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University of Sydney's super-fast blockchain gets even faster

25 October 2017

New global trials have shown the super-fast 'Red Belly Blockchain' can process financial transactions 50 percent faster than first anticipated - outperforming some market leaders including VISA for world-wide payments.

Blockchain technology is best known as technology that underpins Bitcoin. Blockchain is a public ledger allowing secure and almost instantaneous digital transfer of virtual currencies across the world. The ‘Red Belly Blockchain’ is being developed by researchers at the University of Sydney’s School of Information Technologies

Dr Vincent Gramoli, who heads up the Concurrent Systems Research Group developing the blockchain, said trials over the past three months showed the technology’s performance gets better as it scales up.

“Our latest tests showed the Red Belly Blockchain can process more than 660,000 transactions per second on 300 machines in a single data centre. This is a notable improvement from our tests earlier in the year, which showed our blockchain achieved a performance of more than 440,000 transactions per second on 100 machines,” he said.

“In comparison, VISA’s network has a peak capacity of around 56,000 transactions per second, and the Bitcoin network is limited to around seven transactions per second.”

The Red Belly Blockchain was also tested across 14 diverse geographical regions – from Australia to the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Brazil, Japan, India, South Korea and Singapore. Ten machines participated in the testing in each region.

“Our results confirmed that our blockchain achieves better performance than existing technologies used by financial institutions – including VISA – even when the machines that have to collaboratively provide the service are located in different continents. We do not know of any other blockchain solution that can achieve this,” Dr Gramoli said.

The Red Belly Blockchain is a blockchain being built to work both in public and private contexts, meaning that it could be used by Internet users in a peer-to-peer fashion, as well as in an industrial environment restricted to certain users.

The blockchain technology is also being developed to avoid common problems currently plaguing digital transactions, including double spending – when an individual successfully spends their money more than once.

Red Belly Blockchain differs from proof-of-work blockchains in that it offers a performance that scales without consuming much electricity. This ensures the security of hundreds of thousands of transactions per second coming from a potentially unbounded number of clients.

Dr Gramoli said the next stage for the Red Belly Blockchain is to be made public available to all Internet users.

Jennifer Peterson-Ward

Media and PR Adviser (Engineering and IT)

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