What is a blockchain consensus operating system?

If you haven’t heard of one before, don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is a relatively new concept that centres around the use of blockchain technology as the infrastructure for global systems that encompass all manner of digital transactions.

They’ve been getting more attention of late as a result of the coverage that L3COS is receiving in relation to government efforts to issue a Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC. In a recent thought article, Zurab Ashvil, the Founder of L3COS, states that the world needs a blockchain consensus operating system in order for the whole of society to benefit from this technology.

According to Ashvil, the L3COS system is “the world’s first blockchain consensus operating system for regulating digital economies”. He goes on to describe how it works in the following way:

“The triple layer network enables governments to communicate and operate CBDCs from the top layer, via a proof of government consensus mechanism. They can then onboard other entities onto the network to interact in a regulated digital economy, with corporations at the second layer and individuals at the third layer, all interacting in an entirely decentralised manner.”

Sounds interesting but, if you’ve never heard of this before and find it difficult to understand, a good place to start is with the operating systems you do recognise. An operating system is simply software that runs on a computer and allows you to perform all the basic functions and tasks on a device. You might not even recognise the operating system as a distinct thing but it’s essentially the interface you see when you log into a device. The average person only really starts to see how different operating systems work when they choose to switch from one to another, for example when they buy an Android phone having always used iPhones or if they use a Windows laptop at work but have a Macbook at home.

Operating systems don’t necessarily have to have the slick graphical user interfaces that we recognise in these situations either. Linux is an open source operating system that software engineers prefer and is in operation across the web, even though most people have never seen it and don’t need to use it.

When it comes to blockchain operating systems, there are a few existing blockchains that claim to be this. EOS is probably the best known of them and it claims to offer smart contract functionality with scalability. Overledger is another example of an existing blockchain that is a blockchain operating system, which claims to interconnect blockchains and enterprise applications. Codefi has also been launched as a blockchain operating system for finance by blockchain developers Consensys.

L3COS on the other hand seems to be unique in its position as a blockchain consensus operating system. Its focus on consensus appears to revolve around the triple layer mechanism mentioned earlier, with governments operating in the top layer, corporations in the second and individuals in the third. This structure enables governments to regulate their economies without burdening them, as every interaction is automated via smart contracts.

It is this element that seems particularly targeted at the governments around the world that want to issue CBDC, such as the Bank of England, Bank of France and European Central Bank. Presumably the idea is that any government issues a CBDC and then this is used across a regulated digital economy via the smart contracts that enable every interaction.

To summarise then, a blockchain consensus operating system seems to be the next stage in the evolution of blockchain. It is similar to a blockchain operating system but specifically designed to reflect the structures of society and be regulated by governments, who can use it as the foundation technology to power the CBDC that is used in their digital economies.