A recent blog post from Kevin Hammond (who we were pleased to meet at the Cardano 2021 Summit in London) has just been published that looks at Cardano’s networking and consensus architecture. That is to say how the blockchain propagates transactions and reaches agreement on how they will be included.
It explores the trade-offs that any blockchain has to make in its layer 1 design between speed of consensus, use of network and computational resources, and the level of decentralisation that can be achieved:
Cardano is designed to serve millions of users in a globally distributed way. As with any other decentralised blockchain, this means that we need to produce a predictable and consistent supply of new blocks that collectively grow the chain and transparently record transactions between users. In order to ensure that new blocks are propagated across the network as a whole in an effective and secure way, it is important that the system consumes computation, memory, storage, and network resources efficiently.https://iohk.io/en/blog/posts/2021/10/21/cardano-robust-resilient-and-flexible/
The article continues:
Flexibility is key, so an important feature of the Cardano protocol is that it has been architected with true scalability in mind. This isn’t just about the longer-term ability to provide the infrastructure into a truly global, fully decentralized operating system; its parameterization approach is also designed to flex and adjust to pricing fluctuations, network saturation, or increased demand, for example. A number of protocol parameters are provided that allow the system behavior to be tuned without the need for a hard fork. Even then, more significant upgrades that do require this can be deftly managed using our hard fork combinator technology (HFC). Together these are significant differentiators for Cardano which give us robustness and reliability today, and highly agile upgrade paths as the network grows and usage evolves.
Worth reading in full if you want to revisit why Cardano’s design and approach will enable it to scale out in the coming years.
Introduction to the design of the Data Diffusion and Networking for Cardano Shelley https://hydra.iohk.io/build/7249613/download/1/network-design.pdf