Hedera Hashgraph, a decentralized public network where “anyone can carve out a piece of cyberspace to transact, play, and socialize in a secure, trusted environment,” has released its mainnet.
Supported by Fortune 100 companies including Boeing, IBM, and the Telekom Group, Hedera Hashgraph aims to deliver faster transaction processing and the ability to scale more effectively than blockchain-based platforms.
Hedera’s testnet was launched in December 2018, however, it was only available to a small group of companies and developers.
As of September 17, Hedera Hashgraph is open to everyone. Users can create an account and develop decentralized applications (dApp) on the network, which is somewhat similar to a blockchain but uses a different approach to reaching consensus regarding the current state of its distributed ledger.
Following the launch of Hedera’s mainnet, the project’s treasury is planning to distribute the initiative’s native HBAR tokens, starting at around 01:00 UTC.
The first set of tokens (around 379 million) will be distributed to investors who took part in a $124 million crowd sale that was conducted between March 2018 to August 2018.
Project advisors, vendors, and other project participants will receive a total of 1.95 million tokens. The remainder of the 50 billion HBARs token supply will be gradually released during the next 15 years by the Hedera Hashgraph governing council.
Initially, twelve digital asset exchanges and over-the-counter (OTC) trading platforms will be listing HBAR tokens, including AlgoZ, BitOoda, Bering Waters, Bittrex, Galaxy Digital, GSR, Liquid, OKEx, OKCoin, OSL, Upbit, and xFutures.
Hashgraph’s creators say that the platform works more efficiently than blockchains, which makes it ideal for enterprise-level applications and e-commerce solutions.
Hedera’s management claims that the network can handle up to 10,000 transactions per second, compared to just 3 transactions per second settled by the Bitcoin network and only 15 for Ethereum.
Hedera CEO Mance Harmon, in a company release, stated:
“We are thrilled that, through open access, dozens of decentralized applications are now live and running on the mainnet.”
Hashgraph’s supporters say that its proof-of-stake (PoS)-based consensus algorithm is fairer than Bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW)-based consensus mechanism, allowing transactions to be processed in the order they were registered, while settling them all in the same amount of time.
Unlike open-source public blockchain projects, Hedera’s source code is patented. The project’s development team noted that the code is protected in order to prevent others from copying it or forking it into another network.
Large corporations including IBM, Deutsche Telekom, Tata, Nomura, and Boeing will form part of the Hedera Hashgraph governance council, and they’ll also be operating nodes and voting on future software upgrades.
Compared to blockchains that store gigabytes of data, the hashgraph is a lot smaller because it does not keep records of the transaction history. Hashgraph’s developers promise faster speeds, near-instant transaction finality and quick payments, which would be a big improvement over Bitcoin’s ten minute block times.
Hashgraph is currently in a beta testing phase, because its network has not yet integrated the Hedera Consensus Service (HCS) and several other features which will be added in the upcoming version 1.0.
The HCS will link the hashgraph with private (permissioned) blockchains. It works by allowing a hash of transactions generated by an external network to be ordered in the Hedera platform by time. The ordering shows records of when transactions took place, with the added trust of a decentralized computing network.
For instance, drug development firm Certara will be using the HCS to enable “tamper-proof” recording of health data records, while using a permissioned platform like Hyperledger Fabric to maintain privacy.
The HCS will allow Fabric to execute on top of mirror nodes that allow developers to examine all the transactions taking place over the hashgraph. Those viewing the transactions will not be required to participate in the network’s consensus process like regular nodes.