It seems that talented individuals and projects with extra energy during this bear market have focused their efforts on solving the scalability problems of current PoW blockchain networks.
For over six years, various projects (Bitcoin Unlimited for example) have been working on developing new architectures that allow for fast and secure transactions, while also enabling the platforms where they are executed to be highly scalable and functional (thanks to being able to process thousands of transactions per second). However, little is known about these projects by the general public, who are only interested in prices, Defi returns of 5,000%, or knowing what the next meme will be to get rich with a $100 investment in 15 days.
Smart money has been tracking these developments for some time, as they will set trends and narratives in the next four years, surpassing the risk-reward relationship of Bitcoin and Ethereum in 2025-2026 and still having a spectacular growth potential despite strong market winters. Since we are in a very venture-driven ecosystem that moves by narratives, the arguments we will see make perfect sense in order to pay special attention to these PoW network protocols and expert teams.
ADVANCES AND NEW ARCHITECTURES
Thanks to innovation, we will see changes in concept and use of the Bitcoin network and consequently of the rest of the PoW networks, moving from securing transactions to securing contracts and information, as is the case with Ethereum. To achieve such advances, the solution to the general problems of PoW is focusing on architectures that allow the separation of transaction validation from data storage on the blockchain, which allows it to process thousands of transactions per second, with minimal fees and without sacrificing security regardless of data storage on the blockchain.
If we focus on PoW, providing this protocol with a layer of instant and scalable confirmation transactions can mark a very important competitive advantage over other solutions, and may even position it as the network of networks. We will start hearing more about “blockDAG” (Block Directed Acyclic Graph), which is postulated as the data structure that can definitively help with scalability in PoW, since it is similar to a blockchain, but instead of following a linear chain of blocks, it uses a directed acyclic graph to store and transmit transactions.
In a blockDAG, each node can have multiple parents, which allows for greater efficiency and scalability in transaction validation, as nodes can process multiple transactions simultaneously. Furthermore, the use of a directed acyclic graph allows for asynchronous and parallel validation of transactions. This novel implementation of distributed ledgers is the first of its kind and enables cutting-edge scalability, high-performance transactional bandwidth, and instant confirmations while remaining decentralized.
Protocol designs that remain true to the principles that Satoshi incorporated into Bitcoin (proof-of-work mining, isolated state formed by UTXO, deflationary monetary policy, no pre-mine, and no central governance) seem to be gaining traction and laying the foundation for new protocols such as GhostDAG/PHANTOM or DAGKNIGHT. These designs allow developers to substantially increase the number of blocks per second, thus attracting the development of smart contracts and DeFi to PoW, something that both the community and the progress of PoS (as the more flexible and utilized technological solution) seem to be pushing to adopt.
Therefore, for several years now, all efforts have been focused on creating protocols with a blockchain longer than the one initiated by Nakamoto, as they provide the option to organize the blocks in a DAG-like manner. Consequently, each block can contain multiple hashes referencing the hashes of its predecessors, fully organizing all the blocks and, therefore, the transactions, while discarding the blocks that are not on the main chain.
I leave 3 projects for you to follow and investigate, which will make or break me, about this new improvement niche opened up by Ethereum’s exit from the PoW.