Chinese Internet Giant Baidu Unveils New Blockchain Protocol
Chinese multinational Internet company Baidu recently announced a new blockchain protocol, known as “Super Chain”, which is meant to be energy efficient and a flexible platform for developers. Baidu operates the second largest search engine in the world, and is also a leader in artificial intelligence. The protocol was revealed by Xiao Wei, chief scientist at Baidu’s blockchain division, at a local conference in China.
At the conference, Wei highlighted the energy efficiency of Super Chain’s consensus mechanism, high throughput potential, as well as its flexibility for developers:
“This compatible developer ecosystem of Bitcoin and Ethereum not only can insert and remove consensus mechanisms to solve the current energy consumption problem, but also supports single-chain support of 100,000 consurrent [transactions per second].
While not many technical details were revealed, one might gather from Wei’s comments that Super Chain may offer side chains with variable consensus mechanisms, based on the needs of the network users. The inefficiency and excessive power use issues associated with cryptomining have already been partially solved with consensus mechanisms such as Byzantine Fault Tolerance or Proof of Stake, but these mechanisms are tradeoffs and may be lacking in other areas, such as decentralization, which may not make them suited to all use cases. It is likely that Baidu’s Super Chain will utilize Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus for the main chain, since most enterprise blockchains use this consensus mechanism to verify transactions with other trusted entities. It will be interesting to see how Super Chain will provide functionality to “insert and remove consensus mechanisms” to achieve its energy efficiency goals.
Wei also hinted that Baidu plans to delve deeper into the blockchain space, saying they are in the process of completing a “blockchain transformation” of certain business processes. In April, Baidu released a blockchain-based digital image copyright protection application.
Baidu’s blockchain progress and other developments, such as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s comments about blockchain being part of the “new industrial revolution”, have led some to believe that China may be easing its strict regulatory stance on cryptocurrency. In May, the director of the Blockchain Research Office with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in China, Li Ming, stated that China will issue new blockchain “standards” by the end of 2019.