A Glance at the Heart: Proof-of-Authority Technology in the UMI Network

Greetings from the UMI Team! Our Whitepaper describes in detail the key pros and cons of the two mechanisms which the great majority of other cryptocurrencies are based on:

  • Proof-of-Work (PoW) — mining technology. Used in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, etc.
  • Proof-of-Stake (PoS) and its derivatives — forging technology. Used in Nxt, PeerCoin, NEO, PRIZM, etc. 

As a result of a careful analysis of PoW and PoS, which are designed to fight against centralization, there came a conclusion that they both fail to perform their main mission and, in the long run, they lead to the network centralization and poor performance. For this reason, we took a different approach. We use Proof-of-Authority (PoA) algorithm coupled with master nodes, which can ensure the UMI network with decentralization and maximum speed.

The Whitepaper allows you to understand the obvious things. This article will give you a clear and detailed explanation of the technology implemented in the UMI network. Let’s glance at the heart of the network right now.

Proof-of-Authority: How and Why It Emerged 

It’s been over a decade since the first transaction in the Bitcoin network. Over this time, the blockchain technology has undergone some qualitative changes. It’s down to the fact that the cryptocurrency world seeing the emerging Proof-of-Work defects in the Bitcoin network year after year has actively searched for ways to eliminate them. 

PoW decentralization and reliability has an underside of low capacity and scalability problem that prevents the network from rectifying this shortcoming. Moreover, with the growing popularity of Bitcoin, greed of miners who benefit from high fees resulting from the low network throughput has become a serious problem. Miners have also started to create pools making the network more and more centralized. The “human factor” that purposefully slowed down the network and undermined its security could never be eliminated. All this essentially limits the potential for using PoW-based cryptocurrencies on a bigger scale.

Since PoW upgrade ideas came to nothing, crypto community activists have suggested cardinally new solutions and started to develop other protocols. This is how the Proof-of-Stake technology emerged. However, it proved to be excellent in theory rather than in practice. Overall, PoS-based cryptocurrencies do demonstrate a higher capacity, but the difference is not as striking. Moreover, PoS could not fully solve the scalability issue. 

In the hope that it could cope with the disaster plaguing all cryptocurrencies, the community came up with brand new algorithms based on alternative operating principles. One of them is the Proof-of-Authority technology. It was meant to be an effective alternative with a high capacity and a solution to the scalability problem. The idea of using PoA in cryptocurrencies was offered by Gavin Wood — a high-profile blockchain programmer and Ethereum co-founder.

Proof-of-Authority Major Features

PoA’s major difference from PoW and PoS lies in the elimination of miner or forger races. Network users do not fight for the right to be the first to create a block and receive an award, as it happens with cryptocurrencies based on other technologies. In this case blockchain’s operating principle is substantially different — Proof-of-Authority uses the “reputation system” and only allows trusted nodes to create blocks. 

It solves the scalability problem allowing to considerably increase capacity and handle transactions almost instantly without wasting time on unnecessary calculations made by miners and forgers. Moreover, trusted nodes must meet the strict capacity requirements. This is one the main reasons why we have selected PoA since this is the only technology allowing to fully use super-fast nodes.

Due to these features, the Proof-of-Authority algorithm is seen as one of the most effective and promising options for bringing blockchain to various business sectors. For instance, its model perfectly fits the logistics and supply chain management sectors. As an outstanding example, PoA is effectively used by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform to offer various tools for bringing blockchain solutions to businesses. 

How the UMI Network Gets Rid of the Defects and Incorporates the Benefits of Proof-of-Authority Method

Any system has both drawbacks and advantages — so does PoA. According to the original PoA model, each trusted node can create a block, while it is technically impossible for ordinary users to interfere with the system operation. This makes PoA-based cryptocurrencies a lot more centralized than those based on PoW or PoS. This has always been the main reason for criticizing the PoA technology.

We understood that only a completely decentralized product could translate our vision of a “hard-to-hit”, secure and transparent monetary instrument into reality. Therefore, we started with upgrading its basic operating principle in order to create a product that will incorporate all the best features while eliminating the defects. What we’ve got is a decentralized PoA method. We will try to explain at the elementary level:

  • We’ve divided the nodes in the UMI network into two types: master nodes and validator nodes.
  • Only master nodes have the right to create blocks and confirm transactions. Among master node holders there’s the UMI team and their trusted partners from across the world. Moreover, we deliberately keep some of our partners — those who hold master nodes — in secret in order to secure ourselves against potential negative influence, manipulation, and threats from third parties. This way we ensure maximum coherent and reliable system operation.
  • However, since the core idea behind a decentralized cryptocurrency rules out any kind of trust, the blockchain is secured to prevent master nodes from harming the network in the event of sabotage or collusion. It might happen to Bitcoin or other PoW- or PoS-based cryptocurrencies if, for example, several large mining pools unite and perform a 51% attack. But it can’t happen to UMI. First, the worst that bad faith master node holders can do is to negligibly slow down the network. But the UMI network will automatically respond to it by banning such nodes. Thus, master nodes will prevent any partner from doing intentional harm to the network. Moreover, it will not be able to do this, even if most other partners support it. Nothing — not even quantum computers — will help hackers. Read our post “UMI Blockchain Six-Level Security” for more details.
  • A validator node can be launched by any participant. Validator nodes maintain the network by verifying the correctness of blocks and excluding the possibility of fakes. In doing so they increase the overall network security and help master nodes carry out their functions. More importantly, those who hold validator nodes control those who hold master nodes and confirm that the latter don’t violate anything and comply with the rules. You can find more details about validator nodes in the article we mentioned above.
  • Finally, the network allows all interested users to launch light nodes (SPV), which enables viewing and sending transactions without having to download the blockchain and maintain the network. With light nodes, any network user can make sure if the system is operating properly and doesn’t have to download the blockchain to do this.
  • In addition, we are developing the ability to protect the network in case 100% of the master nodes (10,000 master nodes in total) are “disabled” for some reason. Even this is virtually impossible, we’ve thought ahead and in the worst-case scenario, the system will automatically move to PoS. By doing so, it will be able to continue processing transactions. We’re going to tell you about this in our next publications.

Thus, the UMI network uses an upgraded version of this technology which possesses all its advantages with drawbacks eliminated. This model is truly decentralized and maximum secured.

Another major drawback of PoA-based cryptos is no possibility to grant incentives to users. PoA doesn’t imply forging or mining which allow users to earn cryptocurrency while generating new coins. No reward for maintaining the network is the main reason why the crypto community is not interested in PoA. This is, of course, unfair. With this in mind, the UMI team has found the best solution — the unique staking smart-contract. It allows you to increase the number of your coins up to 40% per month even with no mining or forging meaning the human factor cannot have a negative impact on the decentralization and network performance.

New-Generation Proof-of-Authority

The UMI network uses an upgraded version of PoA technology which possesses all its advantages with drawbacks virtually eliminated. This makes UMI a decentralized, easily scalable, and yet the most secure, productive, profitable and fair cryptocurrency, working for the sake of all people. 

The widespread use of UMI can change most aspects of society in different areas, including production, commerce, logistics, and all financial arrangements. We are just beginning this journey and thrilled to have you with us. Let’s change the world together!

Best regards, UMI Team! 

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