Public blockchains in 2020

6 min readJan 9, 2021


Looking back to 2020, the blockchain industry is developing very rapidly. As the infrastructure of the blockchain industry, public blockchains has made progress in scalability, privacy, cross chain, etc…

For Ethereum, the king of public blockchains, on December 1, 2020, the Ethereum 2.0 mainnet beacon chain will start as scheduled, which is an extremely important milestone. Polkadot, a rising star, has also made a lot of progress. Since the first candidate chain Polkadot CC1 was released on May 26, 2020, Polkadot’s main network has entered a stage by stage release state. At the end of last year, Polkadot’s parallel chain test network rococo-v1 started and ran, which means that Polkadot’s parallel chain slot auction is imminent. The main network of the star project aelf was officially launched on December 10, 2020, and the first side chain was deployed on the main network of aelf on December 25. Its multi chain structure has been running stably for some time. On January 6, the old brand project dfinity released the announcement that the main network has been online on December 18, 2020, which means that the alpha phase of the main network of Internet computers has officially started.

Which public blockchainss will develop by leaps and bounds in 2021?

Cross chain Tech is still hot

At present, bitcoin has occupied a dominant position in the market. Ethereum has basically become the leading of the public blockchains. Other projects are trying to solve the existing problems of the two public blockchains. Especially in 2020, the outbreak of DeFi applications makes Ethereum network congestion, insufficient performance and other defects more prominent. Therefore, infrastructure upgrading is an urgent task for Ethereum. However, because Ethereum 2.0 has not been implemented yet and the slicing technology is difficult, people turn their attention to other cross chain projects.

Polkadot parallel chain auction must be one of the hot spots this year. The previous article “at the beginning of the bull market, apart from bitcoin and Ethereum, what encryption assets can we pay attention to? 》There is also an analysis in this paper. It can be seen that Polkadot’s parallel chain framework has basically taken shape, which has opened the first step of its ecological construction.

In the design of the wave card, the main chain, that is, the relay chain, is built based on the substrate framework. Other blockchains with the same consensus can be connected to the relay chain through slots to realize the data cross chain, asset cross chain and interoperability between the isomorphic chains. These blockchains connected to the wave card are called parallel chains. Parallel chains can communicate with each other through xcmp (cross chain message passing) protocol. The right to use the parallel chain slot needs to be obtained through auction, and only the winner can truly become a member of Polkadot ecology. In addition, blockchains with different underlying consensus, such as bitcoin and Ethereum, can not be directly connected to the relay chain, and can only become parallel chains through the way of transfer bridge, so as to realize the cross chain of heterogeneous chains. At present, the first parallel chain slot auction has not started, and Polkadot’s cross chain concept has not been implemented. When the auction ends and the parallel chain runs in batches, it is still unknown whether its performance can meet the expectations, but I believe that Polkadot’s strength will be tested in the real environment.

When it comes to projects that have made achievements at the cross chain level, aelf is the first to bear the brunt. Cross chain has always been the main label of the project, and the main network of aelf will finally go online at the end of 2020.

Aelf’s cross chain logic is a multi-level “main side chain” system, emphasizing “one chain, one scene”, that is, one side chain supports one scene, such as a DAPP or a WiFi application. In the process of cross chain, aelf uses a way called “index” to realize the communication between chains. Index means that one chain transmits data to another chain. Therefore, the cross chain process of aelf can be summarized as follows: the parent chain includes the child chain block into its own block, and the child chain records the parent chain block into its own storage contract. At the same time, not only the main chain and the side chain index each other, there will be multiple sub chains below the side chain, which can also be indexed. Through two-step index, aelf has been able to verify the existence and timing of transactions. More macroscopically, aelf is to index the parent chain and the child chain to achieve cross chain. While aelf lays out isomorphic chain and cross chain, it also has practical use cases in heterogeneous chain and cross chain. In the hacker reward activity initiated by aelf, aelf successfully completed the first cross chain transfer test of large assets through the cross chain transfer standard agreement, and the cross chain transfer transaction of 100000 US dollars verified its cross chain technical strength. At present, the first shared side chain of aelf has been deployed to the main network, and the resource token for auction has been available. It seems that every step Polkadot wants to take is ahead of aelf.

High performance is the core of public blockchains

For the bottom public blockchains which provides solutions for all walks of life, good performance is the basis of the implementation of the scheme, and it is also an important core point. We know that the current Ethereum blockchain is not scalable, and the current solution is the two-layer network. However, the problem is that the interoperability between different two-layer networks, such as Polkadot parallel chain or aelf parent-child chain, can not be realized, because Ethereum has no cross chain and interoperability function in its design.

Compared with Ethereum, dfinity, which is famous for its high performance, has many improvements in throughput, high-speed computing, adaptability and scalability. Difinity uses threshold relay technology, which can quickly generate blocks and improve transaction throughput. In terms of scalability, dfinity adopts a new architecture, which divides consensus, verification and storage into different levels. The consensus layer does not set transaction blocks, and the storage layer is split into slices. The verification layer combines the hashes of all the slices, so as to expand the capacity as long as the miners are added.

Aelf chooses the consensus mechanism of aedpos to ensure that blocks can be generated stably in high frequency, which greatly reduces the number of block production nodes, and solves the collusion problem that has plagued dpos for a long time through the generation mechanism of true random number. On this basis, aelf also introduces the idea of parallel execution into the system, and further improves the expansion power of aelf through the technology of transaction fragmentation in the protocol layer 。 In addition, in the design of aelf, each component is modular and loosely coupled. This design makes it possible to expand the module when a component becomes a bottleneck, and the processing capacity of key modules in aelf can be expanded flexibly.

Generally speaking, each public blockchains project is unique and has its own merits. Ethereum is trying to transfer its whole economic system to a new network “Ethereum 2.0”. Although it is a long process, it is also worth looking forward to in the long run. As Polkadot parallel chain slot auction approaches, Polkadot fundamentals will also usher in more favorable conditions, which will bring impetus to the rise of dot price. Aelf maintains a high level in cross chain technology implementation and performance, and is an underestimated potential project. With the continuous development of its business, elf is expected to achieve a price breakthrough. Recently, dfinity released the final milestone mercury phase, and the alpha phase of the Internet computer main network was officially launched. It is hoped that dfinity can deliver a satisfactory answer to the market.


With the further development of cross chain technology, we may see the value flow from single chain ecological prosperity to ten thousand chain interconnection. It can be said that the current situation has opened up the idea of the development of the blockchain industry. Other public blockchainss are not to replace Ethereum, but to expand the scale of the industry and realize their own value through Wan chain interconnection. Among them, the important thing is not which chain is the first or which chain is the second. In the end, it is to form an ecology of one super and many strong, or how many strong coexist, through the evolution history of the public blockchains.

In any case, even if all public blockchainss (including bitcoin) become the side chains of Ethereum, the whole ecosystem will not be the only one of Ethereum. Different public blockchainss themselves may be an important part of the scalability of blockchain in the end.




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