This article is provided for information and education purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Readers are encouraged to do their own research and consult a professional before making any investment decisions.
High Performance Blockchain (HPB) is a scalability-focused blockchain platform, with its roots in China. Although they are often compared to EOS, the HPB team is tackling the scaling issue using a very novel combination of both software AND hardware. They hope that their hardware acceleration model will help to speed up both transaction throughput and latency to a degree that allows unrestricted real-world use cases.
Their goal of 1 million transactions per second and a 3-second confirmation time would finally enable many major businesses to begin to harness the benefits of blockchain technology.
Perhaps most interestingly, the project involves numerous ties - including a partnership- with UnionPay Smart, a Chinese transaction-data giant.
The Scaling Issue
As we all know, scalability is one of the most pressing issues in the blockchain world. Very few useful applications can successfully run on current blockchain networks, as they simply can’t handle the transaction capacity that is required.
These types of network weaknesses have been highlighted by events such as the CryptoKitties phenomenon, which pushed the Ethereum network to its limits after the application surged in popularity. This exposed several issues that come with high network usage including painfully slow confirmation times, and very high fees.
In an effort to solve scaling issues, almost all projects so far have focused exclusively on the software side of things.
The HPB Solution
Regular blockchain nodes broadcast and verify transaction data on the software level and rely on a slow, serial processing of data between nodes.
HPB have instead opted to work specialized hardware into the picture, into a system they call a “Blockchain Offload Engine”. It integrates fully into the blockchain’s software, while utilising a combination of regular serial processing and parallel processing as seen in FPGA/ASIC chips, for rapid performance.
Their forward-thinking design also appears to address the fact that once blockchain software catches up, hardware may become the new bottleneck in the scaling race. Accounting for this imminent increase of blockchain data storage and transfers gives HPB a head-start, in terms of their capacity to handle future utilization of their chain.
They recently completed their closed beta testnet phase, achieving a remarkable 30,000 transactions per second. HPB believe that this is sufficient evidence that they’ll be able to reach their goal of 1 million transactions per second with the appropriate optimization.
It appears that a big driver in the creation of the HPB platform may have come from big-data giant UnionPay Smart, a subsidiary of UnionPay. If you haven’t heard of UnionPay before, they can be thought of as the “Visa” or “Mastercard” of China. Except, they’re bigger than both of those companies, combined!
HPB have confirmed their partnership with UnionPay Smart in their whitepaper.
As outlined in the above whitepaper, the biggest current issues with big data are security and privacy. Although centralised IT data systems are efficient, they can lack data integrity and are more susceptible to data leaks.
Decentralization improves upon current systems by enhancing security and data quality. A decentralized system may also improve the value of data sets by allowing better utilization and analysis.
Handling 80% of China’s banking transaction data, there is a huge incentive for UnionPay Smart to improve their data security and value using blockchain technology.
Their collaboration is set to kick off in the third quarter of this year.
Team, Advisors, and Investors
The group of people behind this project are very promising and bring a wealth of expertise and connections to the table.
Each of the co-founders has a stellar background:
- Xiaoming Wang (CEO): Co-founded UnionPay Smart and was the former CTO of Beltal - a huge Chinese wholesale gateway company.
- Jinxin Li (CFO): Former blockchain senior analyst at Guotai Junan Securities, who manage RMB 4.7billion (USD $745million) in capital.
- Li Xu (CTO): Former CEO at HyperSilicon, a leading FPGA chip supplier with customers such as Huawei, AMD, Fujitsu.
- Shanlin Lou (Tech VP): Former Software manager and R&D Director for Cein Biotechnology.
Advisors and investors also include a Nobel Prize winner, the Executive President of UnionPay Smart, and the NEO blockchain foundation.
Members of the team have been running information sessions at prominent American universities such as Stanford, Columbia, and UCLA, offering opportunities to connect with and work for HPB.
The HPB Token
The HPB token currently exists as an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain and will be swapped for HPB tokens once the mainnet is released.
The token will be used as “gas” to power smart contracts and dApps on the platform. A certain quantity (to be decided) of HPB will be required to run a node, and rewards will be paid to nodes upholding the network in HPB tokens.
The current circulating supply is 28 million HPB tokens, with a total supply of 100 million.
The rest of the supply is made up of an allocation to the team and cornerstone investors (20%), a community incentive fund (18%), a reserve fund (12%), a marketing fund (4%), and refunded tokens for Chinese buyers (18%, now locked).
Virtual Machine Compatibility
HPB will support a range of virtual machines for existing platforms, and they plan to keep adding these as they see fit.
The focus is currently on the Ethereum and NEO Virtual Machines, allowing smart contracts and applications from these platforms to interact with HPB in cases where high performance is required.
HPB are currently in their open beta testing phase, to confirm the stability and security of their network and consensus algorithms.
They are still extremely unrecognised in the western world, and their token is only available on a few lesser-known exchanges. This leaves a lot of room for growth as exposure is achieved, both through marketing and eventual addition to more major exchanges.
The legitimacy of the project, the team, and their work is all coming to light, extinguishing the initial scepticism of the cryptocurrency community.
The project is finally beginning to release code and documentation publicly and has vastly improved their team’s work history and “google-ability”. The confirmation of their partnership with UnionPay Smart in their new whitepaper was also a crucial clarification, which many initially dismissed as untrue.
At a market cap of $52m at the time of this writing, there is a ton of room for growth if they are to eclipse their closest competitors EOS, who have a current market cap of a whopping $4.7billion.
HPB are aiming to launch the first version of their mainnet by mid-year.