Welcome to Topos Docs, the official documentation to help you get familiar with the Topos protocol and join the ecosystem!
Topos Docs is WIP! The following content is subject to change and will be extended in the future.
Today's Web 2.0 remains a network of highly centralized computers and services managed by a handful of big tech companies. Concerns from users about how their data is handled and to which extent it is controlled and owned by such companies are getting stronger every day.
Blockchain has paved the way for Web 3.0, a new era of distributed and decentralized web services that give back the control to application users. Although the development of more and more real-world applications shows that interest from both industry and academia keeps rising, blockchain technology has led to the creation of very sparse and standalone networks, all decoupled one another, trying to solve different challenges. Such heterogeneity has forged a future of blockchain where multiple layer-1 chains co-exist without any of them winning over the others. The proliferation of application-specific blockchains and smart contract platforms serving new instances of existing dApps and DeFi protocols continues to accelerate the general adoption and standardization of Web3 technologies.
Yet, more than a decade later, the promised revolution hasn't landed. Facing scalability, interoperability and privacy issues, blockchain technology hasn't been able to reach greater adoption.
Blockchain scalability is closely pegged to two of its upmost metrics: its latency (speed) and its throughput (capacity). Latency represents the time a transaction takes to be inserted in a block and for the latter to be accepted by the network, while throughput relates to the number of transactions the network is capable of adding on chain per unit of time. For uncertain reasons, these concepts are often made misleading and thus prevent the community from gauging the performance of a blockchain system.
Transaction finality, probabilistic or deterministic, has to be considered when evaluating blockchain performance. In this context, latency is defined as the time it takes for a transaction to be finalized, while throughput is defined as the number of finalized transactions per unit of time.
A latter phase in blockchain technology history has seen the generalization of deterministic finality, commonly achieved by means of classic BFT algorithms. Such algorithms have shown their limitations in terms of scalability for they come with a quadratic message complexity, and as such lead to higher settlement latency as the number of validators increases.
Multi-chain projects based on sharding assign validators to shards in order to verify their state transitions. A bounded number of validators greatly impacts the scalability of such system as it limits the theoretical number of available shards.
Interoperability lies in the capacity of multiple systems to interface with each other. A truly open, i.e., permissionless, interoperability protocol is key to the adoption of blockchain technology: research1 has shown that the vast majority of organizations switching to blockchain favor creating their own network to remain in control of their data. Interoperability paves the way for a universal interfacing between any type of public and private blockchains.
Composability is a design principle that allows different components within a system to be combined to meet any specific use case requirements. Within a single blockchain network like Ethereum, composability is atomic: Smart contract functions can invoke other contracts synchronously with the insurance that either all contract calls succeed or none does. In a context of cross-chain interoperability, composability is obtained when business logic deployed on different blockchains can interact with each other to create new value.
Historically, privacy has remained a rarity in the blockchain scene, transactions being by design available in clear to all network participants. Although privacy protocols have emerged in the recent years, interoperability offered by multi-chain systems has typically been requiring either trust or sharing internal state. Privacy must be generalized in cross-chain communication so that businesses can freely collaborate the way they are collaborating today via classic APIs.
As a permissionless, unlimitedly scalable, and privacy-preserving multi-chain protocol, Topos aims at giving back the control and freedom to service users and leading the way for a truly open, trustless, and decentralized internet.
How does Topos work?
Continue with the General overview section to learn more about Topos.
 Seize The Day: Public Blockchain Is On The Horizon