What is a timestamp? Introduction of Timestamp in the blockchain network
During data storage, Time factor It is very important; For example, suppose you have registered an invention, if the time of the patent is not clear, another person can register the same invention and claim ownership. Since blockchain It is a kind of database and a lot of data is stored in itSo the time factor is very important in this technology. Timestamp in blockchain is responsible for recording time. But the application and importance Timestamp What is? What damage can the lack of time stamp do to the security and structure of the blockchain?
In the rest of this article, stay with Valex to fully familiarize yourself with the time stamp and discuss its applications in the blockchain field.
Timestamp in plain language
Timestamp is a counter in seconds that is responsible for displaying the time of an event. Time stamp has been widely used in computer software since the last 50 years and is very important in terms of processing and maintaining security. In the past, timestamps were centrally managed by specific entities, and users had to trust a centralized organization to ensure the time specified in the timestamp. But with timestamp entering the decentralized blockchain space, the need to trust a centralized organization has disappeared; In the blockchain, data time is determined in a completely decentralized manner. Timestamp management in blockchain is done by a large number of decentralized nodes. Next, we will discuss the timestamp in the blockchain.
Timestamp in the blockchain
Timestamp is one of the important data stored in header block. By being stored in blocks, this index records the time of their creation and addition to the blockchain network; In addition, it also displays the confirmation time and the addition of a transaction to the block. But the blockchain consists of a large number of decentralized nodes distributed around the world, each of which has its own native clock, and in this sense they are not compatible with each other. To solve this problem, the blockchain receives the time provided by all the nodes and integrates the time for the nodes by adjusting the received instant. For this purpose, all the nodes are connected to a single time and calculate their native time difference with it and store data according to it. The time stamp in the blockchain prevents the repetition of blocks and organizes the process of recording data.
However, keep in mind that the timestamp can have a slight time difference. Blockchain nodes sometimes have a delay in processing the entire network data, and two nodes may experience a slight delay in synchronizing their data with each other. For this reason, the timestamp may be delayed by one to two hours, but in no case should it be ahead of the blockchain time (obviously, no miner can have created the block in the future). The time stamp has wide applications in the blockchain, which we will discuss further.
Applications of timestamps in blockchain technology
Time stamp has various uses in blockchain technology, most of which are in line with Increased security Is. In the following, we will answer the question of what are the uses of Timestamp.
The importance of timestamp in determining the difficulty of network mining
Block is very important in blockchain and the time required to create a block is a very important factor in the continuity of blockchain activity. In the Bitcoin blockchain, by creating a new block, some bitcoins are multiplied and paid to the miner of that block as a reward. If the processing power of miners increases, blocks will be created faster and in less time; Since with the creation of each new block some currency is added to the circulating supply, this issue can increase the supply of Bitcoin. On the other hand, if the number or operational capacity of miners decreases, the speed of creating blocks decreases and can cause disruption in the continuation of the network process. As a result, it is very important to control and keep the desired time constant for creating blocks.
Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, designed the hash rate adjustment mechanism in order to keep the block creation time constant. In the Bitcoin blockchain, there is an indicator called the difficulty of extracting the network (Hash Rate), which defines the amount of difficulty and throughput required to extract blocks. This mechanism Network throughput measures and adjusts the hardness of the network according to it; The hardness of the network increases if the throughput increases and decreases if it decreases. By doing this, the throughput is proportional to the difficulty of the network, and the time to create blocks remains almost constant.
With the creation of every 2016 new block (at least once every two weeks); The network checks the duration of the creation of these blocks and the operational capacity of the miners and re-determines the difficulty of the network. Checking the speed of creating previous blocks is done according to the time specified by the time stamp, and as a result, it can be said that the time tag has a direct impact on determining the difficulty of network mining and of course maintaining the stability of the network. (We used Bitcoin as an example in this article, but this issue exists in most blockchains, especially blockchains that are based on proof of work)
The importance of timestamps in preventing double spending
Before Bitcoin, projects were created to launch digital money. But the success of Bitcoin was due to the fact that it was able to solve the problem of double spending by using blockchain technology. Double spending occurs when a user spends a fixed asset twice; For example, he spends a fixed 50,000 Toman bill once to buy coffee and the same bill again to buy sweets. Bitcoin created this problem Distributed ledger (DLT) and Timestamp is one of the most important factors in this office.
The time stamp specifies the confirmation time of a transaction; This means that if the user spends an amount of assets during a transaction, the time of doing it is recorded by the time tag, and the user cannot claim to have sent the asset to another address by creating another transaction. As a result, the time stamp is also very important in maintaining network security.
Importance of time stamp in HTLC I see
In the field of blockchain, there is a type of smart contract that is executed at a certain time; This type of contract is called HTLC (Hashed Time lock contract). These types of contracts are used in situations where a process must be done only at a certain time; For example, in atomic swaps (exchanges in which two users trade two cryptocurrencies from two different blockchains in a completely decentralized manner) wallets are created that are only valid for a certain period of time. Time management of these types of contracts is another application of time tag.
The challenge facing the Bitcoin blockchain in relation to timestamps
The time tag is a number in seconds, which in most cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, is counted relative to the year 1970 (to find out its current value, you can go to This link See). In programming, the integer is stored in an int variable; An int variable of 32-bit type can only store up to the number 2147483647. Bitcoin blockchain, like many other software, uses a 32-bit int variable to store timestamps. In 2038 and on January 19, the amount of standard time stamp will reach 2147483647 and after that there will be no more capacity to increase and continue this amount. For this reason, this date has become a global challenge for most software and computer systems. Of course, since the variable used in Bitcoin does not include negative numbers, this problem will arise in Bitcoin in future years, but in any case, solving this problem is one of the upcoming challenges for most blockchains, including Bitcoin!
What is the time stamp? Introduction of Timestamp in the blockchain network for the first time in the Wallex blog. appeared.