SuperBuffers: A Middleware to Speed Up Web3 Applications

SuperBuffers
3 min readJul 19, 2023

Web3 applications built on platforms like Aleo offer important privacy and security guarantees through the use of zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP). However, generating ZKPs requires heavy computation that can cause high latency and low throughput for end users.

To address this, we are developing SuperBuffers, a middleware layer that acts as a message queue between the applications and the underlying Aleo blockchain. SuperBuffers allows users to delegate expensive ZKP computations to more powerful machines like GPUs while still preserving privacy.

In this post, We’ll dive deeper into:

- The core principles and requirements behind SuperBuffers
- How SuperBuffers accelerates a sample Battleship game app
- The roadmap for enhancing SuperBuffers’ security, generality, consensus and privacy

Design Principles

SuperBuffers aims to improve speed and throughput for Aleo-based apps while maintaining several key properties:

Aleo Adaptation — SuperBuffers is designed to work within Aleo’s architecture and support its transaction formats and ZKP schemes. This ensures seamless integration with existing Aleo infrastructure.

Real-Time Service — By asynchronously generating proofs on sequencer machines, SuperBuffers allows applications to immediately respond to user requests for a smooth experience. This mimics the real-time UX of message queues in web2 apps.

High Throughput — Since ZKP generation is very computationally expensive, doing it on client devices severely limits throughput. SuperBuffers achieves higher TPS by delegating proofs to powerful sequencers that can batch process transactions in parallel.

Strong Security — SuperBuffers employs request signatures, Merkle trees, data feed, and other mechanisms to prevent sequencer misbehavior while keeping user data private. Economic incentives will further align sequencers with honest participation.

SuperBuffers Construction

Figure 1: SuperBuffers Interactive Diagram

SuperBuffers is a layer2 middleware between web3 applications and layer1 chain. Requests are generated by users in the application. SuperBuffers receives the requests and puts these requests into a sequencer in time order. SuperBuffers responds the application immediately and then helps weak users generate a succinct proof corresponding to the request. The transactions consisting of requests and proofs will be recorded on chain eventually. The interaction process of SuperBuffers is shown in Figure 1.

Battleship Demo

Let’s look at how SuperBuffers improves the gameplay of a simple Battleship game dApp built on Aleo contracts. Without optimization, each move would require the player to generate a costly ZKP before seeing the results.

With SuperBuffers integrated, the Battleship flow instead looks like:

1. Player makes move and sends request to SuperBuffers
2. SuperBuffers orders requests and delegates ZKP generation to sequencer
3. Move is acknowledged immediately so game can proceed
4. Sequencer batches and generates proofs efficiently using GPUs
5. Transactions with proofs are committed on Aleo periodically

By delegating proof work to the sequencer, Battleship moves can happen instantly rather than waiting for on-chain confirmation. This provides a smooth, real-time experience while still settling securely on Aleo.

Roadmap

We’re working to enhance SuperBuffers in the following areas:

Security — Implement data feed, incentives, slashing, and other mechanisms to prevent sequencer misbehavior or collusion.

Generality — Build reusable components and abstractions so SuperBuffers can easily integrate with more application types beyond just games.

Consensus — Move towards models with decentralized sequencers and protocols to mask single sequencers of failure.

Privacy — Employ advanced techniques like secret sharing to better protect user privacy when delegating proofs to sequencers.

Summary

By delegating expensive computations off-chain, SuperBuffers unlocks the speed and privacy needed for mass adoption of web3 applications. We welcome additional ideas and collaboration from the community as we work to make blockchains like Aleo faster, more secure, and privacy-preserving.

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SuperBuffers

A trustworthy middleware to enable the fast execution of Internet based apps in Web3.