BEIJING, Aug. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Blockchain is definitely a hotspot of today's cutting-edge technologies in the world, and a variety of innovations are constantly emerging. However, while most of the technology focuses on token issuance and commercial applications, those on the fundamental technology of blockchain - Data Chain are very rare. When most of the people still think that blockchain is new, there is a group of Chinese people who have already set eyes on the next generation of blockchain technology.
A few days ago, a blockchain called "MATRIX Chain", in which several Chinese scientists played a leading role in the research and development, made a splash in its sector. By incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into the underlying data chain, the innovation has made this blockchain smarter, easier to use, and capable of evolving constantly through self-learning. Several new points of the concept of "MATRIX Chain" have attracted broad attention in the industry since its proposal.
Starting with the underlying technology of blockchain
"Now, artificial intelligence is not only the most popular term in high technology, but also the most important technology that has been acknowledged as the future direction of scientific and technological development," Deng Yangdong, chief scientist of MATRIX on AI, indicated that the combination of blockchain technology with AI represents the future direction of blockchain development.
Deng Yanddong is associate professor of Tsinghua University, and also a renowned artificial intelligence scholar in China. He had acted as a team leader to win the first place in Pascal Artificial Intelligence International Competition. It has always been one of his great ambitions to combine the technologies of artificial intelligence with blockchain and advance the actual application of these two technologies.
For some of the currently popular blockchains, when a chain is set after research and development, its core parameters will be fixed accordingly. With the changes in service targets and in external environment, however, many parameters will have difficulties in its applications. For instance, because the size of block for bitcoin was set at 1 Mbyte, and the time for a single mining process at 10 minutes, the conditions at the initial stages were relatively relaxed. Since 2016, online transactions have become very intensive, and most of the intensive commercial transactions are not suitable to be carried out with bitcoins.
As the earliest version of blockchain technology, bitcoin can be called the first generation of blockchain technology, or blockchain 1.0, but during the initial design of bitcoin, no consideration had been given to the larger-scale application of this technology later on. Mining and establishment of a distributed ledger turned to be the core of bitcoin, which resulted in a very low commercial scalability and efficiency.
In order to solve the problem, Ethereum emerges. With smart contracts as its core, Ethereum provides an interface and system that is more suitable for larger-scale commercial applications of Blockchain, while enhancing efficiency. Therefore, Ethereum is widely considered by its sector as the second generation of blockchain technology, or blockchain 2.0.
According to Deng Yangdong, MATRIX, as the new generation of blockchain and with the introduction of AI, it can dynamically update the parameters for various blockchains so as to create self-evolution in the industry. Furthermore, MATRIX Chain can also address the issues during the finalization of the current blockchain designs and the inflexibility in adjusting various blockchain parameters. For this, MATRIX Chain could be deemed as blockchain 3.0.
Automatically discriminating against loopholes in transactions
Smart contracts are the core link in the application of blockchain technology, but conventional transactions under smart contracts are still in a risky stage, with each transaction posing a "risk". This is also one of the important causes that blockchain technology is now facing difficulties to be put into mass application.
"The root cause of this phenomena lies in that a blockchain is designed in a trustless environment, and this means there is no way to correct any errors that occur", Li Qinghua, chief scientist of MATRIX on chip and software architecture, was quoted as saying.
Li is a renowned expert on chip design in China, and once was the head of the R & D department and chief architect in designing the first WiFi chip in China.
He stated with an example that, in a current blockchain, if currency is sent to a certain address, the operation will be irreverisible. This means that if a dealer sends currency to a wrong address, the currency will be lost. Likewise, something similar to the phishing on the Internet can also happen in blockchains, in which case a hacker exploits the loopholes in contracts through setting up traps, and the transactions of this type can't be retrieved either.
Moreover, if any man-made error occurs when a user is writing a contract, such as a fat-finger error in a stock market transaction or a wrong quotation in a foreign exchange transaction (for example, quotation in RMB/USD mistaken for that in USD/RMB), the above-mentioned transaction can be revoked in reality through a controlled system. However, in a decentralized system, it will only let the dealer take the risk in the same way as they do in conventional contracts.
"Smart contracts for MATRIX Chain are dedicated to addressing the above issues for which the solution is a conventional centralized system," Li explained, with the introduction of AI models based on the principle of non-discrimination. The smart contracts for MATRIX Chain let the automatic judgment on the quality of transaction models, the automatic detection of loopholes in transactions, and the execution of a civilized process of transactions under contracts.
Setting up a blockchain that anyone knows how to use
Decentralization, openness, tamper-proofing etc. are the core features of blockchain technology, and these features determine how widely blockchain can be applied: as long as a transaction is made between multiple parties who lack trust in each other, blockchain technology can be used.
The application of blockchain technology has been launched in many governmental agencies and organizations globally, as well as in large enterprises, involving many industries such as finance, communication, medical treatment, and real estate. As far as ordinary users are concerned, blockchain technology is too complicated and difficult to understand.
"Specialization and complexity has always been a major obstacle to the commercial application of blockchain technology," Deng pointed out, although Ethereum provides smart contracts, it now can only address simple linear problems, but has no way to respond to more complicated contractual conditions. This significantly limits the space and scope of the transactions and applications over the chains.
Instead, MATRIX, which has incorporated AI-based algorithm, is able to solve many non-linear and more complicated problems, largely lowering the problem in its application and thus significantly improving the range of blockchain technology applications.
Deng said that quasi-Ethereum smart contracts are more like an exclusive application for a small group of technicians who are familiar with codes than a generic one for ordinary users. However, after AI has been incorporated, the only operation ordinary users need to do to generate a smart contract is to type in the transaction objective and textual description of transaction conditions, making the smart contract service easily accessible for everyone.