Sat. Jan 1st, 2022
    Fastest blockchain, Free TON

    The world record for the number of transactions per second, which until recently belonged to the Solana blockchain, has been set by Free TON. Now the highest achievement is over 56,000 transactions, and in the public network! We share the details of this historic challenge.

    We recall that during the Magister Ludi validator contest, the throughput of the Free TON network on a C++ node peaked at 2,000 transactions per second. Planned back in February 2021, the Rust Cup contest — in addition to testing the Rust node and slashing system — aimed to achieve a world record.

    Record in a “test tube”

    It should be mentioned here that the blockchain speed record is a rather relative concept. Indicators achieved by Solana, 50 000 transactions per second, are the result of work carried out under laboratory conditions. All processing machines are connected to a single closed network and show really impressive data due to their high data transfer rate and minimal latency. In this environment, blockchain speed depends more on its architecture.

    The processing of transactions in the real Internet space received from ordinary users, however, is affected by additional factors that inevitably reduce blockchain speed. First of all, this is the capacity of Internet communication channels, which is affected by the physical remoteness of validator equipment, channels provided by data centers, etc. The computing power of the equipment should also be taken into account.

    Thus, the goal of the TON Labs team responsible for Rust was to surpass the results of the Solana blockchain on the internal network. This record became a reality, and it was just the beginning!

    Tests conducted on the internal network of TON Labs on August 12, 2021, showed a result of 55,000 transactions per second.

    Graph provided by Mitja Goroshevsky, CTO of TON Labs

    Tests that day showed the result on an incremental basis — 18,000 transactions… 30,000… and finally the RECORD.

    New Terminology System

    To avoid confusion, let us explain that the previously used Free TON naming system has been replaced by a new one that more accurately reflects the nature of the processes.

    Shards have been given a better term — threads.

    Workchains are more in line with the shard concept, since sharding involves data splitting.

    This change in the naming system will gradually be implemented in all Free TON blockchain software solutions.

    Records in Outworld

    The next stage of testing was entering the main Rust Cup network.

    Event Discussion

    As can be concluded from the presentation, the validator network participating in the contest was able to provide a throughput of 14,500 transactions per second. However, as Mitja Goroshevsky said, due to problems in the operation of blockchain telemetry data collection front-end services, the actual speed was higher. The result, which was also a milestone in the development of the blockchain industry, but clearly could not satisfy the contest organizers — after the peak values, the network collapsed.

    It should be noted that in the above screenshot, each peak pointing down in the graph indicates the process flow splitting for load balancing. The upward growth of the graph after such peaks indicates an increase in the load within the blockchain until the next stage of the split.

    With this workload, transferring external data to the blockchain becomes a major challenge, for example, for the deployment of new smart contracts. Therefore, a threshold value is reached, the load starts to decrease — fronts, unable to withstand the load, stop transmitting data to the blockchain, new smart contracts are not deployed, and the load by the number of smart contracts executed gradually decreases.

    Record on the rustnet

    The second stage of testing took place on August 31 and the night of September 1.  The morning began with repeating and then breaking the record of 63,000 transactions per second! This is an absolute world record that has already made history in the industry.

    After the information about the record appeared, the validators froze in anticipation  — the load on the main test network was planned for the evening of August 31, so far it barely withstood high speeds. But the work on the front-ends, carried out by TON Labs after the first testing stage on August 12, borne fruit. For greater network stability, TON Labs validators have also entered the race, especially keeping the masterchain running.

    Around midnight, Mitja Goroshevsky demonstrated the statistics, which showed that the rustnet had managed over 56,000 transactions per second and was still running.

    Throughout the night of September 1, the network maintained a load of tens of thousands of transactions, thereby impressing race participants. When TON Labs validators were removed from the network, it maintained high throughput, showing over 45,000 transactions per second. The speed of the Free TON blockchain is already comparable to the record transaction speeds of payment systems such as Visa and Mastercard.

    Screenshot from Mitja Goroshevsky, September 1, 2021.

    In the commentary to our publication, Mitja Goroshevsky confirmed all the achievements of the blockchain and said that further work will be aimed at ensuring stability:

    There are still problems with stability, solving them is the next step. Mitja Goroshevsky

    During the first stage of the Rust Cup contest, 458 validators were registered on the network. As you can see from the presentation, the blockchain configuration consisted of 10 wokchains — shards — and the total number of threads in each wokchain started at 32 and ended at 266. The statistics for the second stage have not yet been made public.

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