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.

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. 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.

For those who wish to join the community, feel free to get in touch and let us know what you can bring to MASS.

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.

How are MASS coins mined?

To be able to participate in the MASS network, you first need to go to the official MASS official website to and download, configure, and run the MASS Full -Node Client.

While the testnet is in operation, MASS will provide a full node client that integrates both mining and wallet functionality. This includes features such as capacity mining, block synchronisation, a P2P network, address generation and management, and transfer transaction generation and signing. Users only need to download the MASS Full Node Client to be able to use their storage capacity (e.g. hard drive space) to mine MASS and help test transactions.

When the mainnet is in operation, MASS will provide two clients: a mining full node client and a wallet full node client. The mining client can maintain consistency for the MASS ledger, while the wallet client is used exclusively for transfering MASS coins, and performing ecosystem management among others tasks.

Before mining, the MASS client first generates a pair of public and private keys for the user, and uses the public key to create fill thecertain the storage capacity that is required for mining. This capacity is created according to the PoC initialisation algorithm, which servesserving as the basis for the upcoming mining phrase. If the user requires multiple to utilize more storage capacities to fill up the storage medium, the above process can be repeatedted as many times as is necessary.

Once mining begins, in each block generation time step window (round), the client will finds a proofs that correspond tomatches the randomly selected target given in the previous round. These proofs are obtained from the storage capacity which has beenpreviously initialised previously by the client. Following this,before the end of the currenthis round, the best proof is chosen according to the network’s given quality formula and is verified using the public key generated during the initialisation process.

Finally, the public key that provided the best proof becomes the public key for the generated block. This block is then broadcast to and accepted by the network, and the payout address configured by the client will be rewarded accordingly.

What are the hardware and software requirements for mining?

For the test network, During the Testnet, users need to have a computer connected to the internet, a storage medium (e.g. a hard drive), the full-node client for MASS, and Full Node Client for Testnet running on, and a 64-bit Linux or macOS operating system that is capable of running the MASS full-node client. Other than these, there are no other specific requirements besides. For a more detailed guide, please refer to the MASS project documentation.

For the main network, follow the instructions in the MASS full node client and the full node wallet configuration manual.

Will mining MASS damage my hard drive?

Mining MASS will not cause any damage to storage hardware. The client performs random reads on the storage device to find a value of only a few bytes in size. Put simply, during mining the hard disk is accessed a very low number of times, the amount of data in question is negligibletiny, and the access is evenly distributed. It would take years of continuous mining before the total amount of data accessed passed 1 GB.

Does mining MASS take up system resources?

Due to the inherent nature of the MASS PoC consensus protocol, mining MASS coins consumes very little system resources (CPU, memory, bandwidth, etc.) In each block generation window, the MASS Cclient only needs to perform extremely lightweight light reads and calculations, including a few hashes, a few kilobytes of bandwidth usage, and the corresponding storage and internet operations input / output operations (IO). These minor tasks have a negligible impact on the performance of modern computer systems.

Is MASS open source?

The MASS community is committed to a more democratic, fair, energy efficient, secure, scalable and versatile blockchain infrastructure. Therefore, the MASS PoC consensus protocol and the source code for the mining client will be gradually be made public, as the MASS project develops. Technical experts who have an interest in the MASS project are very welcomed to join the community.

As a transparent, permissionless, decentralised blockchain network, MASS has a number of tools and assets it can use to further extend the project. These include the core algorithm, the code, the clients, and the open sourcing of other related tools. These can all help leverage the power of the community to expand and improve the project, guarentee its security, increase the number of tools, and improve the MASS network’s ecology.

Is MASS secure?

Due to the inherently secure nature of the proof-of-capacity method and the blockchain consensus, MASS possesses the ultra-high level of security that users would expect.

Proof-of-capacity is secure in the following ways:

Proofs cannot be forged: MASS's PoC algorithm makes use of Time-memory trade-offs. If the prover provides the capacity proof S, it shows that the prover filled the capacity S according to the preset rules, which would be very difficult to calculate quickly.

51% Byzantine fault tolerance: When competing for the next block, each node looks for a proof that matches the current block in its own initialised storage space. The probability of a node generating the new block is in proportion to the ratio between the initialised capacity of the entire network and the initialised capacity of the current node. If a malicious node intends to take control of block generation, it needs at least 51% of the capacity of the entire network. However, to have more than 51% capacity, the physical hardware investment would be colossal. Therefore, malicious nodes do not have sufficient incentive to break the MASS consensus.

The unpredictability of the random target value: In the MASS PoC algorithm, each block provides a random value as the target for the initialised initialised capacity of all nodes. This random value is produced by a verifiable random random function and no node can control this. Therefore, at the same block height, all nodes have the same prior information when competing for the next block.

The blockchain consensus protocol is secure in the following ways:

Resistant to forking: The fork detection punishment scheme protects against Nothing-at-Stake attacks splitting the chain. Since MASS uses a proof-of-capacity algorithm, without taking necessary protective measures it would be at risk from nothing-at-stake attacks. That is, the proof S can be used as the proof on the main chain and also on a fork at the same time at no additional cost. In order to deal with this risk, the MASS system uses a fork detection punishment scheme. If a main chain block and a forked chain block are found to have the same proof, all nodes will automatically blacklist the public key used in initialisation for that storage capacity and reject subsequent proofs provided from it.

Resistant to selfish mining: In a proof-of-work consensus mechanism, a malicious node can obtain a time advantage in competing for the next block by hiding blocks already mined. However, in the MASS blockchain consensus protocol, initialised nodes can find proofs extremely quickly, so there is no room for strategies of this type.

Resistant to double-spend transactions: The MASS system uses a UTXO (Unspent Transaction Output) transaction model, which is secured by asymmetrically encrypted mathematical algorithms. Block rollback is guaranteed by the PoC algorithm’s 51% Byzantine fault tolerance.