Upgrading the Neblio Network to Scale for the Future

Scale has always been a hot-topic while discussing blockchain projects, especially since transaction fees on the Bitcoin network exploded in 2017. With the release of Neblio Token Protocol-1 we know that we must dramatically scale the number of transactions that the Neblio Network can handle. As companies around the world begin to implement their blockchain-based project on the Neblio Platform using NTP1, we expect a surge in transactions. Due to this expected future demand, we’re upgrading the Neblio Network to be one of the highest throughput blockchain networks in existence.

Performing Real Transaction-Per-Second Benchmarks

The first step in our journey to scale the Neblio Network was to measure the current network performance and identify bottlenecks. These are not theoretical calculations nor absurd white paper dreams; we set up a private testnet network and developed a benchmarking suite from the ground up that pushes our blockchain network to the absolute max with various transaction types and sizes. This benchmarking suite, I call it nebl-stress, allows us to do several things:

  • Accurately measure the initial Neblio Network performance to achieve a baseline number.
  • Continuously make tweaks and improvements as bottlenecks are identified and gather real performance data to identify how successful (or unsuccessful!) those changes were in improving performance.

Taking the time to build this suite was invaluable in making changes to our network that will translate to dramatic real-world improvements for all Neblio users.

Here is a video showing one of our upgraded nodes processing all of the transactions being thrown at it by our benchmarking suite.

(Note – Even this terminal video player is overwhelmed by all of the text moving so fast and lags a bit. It seems smoother if you let it play through once, and then try playing it again):

Bigger Dynamic Blocks, Faster Block Time, Expanded OP_RETURN Size

We’re making a lot of internal optimizations and changes to the blockchain but the following major parameters are changing:

  • Neblio block sizes are dynamic and are now capped at a maximum 8MB, up from 1MB. Additional parameters have changed allowing us to stake blocks all the way up to the maximum size, which was not previously possible. This change will increase transactions-per-second throughput by ~32X
  • Neblio’s target block time is now 30 seconds, down from 120 seconds. This change will increase transactions-per-second throughput by an additional 4X and increase the number of blocks created per day by 4X, meaning stakers have 4 times as many chances per day to stake blocks.
  • Neblio’s OP_RETURN maximum size will now be 4096 bytes. This increase does not increase transactions-per-second but gives us the flexibility for exciting NTP1 upgrades in the near future, stay tuned.
Overall, after all of our optimizations, our real-world benchmarks showed an incredible 119.4X increase in transactions-per-second throughput on the Neblio Network. This network upgrade makes Neblio one of the highest throughput blockchains in existence.

Hard-Forking, Testnet, & Deployment Schedule

Because the changes we are making are changes to fundamental properties to the Neblio Network we will be initiating a hard-fork to implement the network update. We are planning the hard-fork for testnet on August 1st, 2018. This hard-fork will require a mandatory neblio-Qt/nebliod software upgrade. If you are one of the few running a testnet wallet/node, stay tuned for a new software release and exact block height at which the fork will be activated.

After a successful activation of the network upgrade on testnet, the team will begin updating and testing all of our other, existing, blockchain software to ensure compatibility with the upgraded Neblio Network (Electrum, Orion, Block Explorer, etc) and begin working with exchanges to upgrade their Neblio Nodes. Once all the updates are complete and the tests are done, we will schedule a mainnet upgrade in late-Q3/early-Q4.

Hard-fork? Does this mean I am getting free coins?

Put simply, no. A hard-fork is simply a blockchain upgrade. It is merely mandatory that you upgrade your neblio-Qt wallet or nebliod node before the announced activation date. Anyone that does not upgrade in time will simply be unable to connect to the official Neblio Network after the activation date. Unlike Bitcoin, where network upgrades and hard-forks can be contentious, the old Neblio network and blockchain will have no value and will simply die off after the activation date. If you have any questions, just hop in Slack and chat with us.

NTP1 Support in neblio-Qt

We are excited, and we know many of our users are excited to see NTP1 support in neblio-Qt. Those that have been following along in Slack or Sam’s GitHub branch know that he is making great progress. A beta version of neblio-Qt will soon be released soon that includes NTP1 sending/receiving & viewing of tokens. This beta version uses our API suite to perform NTP1 functions.

After that, Sam will be integrating the core-technology of NTP1 into neblio-Qt and nebliod. This will remove the dependency on the Neblio API Suite and allow users to interact with NTP1 tokens directly in the wallet without it needing to make calls to our API server. This will also reduce the time needed and standardize the process for NTP1 tokens to be listed on 3rd-party cryptocurrency exchanges and eliminate the need for exchanges to make API calls.

We’re excited to take this step forward to accelerate and streamline the adoption of NTP1 tokens.

Also published on Medium.