CSIRO’s Red Belly Blockchain Claims New Speed Record

September 27

It is well known that, among the biggest problems with public blockchains, such as the one behind Bitcoin, are the amount of time it takes to process a transaction and the enormous amount of energy it consumes.  According to blockchain.com, for example, Bitcoin processes only three to seven transactions per second and, in August, had an average confirmation time for a transaction of 10-30 minutes, though that number had been as high as 50 hours during some peak periods.  The lack of scalability affects the potential for real world applications.

Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Data61 and the Concurrent Systems Research Group at the University of Sydney (USyd) announced the other day a successful large-scale experiment at much faster rates.  The experiment deployed CSIRO’s Red Belly Blockchain on 1,000 virtual machines across 14 of Amazon Web Services’  18 geographic regions, including North America, South America, Asia Pacific (Sydney), and Europe. A benchmark was set by sending 30,000 transactions per second from different geographic regions, demonstrating an average transaction latency (or delay) of three seconds with 1,000 replicas (a machine that maintains a copy of the current state of the Blockchain and the balance of all accounts.)

The CSIRO press release included the following explanation:

Mainstream blockchain technologies like Bitcoin require proof of work – a protocol to satisfy certain requirements and verify a transaction – and need to solve crypto puzzles, a highly computational task that slows down the creation of blocks and requires massive amounts of energy. Red Belly Blockchain differs from these blockchains as it is underpinned by a unique algorithm and offers performance that scales without an equivalent increase in electricity consumption.

CSIRO is also working with IBM to build a blockchain network for smart contracts, which it is calling the Australian National Blockchain (ANB).

David Zaslowsky has a degree in computer science and, before going to Yale Law School, was a computer programmer. He is currently the Chairman of the Litigation Department of the firm’s New York office. His practice focuses on international litigation and arbitration. He has been involved in cases in trial and appellate courts across the United States and before arbitral institutions around the world. Many of David’s cases, including some patent cases, have related to technology. Since 2008, David has been included in Chambers for his expertise in international arbitration.