/ Ecosystem

Scalability will Reveal XRP as the Premier International Digital Asset



I blog about Ripple & XRP. FULL DISCLOSURE: All views are my own. I do not work for Ripple; I am not a professional financial analyst, and the majority of my crypto holdings are XRP.

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Nobody talks about block size.

And is it any wonder?  It's a heady topic, and XRP's performance metrics are so sexy in the other areas that bankers and financial institutions focus on.  Before I talk about block size, if you haven't seen the head-to-head comparison between XRP and the other two of the "top three" crypto-currencies, take a look 1:


This is why XRP fans don't really focus on block size and discuss the fact that "proof-of-work" consensus networks like Bitcoin will always be hamstrung by having to haul all of their transactions around to every node on the network; the other metrics like speed and throughput are much more easy to convey to listeners - and they speak volumes!

Generally, I've talked about how Bitcoin and Ethereum "mining" are incredibly bad for the environment here, and how mining will impact the scalability limits of those two networks; however there's another symptom of a diseased crypto-currency that will eventually make itself known, and that's the absolute limitation of how big each block can be. 2

Bitcoin Cash (Created on August 1st)

This is the very topic that prompted the creation of "bitcoin cash", which sports an increased block size of 8 MB.  This will allow it to process more transactions per block, and help its proponents avoid what they believe is a bad option with "SegWit".  Time will tell what effect this had, and it looks like the majority of Bitcoin fans have stayed with the "original," at least for now.

But increasing the block size doesn't help Bitcoin rise to a level where they can support the number of payments of a truly international currency.  Nowhere even close.

Here's a benchmark for what a true international payment network must achieve:

  • Paypal: 193 TPS
  • VISA: 1,667 TPS

If you're thinking that Ethereum can get there, think again.  Ethereum can only support a maximum number of ~ 20 transactions per second, compared to Bitcoin's 6 transactions per second. 3

What's that?  XRP? Oh, right, just in case you haven't heard yet, the XRP Ledger is able to support 1,500 transactions per second as of the latest benchmark test, and Ripple is working to scale it further. 4 5


In addition, if payment channels are used (PayChan), the XRP Ledger scales easily to a blazing 70,000 transactions per second! 6

Back to Block Size

Block size happens to be an absolute limitation on how much data can be included in each Bitcoin "block" that is confirmed by the miners on Bitcoin's "proof-of-work" blockchain.  When Bitcoin began back in 2008, these blocks could carry up to 36 MB of transactions, but in 2010, this limitation was reduced to 1 MB to reduce the threat of spam and DDOS attacks. 7

However, because the number of transactions awaiting confirmation are exceeding the amount that can be included in one block, some transactions are facing delayed confirmations due to the capacity issues of Bitcoin.

So how is this being addressed currently?  Transaction fees.  If you want to use the Bitcoin network, you have to set your transaction fee to a fairly high amount.  One article noted that

Bitcoin transaction fees are up 1,289 % since March 2015" and rising higher as we speak.
While this way to self-regulate will provide a more efficient use of the Bitcoin network, the whole idea was adoption, right?  Essentially these fixes - increases in block size and an increase in the network fees - just "kick the can down the road" until the problem is dealt with at a code level.

And nobody wants to touch the code.

Look at how choppy the crypto-currency markets have been since SegWit's time frame has approached in 2017; the last thing that markets need is uncertainty, and a code change to the core Bitcoin protocol is exactly that; uncertainty.

What About XRP?

XRP doesn't suffer from either of those problems.  A validator node doesn't have to have a history of all transactions, but just needs to sync with the network by recognizing the most recent ledger close(s). Within minutes it's up and running. 8

The XRP Ledger doesn't use a "proof-of-work" consensus; it uses a Byzantine algorithm known as the "Ripple Protocol," which has been running successfully since 2012. 9

Because of this, it doesn't suffer from the centralization that is an inevitable result of POW-based blockchains and their mining consortiums.  Instead, it relies on a super-efficient transaction-approval process for validation and inclusion in each ledger.

Instead of "blocks", the XRP Ledger has the concept of "ledgers" which contain transactions.  These ledgers close every four seconds regularly, and each transaction is considered "settled" at the point of ledger close.

Thus far, XRP has closed over 31 million ledgers without incident. 10

The crypto industry needs to collectively stop looking to Bitcoin or Ethereum as a solution to meet the needs of a truly global payment infrastructure.  The answer is right in front of them, and banks are adopting its technology in large numbers as we speak.  To this date, there are 75 commercial deployments of Ripple technology, and approximately 90 current customers. 11

The top banks in the world are among their listed customers:


XRP is not only a revolutionary digital asset that supports the transformation of fiat into any other currency; it's the only truly scalable digital asset that offers an enterprise solution for banks and financial institutions!


  1. https://ripple.com/xrp/
  2. https://www.coindesk.com/coindesk-explainer-bitcoin-cash-forking-blockchain/
  3. http://www.altcointoday.com/bitcoin-ethereum-vs-visa-paypal-transactions-per-second/
  4. https://bitpam.com/blogs/news/what-is-ripple-how-do-i-buy-ripple
  5. http://www.altplatform.org/2017/08/03/a-closer-look-at-ripple-the-third-largest-cryptocurrency/
  6. https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/ripple-claims-transaction-thoroughput-now/
  7. https://www.coindesk.com/what-is-the-bitcoin-block-size-debate-and-why-does-it-matter/
  8. https://ripple.com/build/rippled-setup/
  9. https://ripple.com/files/ripple_consensus_whitepaper.pdf
  10. https://ripple.com/xrp/https://ripple.com/xrp/
  11. https://ripple.com/

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I blog about Ripple & XRP. FULL DISCLOSURE: All views are my own. I do not work for Ripple; I am not a professional financial analyst, and the majority of my crypto holdings are XRP.

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