The Synereo 2.0 Tech Stack Explained: Rholang & Special-K



  • The Synereo 2.0 Tech Stack Explained: Rholang & Special-K

    Synereo’s 2.0 tech stack incorporates all faculties needed to support decentralized computation without central servers. This includes RChain – a Blockchain 2.0 infrastructure for the execution of computational operations; Special-K – a storage and content delivery layer for the hosting of various forms of data; and Rholang – a smart contracting language, specifically designed for the parallel execution of processes.

    RChain, Synereo’s Blockchain 2.0 base-layer, is elaborated in depth here. This post deals with Special-K and Rholang. If you want to learn more about the complete Synereo 2.0 tech stack, please review Synereo’s Platform Architecture Documentation




    Special-K is Synereo’s Storage and Content Delivery layer, build on top of our Blockchain 2.0 infrastructure.

    While the Blockchain records the overall state of the system — meaning the validity of transactions and the execution of smart contracts — it is not suited for the storage of heavy media data such as images, videos and text. For this purpose, Synereo’s CTO, Greg Meredith, developed a unique protocol to distribute this kind of information among Synereo nodes and then retrieve it on demand.

    When a file is uploaded to the Synereo platform, Special-K shreds it into several encrypted parts, which are then distributed among Synereo nodes. Each such node only holds an encrypted fragment of the full file, which on its own doesn’t reveal any relevant information that could be used to infer its content. Only the file’s owner, and those granted access by them, can find the dispersed shards, and have the key that allows for their meaningful reassembling.

    Special-K has been under active development for over five years and constitutes an innovative approach to distributed storage technology, representing an evolution of DHT-like distributed key-value databases. Special-K also provides a monadic domain-specific language, providing programmers with a familiar, unified API where they can access data distributed across the network. Data is distributed with both redundancy and sensitivity in mind, making sure it’s available where it’s needed, when it’s needed, and concealed when it’s not.

    Rholang – Reflective, Higher-Order process language.

    Rholang stands for Reflective, Higher-Order process Language, and is RChain’s native smart-contract language (or programming language); the equivalent of Ethereum’s Solidity. In contrast to Solidity, however, Rholang is a reflective programming language, based on process calculus, allowing for the parallel execution of processes and the composition of higher-ordered smart contracts on the basis of lower ones, in an efficient and secure way.

    This grants Rholang an obvious advantage over traditional smart contract languages and Blockchain scripts, and puts it in the same category with established programming languages. Java, C#, and Scala, have all adopted reflection as a core feature, for example. This is what allows programmers to use programs to write other programs, on which more complex applications can be deployed. Without this feature, industrial scale development would likely be impossible due to complexity.

    This architecture, based on formal mathematical semantics, also allows for better safety tests and simulations based on formal verification, a property of utmost importance when it comes to publicly used decentralized applications. The infamous DAO hack, for example, could have been avoided if the DAO’s code had been based on Rholang.



    For more information about Synereo’s completely decentralized, 2.0 tech stack, which will be released in 2017, please view this architecture document or visit our site.

    We appreciate your attention,

    — The Synereo Team