BigchainDB GmbH

Scalable Blockchain Database

BigchainDB: A Scalable Blockchain Database

A paper by Trent McConaghy, Rodolphe Marques, Andreas Müller, Dimitri De Jonghe, Troy McConaghy, Greg McMullen, Ryan Henderson, Sylvain Bellemare, Alberto Granzott


This paper describes BigchainDB. BigchainDB fills a gap in the decentralization ecosystem: a decentralized database, at scale. It points to performance of 1 million writes per second throughput, storing petabytes of data, and sub-second latency.

The BigchainDB design starts with a distributed database (DB), and through a set of innovations adds blockchain characteristics: decentralized control, immutability, and creation & movement of digital assets. BigchainDB inherits characteristics of modern distributed databases: linear scaling in throughput and capacity with the number of nodes, a full-featured NoSQL query language, efficient querying, and permissioning. Being built on an existing distributed DB, it also inherits enterprise-hardened code for most of its codebase.

Scalable capacity means that legally binding con- tracts and certificates may be stored directly on the blockchain database. The permissioning system enables configurations ranging from private enterprise blockchain databases to open, public blockchain databases. BigchainDB is complementary to decentralized processing platforms like Ethereum, and decentralized file systems like InterPlanetary File System (IPFS).

This paper describes technology perspectives that led to the BigchainDB design: traditional blockchains, distributed databases, and a case study of the domain name system (DNS). We introduce a concept called blockchain pipelining, which is key to scalability when adding blockchainlike characteristics to the distributed DB. We present a thorough description of BigchainDB, a detailed analysis of latency, and experimental results. The paper concludes with a description of use cases.

The full BigchainDB white paper is here. (note the Addendum)

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At a high level, one can communicate with a BigchainDB cluster (set of nodes) using the BigchainDB Client-Server HTTP API, or a wrapper for that API, such as the BigchainDB Python Driver. Each BigchainDB node runs BigchainDB Server and various other software. The BigchainDB terminology page explains some of those terms in more detail.

Moreover, herein is Trent McConaghy‘s talk on the BigchainDB he delivered on PyData Berlin in 2016:

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