How Is Hashgraph Different from Blockchain

How-Is-Hashgraph-Different-from-Blockchain

Is hashgraph superior to blockchain? Find out!

Since it first came into existence, blockchain has commanded a lot of attention. More than anything, it’s the revolutionary nature of blockchain that has caught the attention of people in all different fields. From tech to business, everyone is trying to figure out how they can use blockchain to their advantage. But with all this hype, it’s easy to forget that there are more options out there when it comes to creating a transactional system. One example is hashgraph. Here, we look at what hashgraph is and how it differs from blockchain.

So, what is a hashgraph?

Hashgraph, like blockchains, is a distributed ledger technology that enables peer-to-peer transactions of cryptocurrencies. It has been dubbed as the evolution of blockchain technology, enhancing the safety and fairness associated with the platform. It is believed that hashgraph could potentially solve the problems faced by blockchain technology today, such as inefficient design and high energy consumption.

How is it different from blockchain?

Primarily, these two ledgers differ on their consensus mechanisms, which are rules that determine the legitimacy of the transactions that take place on the ledgers. The hashgraph algorithm is based on the consensus mechanisms of “gossip protocol” and “virtual voting”. On the other hand, blockchain uses different consensus mechanisms, like Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS).

The gossip protocol

As its name suggests, the “gossip protocol” is much like the telephone game, where people whisper the same facts into each other’s ears, and the last person to receive the information has to speak it out loud. In a hashgraph, the gossip protocol means that every user will receive information about the transaction, and each will spread it further by giving their take on what they heard. Then, all the participants vote by adding their timestamp of receiving the transaction news to the hashgraph, which creates a transaction confirmation.

This process is much faster than in blockchains, where miners need to solve cryptographic puzzles before validating transactions.

Virtual voting

Virtual voting is the mechanism where all the nodes—people validating the transaction—vote yes or no for a transaction. They don’t get to see how the other nodes have voted but do their own computations to come to a conclusion. If the number of nodes who voted yes during a particular timestamp is in the majority, then the transaction will be considered as confirmed. Thus, there is no way to tamper the hashgraph and validate false transactions.

Other differences between blockchain and hashgraph

Here are the top five differences between the two ledgers:

1) Speed

Hashgraph creates high speed transactions, completing approximately 500,000 transactions per second (TPS). By contrast, blockchain is much slower. It completes between 100 and 10,000 TPS. The differences in speed can be attributed to their consensus mechanisms, as miners can only compute one transaction at a time, and they require plenty of computational energy to do so. 

2) Security

Hashgraph uses asynchronous Byzantine fault tolerance (aBFT) consensus; it means that no matter how malicious or faulty the behavior of one player, none of the other players will lose out on the benefit. This makes it nearly impossible to attack. Blockchain, on the other hand, uses cryptography to secure ‌blocks of transactional data. The transactions are enabled via smart contracts that can be hacked if poorly coded.

3) Fairness

Hashgraph uses the concept of virtual voting, meaning that everyone has an influence on the consensus process. While all members can participate in creating blocks, they are not able to single-handedly decide which transactions form part of them. Each member is forced to work on improving their reputation by providing fair and correct information and transactions. On the contrary, on blockchains, the most powerful miners have the most control over what gets to be a part of a block.

4) Familiarity of nodes

On a hashgraph, the nodes are known by its owner. That’s why, for example, if a company has its own hashgraph and wants to share it with other companies as a common ledger, the only ones who can validate transactions on that hashgraph are those known companies. However, in the case of public blockchains, any user can join the system and start validating transactions.

5) Efficiency

Blockchains are relatively inefficient because the system requires collaborative efforts, through mining pools where miners work together to validate a transaction, and a lot of computational power to solve cryptographic puzzles. Also, it takes a long time to reach consensus since all nodes need to validate transactions before they can be recorded on the ledger. As only one transaction is approved per computer, one node needs to go through all other blocks for cross-verification, further making the process slower. On the other hand, hashgraph’s superior efficiency comes from its aBFT consensus, where each node doesn’t need to know the other nodes it is voting alongside.

Though hashgraph is better than blockchain in numerous ways, it’s not as widely adopted due to its lack of popularity. As cryptocurrency continues to evolve, we will find out if hashgraph is superior to blockchain. 

Header Image by Flickr

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Alinda Gupta
I am a professional journalist and gourmand with an inexplicable love for caffeine. I admire old architecture and find comfort in fiction books. I am also an A1-level certified French speaker—bonne journée!

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