What is the Loop Fault Tolerance 2.0 (LFT2) Consensus Mechanism?

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ICON, the Korean cryptocurrency that launched in 2017, revealed Loop Fault Tolerance 2.0 (LFT2), a new consensus mechanism, last week. The mechanism is the result of three years of research and testing, but what exactly is it and how does it differ from existing consensus mechanisms? Allow BitStarz News to enlighten you.

When Three Becomes Two

ICON’s LFT2 takes the existing 3-step Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (pBFT) process and reduces it to a 2-step process, offering improvements in confirmation speed while not compromising on security. pBTF was developed in 1999 and was implemented into Bitcoin as its way of confirming transactions – it is a way of ensuring that a system, like a blockchain, always reaches the correct consensus despite potential malicious attacks from within.

Communication is a key element in any pBFT blockchain, as all the nodes within the chain need to be in constant communication in order to validate blocks or flag up fraudulent ones. As a blockchain becomes used more and more, the communication demands upon it increase until it hits its maximum – resulting in a bottleneck. Transactions become delayed and some fall through the cracks entirely. Fast communication (or less of it) is therefore key in order to ensure the fast, smooth running of a blockchain.

LFT2 claims to have solved this problem by massively reducing the number of messages that pass between nodes when confirming transactions. This simplified messaging system reduces the potential of a network bottleneck and improves the rate of block confirmation.

It also reduces the amount of power required to operate the blockchain, compared to the older, slower and more power-hungry consensus mechanisms like Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism.

Launch Set for Later This Year

The LFT2 has been audited by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, who confirm that “LFT2 satisfies safety and liveness”. Meanwhile ICON has stated that LFT2 implementation is scheduled for “later this year”.

LFT2 clearly has the potential to partially solve the problem of scaling, which many older networks need to address to avoid becoming obsolete, but only time will tell if this is what the blockchain world is waiting for.