Industry Thought Leadership

Graphene Core as a Basis for Decentralized Telecom Ecosystem

October, 2018
Sergey Malcev, PhD
Lead Blockchain, Software Architect


In the past few years, the telecom industry has been undergoing serious changes, with a number of new technological solutions being implemented. Today, blockchain technology is gradually becoming a part of the telecom world and promises substantial benefits, especially if it’s built on Graphene.

Industrial blockchain
There is a concept of industrial blockchain that has formed in the society. Though, this concept differs from the blockchain associated with cryptocurrencies, industrial and fintech blockchain complement each other.

When it comes to the industrial blockchain, it is focused on solving specific business problems between equal participants in their business environment. For instance, it gives the opportunity to significantly optimize many business processes, reduce costs, and eliminate intermediators. This technology also gives the opportunity to develop new effective solutions that are not available within the classical approach, i.e. centralized systems.

The Bubbletone team is building a decentralized telecom ecosystem which is based on a Graphene blockchain core. Developed specifically for the telecommunication industry, the system is focused on professional market players, such as mobile operators, content and other service providers, software developers, etc. It represents a global marketplace where participants can offer and purchase services, as well as resell them to their own clients, i.e. interact directly, without any intermediaries.

Distributed Ledger Technology is required for such solutions as it seems to be the only platform that is capable of providing a trusted environment for competitive players. We studied available blockchain platforms and came to a conclusion that Graphene core looks very promising for our telecom solution as well as for other industrial applications.

Currently, our system supports more than 10 use cases, including alternative roaming with minimal costs for settlements and integration and digital identity services. More use cases can be supported in case the industry has demand for it. Our Graphene-based solution is very flexible and can be adapted to various business cases.

Graphene and its industrial performance
Graphene is an open-source blockchain technology, mainly written in C++. Graphene source is available in numerous variation, as it has been forked and adapted a lot of times.

The largest public and widely recognized Graphene-based projects are: EOS — a blockchain that aims to become a decentralized operating system which can support industrial-scale decentralized applications, like Ethereum in functionality, but with significantly higher transaction speed; BitShares – a decentralized exchange and fintech platform; and Steemit — a decentralized blogging platform and social network.

Graphene blockchain can maintain a large number of transactions and compete with VISA and MasterCard payment systems. It is capable of pushing up to 100,000 TPS, versus Ethereum and Bitcoin, which currently run at around 25 TPS and 7 TPS, respectively. There is no other known blockchain that can even try to compete with Graphene in the processing such a high number of transactions. A graphene-based network can confirm transactions in just 1 second (a typical setup uses 3-5 seconds for a block confirmation).

Graphene was developed in a modular fashion that makes it adaptable to many different use cases. It utilizes Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) consensus protocol. In DPoS, community elects what are known as witnesses. The witnesses are responsible for generating and adding blocks to the blockchain. To optimize the decentralization level, scalability and performance, the community can control the number of witnesses. Typically, about 20 independent witnesses ensure the stable network operation.

The key benefits of DPoS are as follows:

  • Saving on energy costs. In contrast to proof-of-work (PoW) systems (Bitcoin, Ethereum), in which miners have to spend large amounts of energy to be granted the block signing privilege, in DPoS, witnesses are given a specific time schedule without energy-consuming competition;
  • No special computing equipment for “mining” is required;
  • Higher transaction throughput;
  • Reliable Block Generation (~1-3s/block). Time for the next block production is strictly defined;
  • Scalability. There is no performance drop when new Graphene nodes join the system.
  • The security of Graphene is based on elliptic curve asymmetric cryptography (same as Bitcoin), which is used for signing transactions and blocks. The key size is 256 bits (secp256k1). Private messaging between participants with endpoint encryption is possible thanks to a “shared secret” protocol.

With developments of blockchain and cryptocurrency, people realized that governance of DLT systems should not be ignored. The governance of industrial DLT systems is even more important. Graphene proposes a solution such as Committee concept. Committee members are elected by the community (actual election rules can vary). The members are responsible for maintaining the network parameters and can propose changes to the network.

Typical Committee tasks are as follows: regulating network fees, changing network technical parameters, blocking malicious accounts, performing certain transactions to compensate undesired/illegal actions within a DLT system, which may appear, for example, as exploits of software issues.

Taking into consideration all these facts, a Graphene DLT core can certainly serve as a solid basis to construct effective industry-grade systems for the telecom industry that will give telecom operators, service providers, and end users new opportunities.