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A Summary of

The decentralized-consistent-scale (DCS) triangle

Trent McConaghy
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DCS (Decentralized-Consistent-Scale) triangle is a way to compare tradeoffs among some of today’s popular decentralized systems, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, IPFS, and BigchainDB.

Reasoning With Triangles

  • Let’s stick with three dimensions. Triangles are great for reasoning about tradeoffs in three dimensions. Triangles are simple, familiar, and visually flat.

The DCS Triangle

  • Decentralized- Big “D” means server-free (fully) decentralized; anyone can join the network as a validating node. Little “d” means server-based decentralized. If not D or d, the system is centralized.
  • Consistent - Big “C” means all nodes see the same data at the same time. 
  • Scale - Big “S” is planetary scale. This means means sufficient performance characteristics to serve planet-scale or enterprise-scale needs, as typically seen in “big data” distributed databases. 

Degrees of Decentralization

  • Centralized - A single entity controls the network.
  • Server-based decentralized, aka “little-d”. - Compute resources are distributed, but no single entity controls the network; to be a validator one must be voted in by the existing federation. 
  • Server-free (fully) decentralized, aka “big-D”. -Compute resources are distributed, but no single entity controls the network; anyone can be a validator. Anyone can write to or read from the network.
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