As you may already know, the elevator in the computer sciences department has been broken since Friday and will remain unfixed throughout the weekend. Although we have a backup elevator, it gets overloaded even on a Saturday morning. When I went to grab a cup of coffee, someone else had already ridden it, so I had to take the stairs.
We strive to create systems with high availability. A loss of three days (averaging 0.9% throughout the year) is hardly acceptable. This brings us to today’s main theme:
We present a proposal for a new type of elevator that utilizes blockchain technology to achieve high availability.
The idea behind this proposal is to create an elevator system that never goes down. By using a decentralized blockchain network, the elevator system could potentially achieve 100% uptime, with no single point of failure.
The elevator’s control system would be connected to the blockchain network. Every time a passenger boards or exits the elevator, a new block would be added to the chain. The blocks would contain information about the elevator’s current position, direction, and speed. You can think of it as a transaction: validators (a new name for blockchain miners in this context) will include it in the chain. Once six blocks are validated on top of it, we will consider it confirmed, and the elevator will move toward the destination. The confirmation of the transaction on the Ethereum Mainnet takes approximately 84 seconds. However, faster confirmations can be achieved by using private chains.
Thanks to the decentralized nature of the system, the elevator will continue to function as long as most validators are online. Even if a hacker tries to tamper with the system, the blockchain’s consensus mechanism will ensure that the elevator’s history remains accurate and unalterable. If you take a two-hour coffee break on the sixth floor, everyone in the department will know about it.
In addition, the immutability of the blockchain guarantees that there will be no disputes over the operation of elevators, which can occur with traditional elevator systems. For instance, people often disagree on how long the doors should remain closed if no button is pressed, and it is often unclear whether the “close door” button accelerates the closing. With blockchains, these rules are enforced by the system, and there is no room for interpretation.
Elevators powered by blockchain technology have a lot of potential. We highly anticipate that they will replace the current broken elevator in the CS building.
Happy April Fool’s Day!