WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Blockchains relatively low transaction speeds could stop it from reaching its full potential, but now a research group from USYD claim to have smashed the performance barrier that could have held it back.
Researchers at Australia’s University of Sydney (USYD) announced this week that they’ve developed a new blockchain variant that can process over 440,000 transactions per second, and they say that they believe the system has the potential to revolutionise the global economy.
The new blockchain variant, dubbed Red Belly Blockchain (RBB) after the country’s favourite snake would allow the almost instantaneous processing of huge volumes of cryptocurrency transactions, as well as other types, and when it’s compared to the Visa network’s processing speed of 56,000 transactions per second (TPS), PayPal’s 450 TPS, Ethereum’s 20 TPS, and Bitcoins measly 8 TPS it’s suddenly easy to see why the university think they’re onto a big deal.
As blockchain becomes the defacto technology touted by many to underpin everything from China’s future cryptocurrency, cloud computing and HPC, digital identities, the decentralised internet, Forex trading, supply chains, the entire US military, and everything in between, oh, and solve world hunger and world poverty… unless blockchains can process all of these transactions in a cost effective, fast and secure way then it’s likely that most of the initiatives, at some point, will cave, and that’s the problem that RBB looks like it could solve.
“The Red Belly Blockchain offers unprecedented throughput of more than 400 thousand transactions per second when it’s running on 100 machines and its safety aspect is of invaluable importance for critical industries, like banking, and unlike other blockchains its performance scales horizontally,” wrote the researchers.
The researchers also claim that the Red Belly Blockchain is the first blockchain variant to be built on both public and private networks which, if validated, would not only allow the peer-to-peer exchange of data but would also allow an unprecedented number of people and “nodes” to use and access the system simultaneously.
TPS Comparison Chart
“As opposed to mainstream public blockchains, [the RBB] is not subject to double spending, that’s when an individual successfully spends their money more than once, because its chain of blocks never forks,” said Dr. Vincent Gramoli, Head of Research at the Concurrent Systems Research Group at USYD, who headed up the program.
According to Gramoli by scaling horizontally RBB can avoid common issues that ail other blockchain variants, such as forking.
“The absence of forks means there is no need for any number of confirmations. A transaction in a block is there for good,” he said, “as opposed to consortium blockchains, it can process hundreds of thousands of transactions per second coming from a potentially unbounded number of clients, and it offers a performance that scales horizontally, which ensures the security of transactions.”
Now that the team have the first RBB system up and running their next step will be to develop a recommendation system that would automate the selection of participants of a consensus instance, so, as many people complain about the slow, and increasingly expensive, transaction processing speeds of today’s blockchains, who knows, tomorrow that problem might be just a thing of the past, and that’s only going to help boost blockchain’s adoption.