Kadena: The Future of Digital Value

7 min readOct 22, 2021

Digital money is the next significant technological breakthrough in our lifetime, one that allows us to achieve a degree of economic freedom not possible with the current status quo. When early blockchain was first introduced, it was intended for time-stamping and making data tamper-proof. Bitcoin's whitepaper described the technology behind blockchain as the foundation for a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. The most cited author in Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin whitepaper, Dr. Stuart Haber, has provided his world-class cryptography background in Kadena's decentralized bridges, Pact smart contract language, non-fungible tokens (NFT's), and public blockchain security. NFT's and DeFi are taking cryptocurrencies mainstream; Bitcoin and Ethereum alone cannot handle the world's digital value needs due to unscalability and unsafe smart contracts. Kadena's founders' experience at JPMorgan revealed the limitations of existing blockchain solutions. Kadena is the only platform to scale Proof-of-work to make blockchain ready for mass adoption. Scalability, Proof-of-Work, and safer smart contracts with Pact are the future of digital value.

Kadena x Immutable Records

When they met, Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta were cryptographers for Bell Core, working to secure digital records. After they founded Surety, what today we know as a blockchain was implemented. We can view this blockchain on every Sunday edition of the New York Times to this day. Proof-of-Work before Bitcoin! Haber & Stornetta's third paper presages NFT's; It has now become Haber Content Integrity, allowing NFTs to mint with rich on-chain manifests, capturing all references and artifacts. It will correctly identify items and even support versioned modifications; NFT's will verify themselves on-chain.

After building the precursor to blockchain and presage to NFT's, Haber & Stornetta are teaming up once again to release the Immutable Records NFT platform on Kadena. With how scalable Kadena is, it can offer the first indexable multi-chain NFT standard ever. With its multi-protocol approach, the Immutable Record's NFT service will leverage the distinct advantages Kadena NFT's offer, such as institutional-grade provenance, on-chain minting, and specialized marketplaces. Additionally, the low gas fees on the platform are a huge benefit as they reduce dApp complexity and safety concerns. Anyone can incorporate custom marketplaces and more with Kadena's layer-1 capabilities. Without the work of Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta, there are no NFTs, no Bitcoin, and no blockchain. Kadena is thrilled to use this opportunity to create an NFT platform to unify everyone within the blockchain ecosystem.

Pact, the industry standard for smart contracts

Pact contains features that make it the industry standard for smart contract languages, including complete formal verification of code, error messages, contract upgradability, multi-signature accounts, and support for interoperability. Kadena's smart contract language was built from the ground up with the user's need for reliability, usability, and trust. It is based on LISP, a language that has been around for over 60 years and is one of the easiest languages to pick up syntactically. In other environments like Solidity, once a smart contract is deployed, it cannot be changed without a network fork or abandoning the entire contract application. Pact facilitates transactional logic with an ideal combination of functionality in authorization, data management, and workflow.

Pact has been upgraded with community-driven initiatives several times, introducing additional functionalities for ease of use and security. Programmers are notorious for messing up recursion since it is one of the most challenging aspects of computer science for humans to process independently. That is why Kadena made Pact Turing-incomplete, with no recursions or infinite loops. Pact protections use simple English terminology like "start" and "keyset"; it is human-readable directly on Chainweb. This means code is genuinely open-source, unlike other platforms where you only have the byte code of a contract on-chain. Pact smart contracts are executed atomically, implying that changes are only stored once the code is error-free.

Pact makes designing safer smart contracts effortless. Pact frees developers from the exploits they'll face on Ethereum and other unsafe platforms by automatically detecting bugs with formal verification. It is fast and does between 10,000–20,000 database operations in a second, allowing people to write code and not worry about unpredictability. Formal verification increases confidence that smart contracts do what they say they do for all conceivable inputs.

Eight out of eleven Solidity DeFi projects that were exploited in the past three months could have been saved by Kadena and Pact. Poly Network had one of the worst attacks in history, with over 600 million dollars stolen from three networks; Binance Smart Chain, Ethereum, and Polygon. Pact is designed to simplify error handling by just failing a transaction. Building on Kadena with Pact's secure smart-contract language, formal verification, and scalable proof-of-work pubic blockchain could have prevented these massive losses. Solidity is complex and obscure in picking the functions one wants to call, it is not predictable, and mistakes have proven expensive. Another upside to Turing-incompleteness is that Pact does not need to use a cost model like Ethereum's "gas" to limit computation.

Chainweb Kadena's Layer 1 Public Blockchain

Kadena incorporates proof-of-work, Bitcoin-style, but scaled horizontally: extending on techniques detailed in the Satoshi paper. Bitcoin's public blockchain can only process seven transactions per second, and the block time is always ten minutes. However, transactions may be slow since they might not be included in the following block when there is traffic. Chainweb is a collection of hash-braided Bitcoin-like chains that use Nakamoto consensus. After one chain completes a block, it broadcasts the block's root, or hash, to its peer chains, which incorporate that information in their next block, preventing the network from diverging. With the current Chainweb implementation, block time is 30 seconds with a latency of 90 seconds, a massive improvement over ETH and BTC PoW. Chainweb does not differentiate between 10 and 10,000 chains for consensus and security as it can expand as demand grows. It's important to note that Kadena isn't trying to compete with or supplant Bitcoin. Kadena is trying to pick up the flag that Satoshi first envisioned for BTC — digital, decentralized, p2p cash — and carry it forward.

The two highest valued settlement platforms, Ethereum and Bitcoin, rely on unscalable PoW for security. With its revolutionary, braided multi-chain architecture, Kadena is the only scalable PoW platform capable of scaling to settle the 9+ million trades executed on the NYSE each day. Chainweb's unique architecture makes it the only platform for increased energy efficiency as TPS (transactions per second) increases. As network demand increases, Kadena's energy use remains constant.

The bigger Chainweb gets, the faster it can be. Daily BTC and ETH transaction data shows they are running at the limit; this won't be a problem with Chainweb for the foreseeable future. Chainweb has the same PoW fundamentals but is optimized to have about 100x more throughput than BTC and 40x more throughput than ETH. KADDEX, the first DEX launching on Kadena, will be the first time the world sees DeFi on a genuinely scalable, decentralized, and secure platform. Thanks to scalability, gas can be subsidized through gas stations, and transaction fees are negligible—no more spending more on gas fees than the trades themselves.

This is impossible on ETH.

Kadena's hashing algorithm is one step ahead of Bitcoin regarding quantum resistance, speed, and security. Kadena uses a quantum-resistant hashing algorithm called Blake2s, and it is faster compared to bitcoins SHA-256 hashing algorithm. Blake 2s targets the highest possible security for a hash function; no attack has ever been found on BLAKE2 since its publication in 2012.

Kuro Layer 2

As a bonus, Kadena has a fast finality layer, Kuro, that can be implemented quickly if it is needed. It uses scalableBFT as a consensus mechanism that integrates seamlessly with Chainweb for hybrid configurations. In hybrid blockchain designs, speed is primarily a function of scaling fast-finality Kuro nodes; Chainweb only needs to service settlement, while scaled Kuro nodes provide throughput. Each Kuro Chain is capable of 8,000 TPS.

In a Chainweb 20-chain instance with three Kuro chains attached in a load-balanced configuration, Kadena can achieve 480k fast finality TPS. It's capable of more than that depending on the load balancing strategy, and Chainweb can scale to more than 20 chains! This is the same kind of setup used for many other blockchains claiming large TPS numbers. The Kuro permissioned blockchain allows for multiple use cases, including:

  1. KadenaDOT, similar to Kadenamint (Pact+Tendermint), except that it's Kadena private/permissioned chain Kuro with a compatibility addon that gives it access to the DOT echo system.
  2. Instant payments, buy coffee with Kadena! (Arguably, you can already do this with just Chainweb, you will have to wait in line for a minute compared to one hour paying with Bitcoin or fifteen minutes paying with Ethereum)
  3. Confidential smart contracts.

Kadena engineers have worked at large companies like JP Morgan, Microsoft, Google, Disney, etc. They understand what kind of work is involved in building systems of mass scale and have kept many of those considerations in mind as they've developed the system we currently have. Kadena is achieving Satoshi Nakamoto's original vision of creating a safe, secure, and decentralized digital currency platform. Kadena has given the world an interoperable and scalable protocol that reimagines blockchain from the ground up, combining a revolutionary chain architecture, an enterprise-ready fast finality layer, and a smart contract language that are all ready for mass adoption. NFT's and KADDEX are just the first steps. Unlike proof-of-stake platforms like Cardano and Solana, Kadena is designed to power global financial systems and secure the future of digital value.