Jul 16, 2019

Algorand Running on Raspberry Pi

By: Brian Olson

Algorand is radically more efficient than previous blockchains. To demonstrate this we setup a cluster of inexpensive Raspberry Pi computers. Running a network of 3 model 3 B+ boards with quad core 1.4GHz ARM A53 processors and 1 GB of RAM we were able to securely handle 75 transactions per second while committing a block every 4.4 seconds. A recent busy day on the Bitcoin network averaged 5.2 transactions per second and wait times for a transaction to be committed on the Bitcoin network are often around an hour.

Using better server technology we’ve scaled this up to 1000 transactions per second across a global network while still committing blocks every 5 seconds. The same code ran in both cases just recompiled for x86_64 or ARM 32 bit. We’ve been testing this for a while and had a Raspberry Pi connected to our test network for several months to check ourselves on efficiency and portable compilation. A participating node can follow along and work with a cache of just the last 1000 blocks, easily within the storage space available. Most home computers should be good enough to connect to the network and participate.

The security of Algorand comes from its Proof-of-Stake based Byzantine Agreement protocol, not a race to waste the most computing power. Although a bit slower, a small network of $35 computers is every bit as secure as the full Algorand network.