August 15, 2017

nChain Innovation: Computational Flexibility Using the Blockchain


The scripting language within Bitcoin is materially limited in regard to the available instruction set.  There are good reasons for these restrictions since they provide robust protection against denial of service (DDoS) attacks against nodes within the network as well as ensuring that any script can be completely and robustly tested (which is not a feature readily available within general computing environments).

 However, these restrictions limit the ability of the network to perform complicated functionality that would allow for additional services to be secured against the blockchain rather than simple cryptocurrency transfers.

 Within our patent application PCT/IB2017/050821, nChain demonstrates how the blockchain network is not computationally limited by allowing the blockchain to act as the tape within a universal Turing machine with external, off-chain, computing agents able to orchestrate complex application behaviour secured against the blockchain.  (The application is entitled “Agent-based Turing Complete Transactions integrating feedback within a Blockchain System”).

 This opens up significant application opportunities, and in our patent application PCT/IB2017/050820, nChain demonstrates how this new computing paradigm can operate secure voting regimes.  (The application is entitled “Blockchain implemented counting system and method for use in secure voting and Distribution.”)

 nChain’s secure voting regime relies on the ability to securely track ballot papers (that are represented by public keys) allowing the agent to track the votes through monitoring when these keys are used to submit a user’s ballot.  Once the ballot has been submitted, the agent can count from the published blocks the number of votes cast.  More pertinently, this voting also allows cut-offs after which a vote is no longer valid that can be restricted either by the block height, or the time.

 The full technical details of these applications are available through the links provided below:

Agent-based Turing Complete Transactions integrating feedback within a Blockchain SystemPCT/IB2017/050821

Blockchain implemented counting system and method for use in secure voting and DistributionPCT/IB2017/050820