able to get a fair share of the value created.

The MASS consensus engine aims to become the basic infrastructure to all blockchain consensus layers. Based on a Proof-of-Capacity consensus protocol, the MASS consensus engine creates a consensus layer that is permissionless, fair, energy efficiency, secure, and universal, ensuring the fundamental security of the public chain.

The MASS consensus engine is universal and is capable of providing consensus services across any number of public chains. Nodes use storage capacity to run the consensus protocol and do not require permission. The MASS consensus engine is fair and energy efficient; only a very small amount of computing resources are required, meaning everyone has the chance to participate.

Timeline

stagecontenttime
ResearchThe PoC core algorithm was proposed, and after research, verifiedSeptember 2015 - June 2017
The MASS PoC consensus agreement was proposed, and after research, verifiedJune 2017 – April 2018
Development & TestnetsRecruitment of experts for the community to develop PoC blockchain prototypeMay 2018 - March 2019
MASS Testnet 1: system verificationMarch 2019
MASS Testnet 2: system security testApril 2019
MASS Testnet 3: system stability testMay 2019
MASS Testnet 4: system reliability testJune 2019
MASS NetMASS Net: full-node client releaseJuly 2019
MASS EngineMASS Engine: packaging and publishing for consensus engineNovember 2019
Layer 2Development and release of the MASS Net extension pluginFebruary 2020
Cross-chainDevelopment and release of the MASS Cross-chain protocolJune 2020

FAQ

What is MASS

The MASS consensus engine aims to become the basic infrastructure to all blockchain consensus layers. Based on a Proof-of-Capacity consensus protocol, the MASS consensus engine creates a consensus layer that is permissionless, fair, energy efficiency, secure, and universal, ensuring the fundamental security of the public chain.

The MASS consensus engine is universal and is capable of providing consensus services across any number of public chains. Nodes use storage capacity to run the consensus protocol and do not require permission. The MASS consensus engine is fair and energy efficient; only a very small amount of computing resources are required, meaning everyone has the chance to participate.

MASS Net is the first public chain to make use of the MASS consensus engine. MASS is the store of value in circulation in MASS Net, and is also the value anchor for the MASS consensus engine.

The MASS community is a non-profit online organisation that works for the popularisation of blockchain technology. It was launched in 2017 by Dr. Ren Ling.

Who created MASS?

MASS was created by the MASS community. The MASS community is an open, non-profit online organisation whose mission is to promote blockchain technology among the wider public, thereby improving people’s lives and leading to a fairer and more prosperous society.

The MASS community was launched in 2017 by Dr. Ren Ling. We are constantly furthering our development through continuous online discussion and cooperation, as well as periodic offline events. The MASS community welcomes all experts with backgrounds in computer science, social sciences, economics, finance, or entrepreneurship, and who have the same aims as us. We prefer members with original insights and strong collaboration skills. In order to ensure community members are sufficiently qualified, new members must be first approved by at least half of the existing members. The MASS community has strict requirements for research and implementation to ensure the excellence of our work. When the time is right, our work will be made open source, a move which will promote wider awareness of the technology and will aid with future collaboration.

Those who wish to join the MASS community are welcome to send their CV to community@massnet.org, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

What problems can MASS solve?

In our view, the key point that needs to be addressed in order for blockchain to break through into the mainstream isn’t the data structure layer, the contract layer, or the application layer. Rather, it is the consensus layer i.e. Layer 0. The reason for this is very simple. All blockchain data structures, contracts, and applications differ from traditional centralised models is that they go through a distributed network consensus that does not require permission.

Without consensus, all blockchain-based actions (such as transactions) would be baseless, as would blockchain-based contracts and applications. Put simply, if Layer 1 is the base of the blockchain that ensures its security and decentralisation, and Layer 2 is mainly about scalability and performance, then Layer 0 is the consensus. Without a strong Layer 0, Layers 1 and 2 would be useless.

When the Bitcoin network first launched, it was an amazing work of creativity that not only included the innovative and sophisticated Nakamoto consensus, but also showed for the first time the potential of a large-scale, open, permissionless distributed network. However, we believe that the bitcoin network is held back by a number of clear shortcomings. The most critical of these flaws are inseparable from its consensus mechanism, namely, its unsustainable energy waste, its unfairness, and its increasingly centralised mining. People often talk about its lack of scalability or the issues with the contract layer, but we don’t think these are critical problems. This is because these so-called shortcomings have solutions or workarounds that are well-established or look promising. The thing that really limits the scale of the Bitcoin network is the Proof-of-Work consensus (despite all its success, the Bitcoin network isn’t actually particularly big. It only has around 10,000 full node clients, the number of active miners is in the tens of thousands, and there are only a few million users. In terms of scale, this is tiny compared to traditional internet services).

From the starting point of trying to solve the issues inherent in PoW, we created and implemented a Proof-of-Capacity consensus algorithm, and then used that as the foundation for our ideal MASS Layer 0 consensus engine. What exactly makes a good Layer 0 consensus mechanism? We developed a framework of ideal characteristics and used this as the basis of our development. We believe that a good Layer 0 consensus engine should have the following qualities:

  • permissionless
  • fair
  • energy efficient
  • universal
  • secure
What advantages does MASS bring?

Since its creation, bitcoin’s disruptive decentralised, redundant, immutable, and permissionless and revolutionary nature has attracted people in droves to the bitcoin community. These community members have worked tirelessly in the maintenance of bitcoin networks and in the promotion and development of bitcoin technology generally. However, the Nakamoto consensus’ great thirst for computing power has led to resources becoming concentrated in the hands of just a few. Bitcoin is at risk of descending into a game between an increasingly centralised network and a handful of oligarchs who have successfully monopolissed computing resources.

So, bitcoin as it currently exists is beset by a multitude of problems, including over-centralissation, the wasteful consensus mechanism and the non-reusability of computing power used infor mining. In order to properly solve these issues and create a more democratic, fair, energy efficient, secure, scalable and versatile blockchain infrastructure, the MASS community has developed a highly effective proof-of-capacity (PoC) consensus protocol. When a node in the MASS network competes for the next block, it only needs to provide a valid and unforgeable proof of capacity to the network. This proof relates solely to the capacity provided by the node and can be verified by any other nodes.

The following are some of the main advantages of the MASS PoC consensus protocol:

The network is permissionless. The level of security is similar to the Nakamoto consensus protocol. The network tends more towards decentralissation compared to bitcoin. Competing for blocks does not require the use of computing resources. The network can support multiple blockchain instances in parallel.

The MASS system has the following features:

Secure: Using the theory of Time-memory trade-off, the PoC protocol ensures the unforgeability of proofs, and together with the use of a verifiable random function ensures that the MASS system has 51% Byzantine Fault Tolerance. Furthermore, a fork detection punishment scheme protects the main chain from Nothing-At-Stake attacks that could split the main chain.

MASS Fair: The MASS PoC consensus protocol guarantees that a node's block generation probability is dependant only on the proof of effective capacity provided by the node. In addition, the proof of effective capacity is storage medium independent, so that all nodes participating in the MASS network have similar marginal costs.

Energy efficient: In the MASS PoC protocol, computing resources are only required when initialissing storage capacity, and when entering the block consensus phase storage capacity data is only accessed at O(1) complexity a timetimes. Therefore, using the MASS PoC protocol for block consensus does not require continuous power inputconsumption. When the MASS system performs block consensus, the computing resources used are tinynegligible, small enough to not affect the normal usage of a computer. When storage capacity is not participating in the MASS network, it can be reformatted and used for other uses purposes.

Universal: During the consensus process, the node only needs to perform an access query on the initialised capacity and does not perform any data operations on it. Therefore, the same storage space can provide capacity proofs for multiple blockchain consensus instances, and nodes using the MASS PoC protocol can simultaneously support multiple blockchain instances in parallel.

What is a proof-of-capacity consensus algorithm?

Proof-of-Capacity (PoC) is a consensus mechanism based on providing a proof of storage space. In a PoC consensus algorithm, when a node submits a block to the network it must also provide a valid proof of capacity. It is very difficult for a node to generate a valid capacity proof without having the corresponding storage size, and the proof can be verified by any node in the network. If both the block data and the proof are valid, the block will be accepted by the rest of the network. The basic principle behind how a proof is provided is as follows: during the initialisation phase, a series of data is generated according to the protocol and is saved in the storage devicecapacity. When the a new block is to be generated, a part of this stored data is revealed retrieved based on the value of a random number. This data part is then used to generate a proof and the node is able to compete for the next block.