University of Sydney researchers are building a new super-fast, safe blockchain technology that has the potential to revolutionise the global economy.
Best known as the technology that underpins Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is a digital public ledger where transactions are recorded and confirmed pseudonymously.
The new “Red Belly Blockchain” system being developed by the University of Sydney’s School of Information Technologies will allow secure and almost instantaneous digital transfer of virtual currencies across the world.
“In recent testing, our blockchain achieved the best performance we have seen so far – with more than 440,000 transactions per second on 100 machines. In comparison, VISA’s network has a peak capacity of around 56,000 transactions per second and the Bitcoin network is limited to around 7 transactions per second,” said University of Sydney academic Dr Vincent Gramoli, who heads up the Concurrent Systems Research Group developing the blockchain.
The Red Belly Blockchain is the first 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.
No double spending
“As opposed to mainstream public blockchains, ours is not subject to double spending – when an individual successfully spends their money more than once – because its chain of blocks never forks,” said Dr Gramoli. A fork occurs when a bug in the system causes the blockchain to diverge into two or more potential paths forward.
“As opposed to consortium blockchains, it can treat hundreds of thousands of transactions per second coming from a potentially unbounded number of clients. It offers a performance that scales horizontally, which ensures the security of transactions.”
Dr Gramoli said the next stage for the Red Belly Blockchain is to develop a recommendation system to automate the selection of the participants of a consensus instance. This consensus will ensure the security of the blockchain.
“We will soon release wallets to help the end-users issue transactions and read the balance of their account from anywhere,” he said.