Casper Network Research Breakdown
The fact is that large enterprises have given little to no interest in the overwhelming majority of the public blockchain networks that are in the current Layer 1 space.
Of course theres the occasional outliers such as Hedera with their governance council & Energy Web with their foundings from Rocky Mountain Institute and other energy corporations, paired with a handful of a few others that have drawn some real business attraction.
Within the abundance of Layer 1’s is Casper Network which has shown interest from businesses and global organizations alike for its unique hybrid network flexibility allowing businesses to set specific parameters around features required for their operations.
Problem With Silo'd Systems.
The overwhelming majority of businesses that are building on blockchain have opted for private permissioned DLTs such as various Hyperledger modules, R3’s Corda & Consensys/JP Morgan’s Quorum, which often times fit the parameters required for operations such as private consortium initiatives or backend business logistics.
These solutions are perfect fits for enterprise B2B tasks to enhance efficiency in business operations and cutting costs while keeping private proprietary data secured and only allowing the desired permissioned members to join the network.
But as blockchain & DLT continue to be integrated within our daily lives and even being utilized as core economic infrastructure on multiple levels seen by examples such as LACChain connecting the entire contients and its citizens of Latin America & the Carribieans to DLT.
The need for a solution to connect network & allow the synergies between public permissionless DLTs and private permissioned DLTs will be essential.
Whether its interoperability between different permissioned systems or the ability to create hybrid customizable blockchain networks to operate with & between the public retail citizen focused platforms and private networks for governmental agencies will be an essential advancement to bring large scale blockchain initiatives to a reality.
Solution With Casper
Casper Network has decided to emerge from the shadows for these reasons to bring their own innovations to the blockchain industry & allow for the vision of enterprise ready DLT applications to become a full fledged reality.
There are various methods in which Casper has not only brought business focused solutions to the DLT space & has even seen interest and demand for collaboration with Casper from the corporation side, something that the majority of public Layer 1 blockchains have strived to achieve, with only a small handful being successful doing so.
While the Casper Network is a public permission-less chain much like the majority. One of the most unique functions of Casper is the ability for their network to adapt to hybrid and customizable settings.
Simply put this means that if an enterprise wishes to leverage the open public features of Casper, but wishes to keep their DLN permissioned for business governance and security reasons, Casper can customize a version of their network to fit those specific business needs.
Needless to say thats quite an attractive tool, but thats only the tip of the iceberg.
Fundamentally Casper Network is a Layer 1 network professionally built for enterprise purposed utilities. They operate on a Proof of Stake consensus within their Highway Protocol which adds further senses of security and consensus resilience.
The Highway Protocol is a further advancement of the research done with the Ethereum Foundation towards CBC-Casper with Ethereum Foundation researcher Vlad Zamfir.
CBC-Casper stands for, Correc-By-Construction and is an addition upon traditional Proof-Of-Stake systems to add further resilience for Byzantine Fault Tolerance, while also allowing network improvements without needing to re-prove and rebuild pre-existing architecture for every upgrade.
The TL;DR for the Byzantine General Fault dilemma within a network environment is that there isn’t a guaranteed method for ensuring that all node operators are honest & providing correct accurate data.
Byzantine Fault Tolerance example. (Coordination required for victory)
In layman's terms, CBC-Casper ensures that a network is both safe and live. Safety referring to the consistency of the network decisions & liveness referring to the network being live & guaranteed to eventually reach a final decision. (consensus/finality)
Casper’s Highway Consensus has built further upon this by concluding that there lies an issue in finality with current BFT models, referring to a blockchains ability to finalize and decide that an action cannot be reversed or changed once added to the blockchain.
Current BFT finality models allow for finality to be binary in the sense of only a yes or no anser. Either “yes it has reached finality” or “no it hasn’t yet reached finality.”
This feature allows a more dynamic sense of finality upon consensus, as the network can now customize the finality priorities regarding security and speed with the roles of high and low value purposed nodes on Casper Network.
The Highway Protocol is the current consensus system being utilized on the Casper Network, which was created by Casper Labs & Cardinal Cryptography (Aleph Zero team).
The Highway Consensus ensures the network is both live and safe. It is a Byzantine Fault Tolerant network that only requires to be partially synchronus for times of attack and stress.
Current BFT finality models allow for finality to be binary in the sense of only a yes or no anser. Either “yes it has reached finality” or “no it hasn’t yet reached finality.”
The network is validated through a decentralized Proof of Stake system through validator nodes chosen by the Casper Association with the community role of validation through delegation of CSPR tokens onto honest acting validator nodes.
Casper Network also utilizes a time measurement titled Era’s. Which describes the time required to see official finalized results of delegation and node management. 1 Era is approximately 2 hours.
Meta data thats utilized for finalizing previous blocks in older eras are no longer required and can be removed from the network without compromising the immutability of the blockchain.
Dishonest acting nodes within the current era will also be banned from participating in new eras for an indefinite amount of time to ensure that honest acting nodes are promoted without compensating for dishonest nodes.
As there are only 100 validator nodes per era, there will be bids between validator nodes to secure a spot as one of the 100 validators for the next era.
Within the traditional models of blockchains, there lies one sole main chain thats responsible for carrying all the validated transactions. This can pose heavy inefficiencies, especially in Proof of Work systems where two or more miners could be working on the same transaction together, even though only one miner will be rewarded for submitting the block.
This essentially renders all the work the latter miner did useless, as all the work was credited to the initial miner for submitting the block.
This is where the GHOST Protocol comes in to add utility towards the work of validators who don’t get their blocks added to the chain.
In short the GHOST Protocol allows for much further decentralization and security through the ability to add previous orphaned blocks into the chain for further validation of data, while also enhancing the decentralization through the other validators which wouldn’t of been added to the main chain before also being rewarded and a part of the total computing power within the network.
How GHOST Works
When a block is validated the network also creates a fork of the blockchain which they fittingly title a “ghost chain”. This ghost chain can be seen as like a version of the current chain living in a parallel universe, where its role is to have the data ready and visible for validators to vote on the ghost chain for the network to follow.
Now many may be thinking that this causes the same issue as these other ghost chains will then be disregarded. But this is actually where the GHOST Protocol begins to shine, these ghost chains will now continue to run parallel in real time with the main chain and add other ghost blocks towards it for further validity and sustainability of the network thanks to the history and audit trail of these chains in the event of an attack.
Every validator node will be responsible of providing a validator confidence score to determine and rate the accuracy of each underlying validated block is to decide if it should be added towards the main chain.
Meaning that a threshold of validators have to come to consensus and decide whether the validated block is accurate across other validators before being officialized onto the main chain.
Casper is Optimized For Enterprise
While any blockchain could in theory be used by an enterprise, not every blockchain will fit the needs of enterprise operations. This is why Casper has intentionally geared their solutions to fit an enterprise setting, whatever they may need.
Upgradable Smart Contracts
Perhaps one of the most innovative utilities of blockchain is the birth of smart contracts allowing for automation and trustless execution of contract operations.
The one issue with the majority of smart contract platforms is that they are fully immutable. Immutability is often seen as one of the most prominent benefits of blockchain technology.
When the past history is immutable it can bring various utilities to operations such as data provenance, but when the future is immutable it heavily limits the adaptability of how the underlying smart contracts application as the future continues to evolve.
Hybrid Permission DLT
The parameters around public and private blockchains along with the differences in permission settings force businesses and developers to fit their solutions & stack into a single choice platform even if there may be certain features that would benefit from each respective option.
Until now the only viable choice was to compromise the benefits of one option for the other, Casper is seeing this arising issue hold back the potential for adoption of blockchain by enterprises, especially within a B2C or B2B2C framework.
While there are other pre-exisiting blockchains that can offer customization on hybrid blockchain settings such as Kusama & Polkadot where clients can launch project specific private blockchains on these public networks.
Casper has also joined this family of hybrid blockchains to best fit businesses that require a blend or specific parameters around each respective operation.
Providing Enhanced Efficiency With Casper Network
The purpose of blockchain integration in an enterprise environment is all about adding efficiency. Whether it means cutting costs and time or adding value and building new application on top of current operations.
Casper brings efficiency to the enterprise procedures of blockchain in a variety of ways with examples such as; predictable and consistent network fees for short and long term planning, choice of developer friendly languages such as Rust & WebAssembly, and a foundational scalable platform without the need for additional Layer 2 scalability.
Casper Network Adoption
The Casper Network is one of few networks that have seen the corporate side of blockchain development show true interest to the level of testing collaborative proof of concepts such as atomic swaps between permissioned and permissionless networks and development of hybrid flexibility DLT platforms.
From successfully demonstrating cross chain atomic swaps with IBM between a private permissioned Hyperledger Fabric & Caspers public permission-less chain, to attracting the interest of heavy enterprise blockchain focused corporations such as China’s Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN).
The Casper Network continues to bring sufficient interest and activity with the blockchain focused companies working in the enterprise scene. Here are just some examples of their experience with some global leaders.
The Hyperledger Foundation is one of the most connected and well respected organizations in the entire DLT space. Founded by the Linux Foundation to create industry grade blockchain applications, this organization has since seen some of the largest industry players participating within their foundation.
Casper had joined Hyperledger back in September 2022 & has since joined the organization in various tests & case studies revolved around cross platform interoperability paired with hybrid flexibility & the utilities that can provide in an enterprise setting.
Joining Casper & Hyperledger’s initiative to expand the limits of how DLT can be used in an enterprise setting is global multi-industry leader IBM.
Both Casper & IBM have been collaborating together with cross platform swaps between a private permissioned Hyperledger Fabric to a public permissionless Casper Network by utilizing Weaver by IBM & Hyperledger to connect the two platforms.
This solution has not only been demonstrated in global events such as 2023 Davos & Consensus, but CasperLabs CTO Medha Parlikar has even come out saying that their solution for hybrid interoperability follows the parameters of the open standard SATP, created by
Quant Network & MIT which has recently been added into an official working group by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). A standard that core members of IBM has also had some work with promoting and adopting. BSN
Red Date Technology is a Hong Kong based company and is the architects behind China’s Blockchain based Service Network which has been one of the global leaders in enterprise blockchain development.
As we all know China has always had a rather negative stance on crypto assets relative to the rest of the world. While this narrative has slightly shifted since China’s Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong’s acceptance of crypto, the enterprise and economic application side of blockchain utility has always stood strong within the Asian powerhouse.
While the Chinese based company has publicly voiced their distaste in crypto assets, they have chosen to collaborate with Casper and add them as one of the public networks to integrate with BSN’s Spartan Network.
The primary goal of this partnership is for Casper & BSN to build a hybrid open permissioned blockchain adapter with the Casper network to transform and bring the city of ChengDu onto the blockchain.
ChengDu is one of China’s top 10 richest countries with a GDP of $308 billion in 2021. They are China’s third largest luxury market right behind Shanghai & Beijing, additionally ChengDu also hosts over 300 Fortune 500 companies within their city.
IPwe is one of the first industry purposed applications building on the Casper Network. Their goal is to utilize blockchain technology to expand on the potential of patents and intellectual property by bringing these intangible assets onto the blockchain as non-fungible assets.
This initiative was also a part of the collaboration on a hybrid network between Casper, IBM & Hyperledger, as the IPwe Digital Assets platform leverages both the open source permissioned features of Hyperledger Fabric in addition to Casper Networks open public features.
The partnership is expected to see 25 million patents being launched onto the platform in batches.
While not quite the most popular sub sector within the industry of luxury goods and collectibles, the luxury alcohol space has been one thats continued to stay relevant over the course of time. In fact the luxury wine industry is expected to grow to $414.8 billion by 2031, growing at an annual compound rate of 6.2%.
Contrary to the traditional practices of luxury alcohol, where one physically buys a bottle to store for years to come in hopes the aging process.
The Metacask process takes on a different approach to assist in the adoption of digitalization. Rather than physically storing and securing your spirit, Metacask stores all the information and provides a digital twin of the product on their platform under each specific purchasers ownership.
This allows for full provenance of the goods, starting from grains to bottles, all the way to trading the digital ownership rights to another user directly on their platform.
Nucleus Finance aims to build a system where financial contracts are much more streamlined under the ACTUS Protocol, which was developed to standardize and simplify the use and deployment of financial contracts.
This standard becomes increasingly essential as financial services continue to move and explore around blockchain technology at a rapid rate.
While still in the earlier stages, Nucleus Finance has some large goals in mind building under the standard by the Algorithmic Contract Type Unified Standard, some of their initiatives involves; building a marketplace specialized for financial contracts, asset backed security tokens, tokenized contracts on-chain & financial analysis using blockchain analytics.
Nucleus Finance is built as a collaboration between the team at CasperLabs and business analytics firm Ariadne.
While they have chosen to build on Casper Network, they are fundamentally a blockchain agnostic protocol & able to find the platform most suitable for their operations.
World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum is one of the global leading organizations and is often times seen as a standard setting body made up of governments and global elites around the world.
They often host and participate in large events around the world revolving around the topics of large technological innovations, with their most popular event being the annual Davos conferences held in a small alpine town in Switzerland called Davos.
Over the past 2 years Casper has not only been attending these Davos events, but they’re even hosting events in parallel with Davos as one of the side venues titled “Blockchain Hub Davos”.
This is essentially everything Davos is about but specifically towards the innovations of blockchain technology. Over the past two years both CV Labs and CasperLabs have been the hosts responsible for organizing and managing these events in conjunction of the main Davos event happening.
Just recently in April 2023, Casper and the World Economic Forum had taken their relationship a step further with Casper joining the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovator Program.
This not only connects Casper even closer with global leaders but brings the expertise and opinions of these global leaders on the disruptive goods and services that blockchain will bring from non-fungible tokens to Central Bank Digital Currencies.
This partnership will also see Casper assist in hosting the main Davos event in Q1 of 2024 alongside all of the other global leaders that will be involved with educating and building toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
CSPR is the utility token that fuels and powers the Casper Network. Much like the majority of tokens on an application layer this means that fees, payments and rewards are denominated in CSPR as the native currency of the network.
Though unlike most Layer 1 networks, the team has programmed CSPR to specifically be utilized as a utility token by incentivizing the continued usage of the token utilities, while disincentivizing holders from hoarding large amounts of tokens without doing anything with them.
While there is an annual inflation rate of 8% of CSPR coming into circulation every year, the delegation and staking of CSPR onto validator nodes to vote on specific honest acting nodes brings rewards that offset the inflation amounts, thus providing an incentivization for all members to assist in securing the network.
There is also a consistent 2.5 CSPR transaction fee for fuelling operation costs on the network, at the current price of CSPR being $0.046, thats about $0.115 per transaction. Needless to say much more affordable than some alternative application layers.
This ensures that the fees remain consistent and scalable even in a global enterprise sense. A feature that should be required for any enterprise wishing to build applications at scale utilizing blockchain technology.
Final Thoughts on Casper To conclude the analysis, this section will be my personal objective views on the Casper ecosystem as a whole and what I think about how they’re going about their operations
The Casper ecosystem is definitely something to pay attention regardless if you’re an investor, researcher, developer or corporation. There are a plethora of exciting things developing on the network ranging from industry grade connections from collaborations with large corporations, to business needs such as upgradable contracts and hybrid permission settings and much more industry grade development happening.
It’s tough to choose one specific area of the Casper ecosystem I’m personally most excited for, between their work with IBM & Hyperledger for cross platform interoperability following the SATP standard, to their work with BSN to build smart city infrastructure within ChengDu China.
Its tough to nail it down to just one. Though my personal favorite feature of the ecosystem is definitely tied between those two massive partnerships of building DLT infrastructure ready for production grade.
Its not often we get to see a public blockchain network have this level of collaboration and interest with both standard setting bodies such as ACTUS and the WEF along with industry leaders in IBM, BSN & Hyperledger. It really says a lot about how Casper is doing things right in the eyes of enterprise developers.
In addition to the these collaborations, the projects building real applications on Casper such as Metacask, Nucleus Finance & IPwe are all projects that have the potential to add further value and cut costs within their respective industries of luxury goods, finance & intellectual property. This will be the future of decentralized applications built on blockchain networks, all applying real solutions in a regulated manner.
Beyond all thats been publicly announced, the team has mentioned of 3 Fortune500 companies launching solutions on the Casper Network towards the latter end of 2023 in Q3 & Q4 which the team has added will be revolved around the sectors of fin-tech & insurance. It’ll be quite exciting to see which these companies building on Casper Network are & how they plan to enhance their respective business operations.
With the abundance of Layer 1 options on the market, Casper has found the middleground between innovating the industry but yet not reinventing the entire wheel and chasis by integrating pre-exisiting benefits of blockchain already realized by businesses and developers around the world.
The rise of application layers in blockchain technology is ever-growing and with Casper’s future proof solutions they’ve seemed to have positioned themselves in a spot to capture the growth and adoption of enterprise built solutions.