Blockchain Trilemma - Crypto Academy / S5W2 - Homework post for nane15.

in hive-108451 •  2 months ago 

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Hello Crypto Lovers,
This is the week 2 of the season 5 in the steemit crypto Academy. I am Kehinde Micheal and my username @msquaretwins here on this great platform. I have gone through the lecture presented by professor @nane15 on "Blockchain Trilemma" in the beginners class. Therefore in this post, I will be answering the question posted in the homework section. Happy reading!


1. Explain in your own words what the Blockchain Trilemma is.


Blockchain technology has really revolutionized the world due to the huge benefit therein. The development of bitcoin which is the father of all cryptocurrency has set a tone for all other cryptocurrency. Since 2009, thousands of cryptocurrency has been developed. Some have their blockchain and some are built on other blockchain.

Blockchain technology is a technology that is unique because it solve the issue of intermediaries that is it decentralized in nature. Because of Decentralization nature of blockchain, users do not need to depend on third party such as traditional banks, government or commercial institution before they can process their transaction. Another unique feature of blockchain is scalability. The scalability has to do with ability to process multiple transaction within a short interval of time. More so, the security that comes with blockchain is also a thing worthy of appreciation. Unlike centralized platforms, the security of users are guaranteed with the use of decentralized system.

With these unique features, decentralization, scalability and security it is belief that no blockchain can offer all the three features and that only two are possible. This belief is what is called Blockchain Trilemma. In short, blockchain trilemma means that a blockchain must sacrifice either decentralization, security or scalability in their basic framework.

Let's take this analogy to understand the concept of blockchain Trilemma clearly. For instance, these features; quality, beauty and cheap price of a leather shoe cannot be 100% true. It will have to sacrifice a feature. It may be quality, beautiful and expensive, which means "cheap" is being sacrificed; or less quality, beautiful and cheap, which means "quality is sacrificed; or quality, not beautiful, and cheap, which means beauty is sacrificed in this case.

The same is true for blockchain trilemma. The three features for blockchain trilemma are decentralization, scalability and security. And the belief of the blockchain trilemma is, the three features is not possible in a blockchain. That is a blockchain may be decentralized, have high scalability but less security, in this case, the security is being sacrificed. Or a blockchain may have high scalability with good security but have issue of decentralization.

For example, bitcoin is very decentralized in nature and highly secured but the transaction it can perform per second is just 7. This means scalability is sacrificed in bitcoin while decentralization and security are of 100% efficient. In the case of Hyperledger’s Fabric blockchain, security and high transaction is achieved but it is centralized in nature. This means that decentralization is sacrificed in this blockchain.

The pictures uploaded below clearly explain blockchain Trilemma.

First, let's see the picture of the three features of blockchain infrastructure below

Blockchain Infrstracture/Image created by me on iMarkup

In the picture below, security is sacrificed while decentralization and scalability are achieved as indicated in the image.

Image created by me on iMarkup

The picture below shows that decentralization and security are achieved but scalability is low.

Image created by me on iMarkup

In the picture below, decentralization is sacrificed but the other two are achieved.

Image created by me on iMarkup


2.Is the Blockchain Trilemma Really a Trilemma?


As we have discussed earlier, in blockchain, three major features are considered. The three features are decentralization, scalability and security. I will say Blockchain Trilemma is really a trilemma since it has not been possible for a long time to achieve these three features at the highest possible level foe a long time.

However, with the recent technology some of the new blockchain have tried to solve this issue of blockchain trilemma and some are still undergoing development to solve the issue. Therefore, I believe in the future, the issue of blockchain trilemma will soon become a thing of the past. But before then, since no verifiable solution has been provided by the new blockchain, I still believe that blockchain trilemma is really a trilemma.


3. Define the following concepts in your own words: (A) Decentralization (B) Scalability (C) Blockchain Security



Blockchain Decentralization is the process by which power of control is given to every participant or user of the system. In short, decentralization is the process of giving power away from a central authority. Decentralization in blockchain gives users power and help users to be in control unlike in centralized system such as government organization, and traditional system where the system is managed and controlled by a central body.

A system is said to be decentralized if the users are permitted to connect together directly through Peer to Peer (P2P) or network nodes. This means that the use of intermediaries are discarded in decentralization.


Scalability is a unique feature of blockchain which dictates how fast or slow transaction can be processed within a short interval of time. It is the blockchain capability to support very high transaction throughput.

As discussed earlier, some project are built on other blockchain. And as such a blockchain that allow many projects to be built on it would keep growing and expanding as a result of different transactions from various projects, more visitation and some other activities. So, the scalability may reduce. So in essence, scalability is not just ability to support higher transaction at the moment but also ability to keep adjust to the as the blockchain keep growing.

Network with a high scalability can processed higher transaction per second while a network with low scalability is limited in transaction processing. The scalability of a system depends on the proof of consensus mechanism or protocol employed. Proof of Work Consensus mechanism is not as fast as Proof of Stake in scalability.

Blockchain Security

Blockchain security is a system used to make blockchain secured and free from attack. This is indubitable a very important feature in blockchain because an attack to the security system of blockchain can cause a huge loss to the entire fund on the blockchain. This is the reason why blockchain developers place high priority on this feature. In fact, investors we understand blockchain security concept do not invest until they are certain of the secured network.

The cryptographic system, decentralization and consensus used in blockchain are the foundation beds upon which the blockchain security is built. In blockchain, transactions are stored in a block and each new data is connected to the previous ones through cryptographic chain and this makes it difficult to interfere with. The verification of all transaction are achieved by the consensus protocol employed.


4. Based on your knowledge, explain at least two viable solutions to the challenges posed in the Blockchain Trilemma.


As we have discussed in the previous questions, blockchain trilemma has to do with three important features of blockchain, which are decentralization, security, and scalability. The two viable solution that will be discussed in this question address the issue of scalability. This means if the issue of scalability is dealt with, blockchain trilemma would become the issue of past. The two solution are called layer 1 and layer 2 scaling solution

Layer 1 Solution

Layer 1 solution has to do with the scaling solution to the main blockchain itself. This solution would amplify and increase the scalability of the main chain. As we have established earlier that the consensus protocol used depends on the scaling capacity of the network. In this type of solution the rule of the consensus mechanism used would be directly change to offer high speed and increase transaction capacity. This will also make habitation of more users efficient and allow more data on the system. Some other suggestion to increase this layer are:

Improvement of Consensus mechanism
As we know that the earlier blockchain like Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchain use Proof of work consensus mechanism and the problem with this consensus mechanism is that it is slow. Although decentralization and security are not are not issue of concern in these blockchain but scalability is. So, the use of Proof of stake consensus protocol has been in used by the newest blockchain to increase scalability. For instance, with ethereum 2.0, the ethereum blockchain will change from PoW to PoS and this will mean that there will be high scalability, increase in decentralization and security of the network will still be maintained.


Sharding is another solution of layer 1 scaling solution. This involves the partitioning of the entire network into separate datasets and the allow to process this dataset separately through parallel operation and as such transaction will be processed very fast.

Layer 2 Solution

Layer two solution is another proposed to solve blockchain trilemma. This solution is the incorporation of third party blockchain that can be used along with the layer 1 or main blockchain to increase and improve scalability. Layer two solution involve moving part of the transaction data of blockchain consensus mechanism to another adjacent but compatible network which then process the transaction and gives feedback to the main blockchain where result will be concluded.

In layer 2 solution, nested blockchains could be built to improve scalability of the network. Nested blockchain is built to fit inside a msin blockchain. The excution of transaction is done via the interconnected blockchain which the makes transaction to be very fast and efficient. The main chain will be distributing work to the different child chains which is then processed and send back to the parent chain after execution.

Another solution offered by layer two solution is sidechain. Sidechain is a special nlockchain that is built to help increase scalability of the blockchain. This type of chain has a consensus protocol different from that of the parent chain. This therefore means that if there is any issue with security with sidechain, it will not affect parent chain since they are not connected with the same consensus protocol.




Many blockchain projects have been developed recently and many more project are still in there development phase and this means that blockchains like ethereum any many other blockchain which permit project to be built on there blockchain will keep accepting projects. It is therefore of a thing of urgency for blockchain developers and founder to really look into the viable solution in tackling the issue of blockchain trilemma.

Although some blockchain have been working towards solving the blockchain trilemma but more ideas on lasting or proper solution is needed to be able to achieve the three important blockchain infrastructure. Special thanks to Professor @nane15 for this wonderful lecture.

Thanks for reading

Cc:- @nane15

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