Coda: Accessible Blockchain Verification

Season 1 Episode 10
  • Host

    Zach DeWitt

  • Guests

    Izaak Meckler and Evan Shapiro


  • Date

    August 28, 2018

  • Duration

    30 minutes

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What if you could verify the entire blockchain from your smartphone?

Izaak Meckler and Evan Shapiro are cofounders of Coda, a new cryptocurrency protocol that reduces the size of the blockchain from gigabytes down to the size of a few tweets.

Izaak and Evan explain how cryptocurrency can be more accessible to everyone:

The Tradeoff Between Scaling and Decentralization

Today, if you want to verify a transaction on a cryptocurrency, you need to first download a full copy of the blockchain.

Izaak points out that this works fine in the early days of a network, but quickly becomes impractical over time as the blockchain becomes longer and grows in size to hundreds of gigabytes.

A Succinct Blockchain

Coda is a new cryptocurrency protocol that solves this problem by compressing the entire blockchain.

Using the recursive composition of zk-SNARKs, Coda eliminates the need to store or download transaction history in order to verify the blockchain.

Because this ‘succinct blockchain’ is more efficient than others, Izaak explains how this impacts the future of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Accessible to Everyone

As Izaak describes it, a SNARK is a tiny certificate verifying that a computation was run correctly. You can think of it as a stamp of approval, which is guaranteed by cryptography to be unforgeable.

This technology will enable nearly any internet-connected device to verify balances and transactions.

Blockchains are more than just tools for creating new monetary systems. Listen to hear how Izaak and Evan believe the potential use cases for widespread verifiable computation go beyond the realm of cryptocurrency.

Key takeaways:

  • In most blockchains there is a real tradeoff between scaling and decentralization.
  • Coda is a new cryptocurrency protocol that reduces the size of the blockchain from gigabytes down to the size of just a few tweets.
  • The Coda network uses zk-SNARKs to compress the entire blockchain into a tiny snapshot and then sends around that snapshot instead. This means that no matter how big the blockchain gets, or how many transactions are performed, the cost to verify transactions and data remains constant and inexpensive, making Coda accessible to everyone.

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