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Mjolnir: Tooling for BAT Apollo

Marching towards Brave’s mission to create a decentralised ecosystem for digital advertising that respects user’s privacy, we aim to incrementally decentralize components of our architecture as they relate to the Basic Attention Token (BAT) as well as Brave’s advertiser and publisher ecosystem. We also aim to maintain or improve the performance, security and privacy guarantees which the BAT ecosystem currently offers. 

Public blockchains (like the Ethereum Mainnet) are open networks, allowing anyone to both add and verify data in the network. This guarantees a high level of decentralization2, non-repudiation3, and censorship resistance at the expense of :

  • Transaction Throughput: In its current implementation, Ethereum nodes broadcast transactions at an average of 15 Transactions Per Second (TPS). This throughput pales in comparison to VISA4, which claims a performance of 65,000+ TPS . This low transaction speed is because (i) there are many nodes taking part in consensus (ii) it takes a longer time to broadcast the transactions to all the nodes in the network. 
  • Execution Costs: To solve the halting problem5, Turing complete public blockchains attach a monetary cost (gas) to the execution of commands. This cost is undesirable and can be unpredictable.
  • Lack of Privacy: Confidentiality and Anonymity are also issues, as participants are privy to all the data in the network and interactions between participants. 

Permissioned blockchains, on the other hand, have transaction throughputs orders of magnitude higher than their public counterparts while potentially improving privacy. Permissioned blockchains benefit from less expensive consensus algorithms and lower communication costs. Permissioned consortiums can be broader and more open than mining consortiums if they’re chosen carefully: ultimately we think a consortium can be as decentralized and censorship resistant, or even more so than mining consortiums or proof of stake schemes, which all potentially suffer from oligarchic problems. Based on this, we consider permissioned blockchains a reasonable compromise when choosing building blocks for the future Apollo phase of the BAT ecosystem.

While Ethereum Clients are a core component of Web 3.0, and there are many such clients already developed, the lack of standardisation across them makes it difficult to test the technology. 

To remedy this and enable testing on a level playing field, we created Mjolnir. Mjolnir is a tool for deploying and benchmarking Permissioned Ethereum Blockchain implementations easily. We hope that other teams can benefit from the results and use the tool for their testing.

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