Blockchain data propagation refers to the process in which a transaction is spread through a distributed network until it is included in a block on the blockchain as confirmation. Even though the decentralized nature of blockchain technology has many advantages, one issue that arises is how data is propagated in a network that has no centralized server. Data transmission is simple in centralized databases, whereas data propagation in distributed systems like Bitcoin and Ethereum, flow via a peer-to-peer network. Instead of sending data to a centralized server, the data is sent out to thousands, if not millions of nodes. Because of network latency, it would take a really long time to upload data to every node, thus the way in which blockchains propagate data is critical to network efficiency.
✨ How blockchains propagate data
For example, say you want to send 1 bitcoin to someone. The Bitcoin network does not require you to transmit your transaction data to the entire network, as this would be time consuming and inefficient. Instead, valid and non-conflicting transactions are sent to the nearest miners (nodes), who also spread this data to their closest neighbors using a “gossip” protocol. In the same way you might act if you were talking behind someone’s back or “gossiping”, the nodes only propagate the data to other nodes in their vicinity. This process repeats until the transaction has been spread across the entire network. Graph theory suggests this method of information propagation is actually more efficient than sending it to the entire network at once.
📣 Blockchain propagation limitations
Even though the blockchain method of data propagation is efficient, there are some limitations. First, it will still take some time for that information to go through, especially if it’s a large network. Most blockchains deal with this issue by creating time limits regarding data propagation. For example, Bitcoin publishes a new block every 10 minutes. This solution creates another issue, when the data isn’t properly distributed across the entire network before the next block is meant to be added to the blockchain.
Let’s say client A sends client B 1 bitcoin. This data transaction is propagated through the network, but by the time the next block is ready to be added to the blockchain, some of the network may still not have received this transaction data and instead is receiving an alternative transaction, say client C sending 2 bitcoin to client D. This issue is solved via the blockchains consensus mechanism. In web3 the most widely used consensus mechanisms are; Proof of Work, Proof of Stake, Delegated Proof of Stake, Proof of Authority, and Proof of History. These verification methods are critical to how a blockchain functions, as they allow the decentralized network a way to verify data without slowing down block creation due to data propagation speed.
Data propagation in a decentralized blockchain is an important factor in understanding the basics of web3 functionality. Using network coordinates to study the latency between computers in a decentralized network contributes to the future optimization of data propagation and is a key factor in determining the systems viability compared to centralized networks.
MassBit provides fully decentralized solutions for Defi and Web3 App project development. Currently MassBit has 3 products in the stage of development; MassBit Route, MassBit Cross-Chain Indexing and MassBit Insights. MassBit enables DeFi and Web3 App development to be faster, stable, scalable, and more cost-effective.
The powerful ‘glue’ holding together and supporting all the products is the MassBit Verification Protocol, which is based on proof of stake. The protocol incentivizes those working within the system to verify each other’s work. The verification of other nodes, gateways, or indexers gives rewards or penalties for the mistakes to each individual or entity. From that, the protocol ensures the whole network’s health.