Introducing Gamesmaster Nodes

This blog post intends to explore the what, why and when about Hemis Gamesmaster Nodes.

What is a Gamesmaster Node?

Gamesmaster Nodes are second layer nodes that will be launched on the Hemis blockchain once the airdrop is completed and the blockchain is fully decentralised and under community control. This is currently anticipated to be in Q2 2024.

A Gamesmaster Node on the Hemis network will be a server that performs specialised functions beyond those of a regular wallet in return for token incentives. Gamesmaster Nodes will be both the core of the Hemis community and the network within a network that makes decentralised and contract-free games of chance possible on the Hemis chain.

Why have second layer nodes? Proofs vs Discincentives

Cryptographic proofs, particularly in the context of decentralised peer-to-peer systems, present a challenge due to the complexities of cryptography and the nuances of decentralised environments. In such systems, achieving consensus on critical issues like ensuring that tokens have not been double-spent or that a process has been completed without interference from bad actors, involves solving intricate mathematical problems. The core difficulty lies in creating a secure, tamper-proof system that operates efficiently and reliably without centralised oversight. 

Each node in the network must independently verify transactions, a process that relies on complex cryptographic algorithms to ensure the integrity and uniqueness of each transaction. This verification process needs to be resistant to fraudulent activities while maintaining consistency across a vast, distributed network. The verification process also has to be fast enough to make the verification process worthwhile. For example, who would buy a soda with a payment method that takes 15 minutes to confirm?

The decentralised nature of these systems means that consensus must be reached among disparate, often anonymous participants, each with equal authority but no central coordination. Therefore, what might seem like a straightforward task, generating random numbers and proving that the process has not been compromised, becomes a sophisticated exercise in cryptographic problem-solving and network coordination, demonstrating the balance between security, decentralisation, and computational feasibility.

The invention of second layer nodes in cryptocurrency networks, particularly in systems like DASH, stemmed from the realisation that certain cryptographic proofs are exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in a purely decentralised context. In a typical blockchain, cryptographic proofs serve as the backbone for security, ensuring that transactions are valid and preventing issues like double-spending. However, these cryptographic solutions are extremely slow (see Bitcoin’s scalability and performance issues) and often require immense computational resources and can still leave the network vulnerable to certain types of attacks, like the 51% attack, where an entity gains control of the majority of the network’s mining power. At DASH, “masternodes” were used not for cryptographic proofs but for the creation of economic disincentives in order to safely reach consensus on anonymous and zero confirmation spend transactions. 

Hemis is building a set of new features on top of the tried and tested second layer node innovation that DASH pioneered and that many other projects have copied since. By choosing this approach, it is possible to maintain a true sense of decentralisation and avoid the need for complicated contracts for simple game of chance operations.

What will Gamesmaster Nodes do?

Gamesmasters will provide two major functions to the Hemis network.

– Facilitate the decentralised and provably fair generation of random numbers and confirm or reject probabilistic gameplay transactions.
– Administer the DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation) and provide funding to community development proposals.

Gamesmasters will achieve the above by shifting the emphasis from purely cryptographic proofs to an economic disincentive model. By requiring Gamesmaster operators to hold a significant amount of Hemis tokens as collateral, the system creates a strong economic disincentive against malicious behaviour. This approach assumes that it is economically unfeasible for an individual to operate enough Gamesmaster Nodes to act dishonestly, as they would stand to lose their substantial investment in the network. 

It will also be economically unfeasible for anybody to purchase enough tokens to control 50%+ of the Hemis Gamesmaster network. The collateral requirement ensures that operators have a vested interest in the health and integrity of the network, aligning their incentives with those of the network’s stability and security.

This model doesn’t make attacking the network mathematically impossible, but instead makes it financially impractical. It leverages the concept of game theory, where the best strategy for each participant, in this case Gamesmaster operators, is to act in a way that supports the network’s well-being.

Gamesmasters offer an alternative to the difficulties of cryptographic proofs in decentralised systems by introducing an economic layer of security. This approach has been influential in the development of various blockchain innovations including the DPoS consensus mechanism and ETH PoS, showcasing a different angle of ensuring network security and integrity without tackling near impossible cryptographic challenges.

Why would I want to operate a Gamesmaster Node?

Gamesmaster operators will enjoy:

– The ability to vote on DAO proposals and therefore shaping future development of the Hemis project.
– A percentage of the block reward in return for providing a full copy of the Hemis blockchain to the peer to peer network.
– Receipt of gameplay fees, in return for generating random numbers and settling probabilistic transactions.

What are the requirements to run a Gamesmaster Node?

To operate a Gamesmaster Node you will require:

– 1000 HMS tokens.
– A VPS cloud instance, server, or computer that will be online 24/7.
– A static IP address.

How many Gamesmaster Nodes can exist at once?

There is no limit on how many Gamesmaster Nodes can exist at one time however because all Gamesmaster Nodes will share a set percentage of block reward, if the cost of operating a Gamesmaster Node exceeds the economic benefits of running it, fewer people will want to run nodes.

While working on the design and delivery of the MNPoS consensus mechanism at Crown in 2017, we referred to the level where a second tier node is no longer “profitable” as the Zuck Equilibrium or Zuck Line, named after the fund manager Matt Zuck who was a notable contributor to node theory.

How many tokens will a Gamesmaster Node receive?

Factors that may dictate how many tokens a Gamesmaster node may receive are as follows:

Total Number of Active Gamesmasters: The rewards are shared among all active Gamesmasters. Therefore, the more Gamesmasters in operation, the smaller the individual share of the reward for each Gamesmaster.

Performance and Uptime: A Gamesmaster that is running 24/7 will receive more tokens than a node that is sometimes offline.

Gameplay and RNG: The more game rounds that are played and the more random numbers generated to facilitate those game rounds, the more fees will be paid to Gamesmaster Nodes.

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