On June 23rd, exactly one week ago, I attended the developer conference of Antchain, and after the explanation of the speaker and the dialogue communication in the group interview session, I got more information, so I would like to take this article to explain the basic logic of Antchain and the current status for the readers.
The overall description of Antchain can be said to be hidden in the huge business system of Ali system, rooted in the technical framework of Ali cloud, but with Ant Group system as the front end, it is associated with many businesses and products, and is considered an “enabling” product.
Secondly, Ant Chain is also a comprehensive alliance chain from infrastructure to BaaS layer product configuration, and in its development process, the strong operation and supply chain capability of Ali system is a great credit, after all, with so many years of experience in enterprise services, the resources in the supply chain can be directly connected.
Therefore, when a line of media peers talked about the R&D and operation of Ant Chain, we all agreed that the existence of this business group, its authority span and business span are relatively large, and it is very good to avoid a problem: blockchain is annexed by cloud services, that is, blockchain services will not be just a component of cloud services, and it will become a lineage of its own.
Without further ado, let’s get to the point.
Let’s talk about the alliance chain and domestic alliance chain system before expressing our views.
Alliance chain is a platform blockchain that is open only to collaborators. From the perspective of scenarios, scenarios that require multi-party collaboration and accelerate efficiency from the trust side can be applied, and from the perspective of business, it is very suitable to transform the supply chain business with the alliance chain.
The domestic coalition chain has been talking about autonomous and controllable, that is, self-developed technology, supervisable and risk-controlled, and open operation. Domestic alliance chains can achieve so, but they differ in details.
For example, BSN is the one that mainly focuses on the bottom layer of resources, CITA is the one that mainly focuses on the development architecture, FISCO BCOS is the one that mainly focuses on the bias of financial services, XuperChain is the one that mainly focuses on the application of industry segmentation, and Ant Chain and Jingdong Zhizhen Chain are the ones that mainly focus on the empowerment of their own business.
These are some examples, representing that although alliance chains belong to the category of technology services, they will be demand-oriented and business-dependent.
However, to a large extent, these alliance chains may accomplish bigger “development trend” tasks, such as achieving credible operation of Internet business or solving data privacy issues.
When it comes to this idea, some alliance chains are unable to accomplish it, which requires more than just blockchain technology capabilities. It requires more capabilities in other fields.
We can take Antchain as an example.
First of all, don’t be dazzled by the super multiple business and scenario solutions that Antchain offers. Let’s look at it in layers first.
On the resource layer of blockchain, Antchain has a series of resource layers such as Ali cloud.
On the platform layer of blockchain, there are still multiple segments of Ali Cloud and Antchain’s platform.
On the service layer of blockchain, there are various scenario solutions in Antchain.
Then we have a general concept that Antchain uses the resource layer to build a chain and then develop solutions for each business scenario. It is important to note that when there is a need to build a chain, you can use the framework of Antchain to build a chain, and when it is just to build an application, you can use Antchain directly, such as the Open Alliance Chain.
But is this a general idea or a customized technical service, how can we integrate technology for business scenarios and then realize some massive business?
This developer conference released a new technology service called BTN, we can refer to the model of this service product.
First of all, let’s take a look at the overview of BTN by Yan Ying, the technical director of blockchain platform of Smart Technology Business Group of Ant Group.
BTN is Blockchain Transmission Network, which is a network layer infrastructure that can solve stability performance problems like blockchain, especially cross-chain deployment and hybrid deployment. Blockchain is P2P connected, if it is one hundred nodes consensus, transaction size 1KB, in the case of 1000TPS demand, the cost cost of resources is about 600-1 million a year. There are many TPS scenarios with thousands and tens of thousands of TPS, which require bearing the cost of more infrastructure network facilities, which also require optimization of the network.
BTN will serve for cross-border blockchain, and cross-border institutions are connected by way of blockchain technology. Half of the latency of its application layer is consumed inside the network link. And the network will often have packet loss. Once a packet is lost, the consensus is not passed and it is difficult to go for a very smooth business support.
This sounds technically complex because it involves the underlying network communication. Zhang Hui, senior technical director of the Smart Technology Business Group of Ant Group and head of the blockchain lab of Dharma Academy, added some tidbits. There is easy to understand.
In 2018, Ant Group did cross-border remittance, when it was doing cross-border remittance between global e-wallets and banks based on blockchain, and started to go online inside the blockchain network will find that in many cases among the consensus is not the local node hardware problem, but the problem of network to network connection, and there are certain country-specific nodes inside the cross-border nodes, whose local network external public network quality is relatively poor, so it leads to often this service is not available.
If we pull a wire directly to solve the network problem, the cost is very high, and secondly, in each node from the perspective of network security, each additional node has to do some extra work on the local related network IP environment configuration. With the later expansion of the group’s entire cross-border network, there must be a technical way to solve this problem, which is BTN.
This is also the reason why the author said at the beginning to empower the business, for the sake of business, the network of the ant chain opened up a higher-speed network environment, is how to achieve the BTN technically will not talk about, because it still solves the problem of point-to-point communication, cross-territory network communication, communication protocols and so on. Rather raw.
The next few questions are more critical, which may be the answer to the question of “how to carry out blockchain business”.
The first one is related to how to access the BTN? Yan Ying said in the narrative that the current node in Frankfurt was built because of a previous financial partner. The technical staff of the ant chain also told me that the first principle of accessing BTN is that there are some fixed development methods and standards for accessing the chain.
By checking the documents, it is still possible to access through the development method of Antchain SDK, and the MyChain component is also mentioned in the page of Antchain international website, which can be understood as a framework for developing the chain. The reply from the first bit of Antchain technology on the site shows that the chain accessing BTN requires the chain within the fixed development framework, because the standard should be unified. MyChain of Antchain BaaS and Fabric of Hyperledger are mentioned in the international station of Antchain.
The second related issue is very much a label with the current hot environment, trusted computing or privacy computing.
The significance of this label is to explore the boundaries of the overall technical thinking of Antchain.
Thanks also to the supply chain of Ant Group, Ant Chain’s trusted computing, which is at the forefront.
Previously, Ant Chain has released the Moss multiparty computing platform, which is an important technology for privacy computing. And this developer conference, I found 2 kinds of hardware when I visited the display area, the first is the IoT trusted terminal, the second is the software and hardware all-in-one machine.
Before this part, we are going to say a word about privacy computing.
We still use Yan Ying in the exchange of answers to do background information.
Yan Ying’s response is as follows.
Privacy computing technology is divided into three categories, the first is MPC, the second is hardware, such as TEE, and the third is technical encryption, which is cryptographic technology. These three are in different stages of development.
The most perfect commercialization is very mature is this part of cryptography, but in the computing part is not friendly (requires huge computing power), while TEE is just coming out of the laboratory to enter the stage of commercialization and march to scale use, MPC, zero knowledge proof just out of the laboratory.
In addition, in MPC, Antchain has made some attempts of privacy computing for two parties, and it has taken shape.
In the author’s opinion, the ant chain is more mature or more competitive in terms of hardware credibility. The machine mentioned by Yan Ying is for example the software and hardware all-in-one machine used for computing, or the trusted hardware for IoT AIoT. For example, which will have cryptographic cards, network acceleration cards, TEE computing area and other hardware additions.
And it is conceivable why the hardware, because in the role of the supply chain system of Ant Financial Services, there is a demand for use.
Solving the problem through hardware is actually solving the problem of computing execution and data source.
Zhang Hui added a very key point to this: today’s hard and soft integration, in privacy computing and blockchain this side, in order to make privacy computing to reach the real commercial available, from security, data proof, complex data computing scenarios for hardware acceleration, is also the industry consensus.
And ultimately to achieve is based on blockchain and privacy computing, composed of a new so-called polycentric data of a computing service framework.
For example, MPC, Zhang Hui said that many scenarios are in two parties, but in three parties and above, can be combined with some other technologies to further enhance, such as MPC combined with TEE, to solve some multi-party flexible data fusion computing problems.
In addition, Zhang Hui also revealed to the author that federal learning is currently on the radar of the Technology Division, but will be done according to the business needs of the industry. Specific scenarios are still in the exploration stage. It will be driven by the actual problems of the industry.
Having said so much detailed news, it is actually possible to see the big logic from the small reply.
Ant chain for the whole group business is to use blockchain characteristics to empower and open up collaborative relationships, and then it will shape out the new demand or reorganize the original business line. For example, AIoT trustable IoT solution.
Second, business-based, from the needs and problems to advance, is the main direction of development, such as the emergence of BTN is an example, so if today, you are still worried about the application of the Alliance Chain, then you can rest assured, look at the Ant Chain can solve your concerns.
Finally, in the exchange with Zhang Hui, there is a very key product idea that needs to be told, that is, full-stack controllability.
According to Zhang Hui’s explanation, the following is true
From the perspective of computer model, the traditional Turing computer has three blocks: computation, storage, and underlying network.
The computation side of the blockchain essentially lies in the execution of smart contracts.
Antchain’s smart contracts are “full-stack controllable”, and on the one hand, the performance of the virtual machine for smart contract execution is improved through deep optimization. In addition, the execution environment can be controlled, such as the configuration of the latter trusted root of the TEE trusted hardware.
On the side of storage, it is mainly to provide verifiable blockchain storage. Antchain has developed its own independent and controllable blockchain storage engine, which has already been used in production-level scenarios. It is able to support a series of key areas about storage service under the continuous high traffic transaction scenario.
On the network side, including the consensus algorithm, Antchain has made its own innovation based on some experiences in the academic world. It can realize the automatic joining and restarting of nodes in commercial scenarios. In addition, it contains the transmission of data between blockchain network and network and between nodes and nodes, and Antchain has specialized technical services, such as BTN.
So on the whole, the underlying platform of Antchain is completely self-researched, and can be used as a completely autonomous and controllable platform from the level of blockchain’s own architecture and system architecture, that is, full-stack controllable.
The article has come to an end, and the summary shows that the development of Antchain has been basically set, and the path of empowerment is obvious. The technical application path of the Alliance Chain has thus been finalized. There is no need to question the technical application of blockchain anymore, only that there are not many companies that can open the links of the chain.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/some-digging-into-the-roots-of-antchain-and-btn/
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