Helix Co-Founder Marcel Fohrmann in Tech Interview: “Our Tangle is Decentralized”

Helix is still a young Berlin blockchain start-up working on tangle technology. Tangle is known to many in connection with IOTA. The promise is huge: no scaling problems, no costs. However, quite a few criticize the central role of the coordinator. Helix wants to do it better and has found a way to enable decentralization in the tangle as well. In order not only to scratch the surface, the following interview also goes into technical detail – not IT’s get their money’s worth, however. When you hear the keyword tangle, you immediately have to think of IOTA.

What does your tangle have in common with that of the Bitcoin secret, how does it differ?

The Tangle is first and foremost a revolutionary and impressive invention by the Bitcoin secret, which inspired us strongly. It’s a very fitting name for a seemingly chaotic memory arrangement. In this sense the Helix-Tangle does not differ from the IOTA-Tangle. Transactions are mapped in a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) for further processing, which brings advantages in terms of scalability – a decisive advantage over a Bitcoin secret blockchain.

In the tangle, new transactions are linked to the graph by a “tip selection” algorithm, which uses weights of transactions to simulate a “random walk”, which in turn delivers two transactions to be referenced as a result. In practice, some transactions end up as so-called “orphans” who are never referenced by newly linked transactions. Our data science team has practically analyzed existing tip selection methods, found various optimization possibilities and implemented realistic simulations of the solution approaches.

Furthermore, Helix relies on a binary instead of a trinary interpretation of the tangle. Although we understand the advantages of a trinary tangle design, especially when executed in dedicated hardware, Helix pursues the goal of the highest possible end-user compatibility. Accordingly, cryptography was also implemented in binary form, whereby we adhere to the NIST standard and do without highly experimental procedures. In addition, we currently consider it very risky to make speculations about resistance to quantum computers, but we are also working very intensively on this challenge.

Another problem of cryptosoft is the incomparability of elements

Timestamps, for example, cannot be semantically validated. Unlike cryptosoft, it is difficult to derive an intuitive linear order from the tangle. So there are cryptosoft elements that are not a scam. Therefore, we work in close cooperation with research institutes on a method to efficiently arrange subsets of the tangle without losing semantic validity. This is the basic prerequisite for the planned support of Smart Contracts, for which the order in which transactions are executed is of crucial importance. For example, smart contracts that are used in exchanges must have a way of viewing the order of bids in order to transfer the digital asset to the first bidder.