How to Solve Blockchain’s Flaws, and Create the Scalable Architecture that will Unleash its Potential

by Piers Ridyard, Radix CEO

In recent years, Blockchain and DLT have been touted as technology which could revolutionize the financial industry and drastically reduce the time, cost and friction in global transactional systems, especially in areas such as cross border payments.

Despite strong use cases and interest in the technology, flaws in the data architecture that prevent scalability have thus far prevented mass adoption. The current crop of blockchains cannot scale without adding some form of central authority or system bottleneck, they are expensive and difficult to build secure applications on and can become much slower when more nodes are added to the network. 

Radix has built a new ledger structure that is designed to scale linearly, meaning that the more nodes that are added to the network, the more transactions it can process. This is made possible via Sharding, a process that has been recently referenced and discussed in the Blockchain space as a potential antidote to Blockchain’s scalability woes. 

What makes Radix’s Sharding unique to other protocols, however, is that Radix is completely sharded from day one rather than on an ongoing basis as a network grows. We adopt a sharding policy which will never change, no matter how large the ledger grows.  First we pre-defined a shard friendly data structure, and second, set in stone how that data structure can be “chopped up” into incredibly small pieces, totalling 18.4 quintillion shards.

To give you a sense of how many shards that is, if you took all the data that Google stores including Youtube, Google Cloud, their copy of the internet and spread it across 18.4 quintillion shards there would only be 4 bits of data per shard.

This incredibly fine grained data structure not only allows Radix to store incomprehensible amounts of data, it also makes it incredibly easy to find the data you want as it is all location indexed. 

This approach has 2 powerful benefits:

  1. It increases throughput, as different nodes can process different transactions and so more transactions can be processed at any given time.
  2. By lowering the resource intensity of being a node, more nodes can participate and we are less likely to end up with a centralized system where users must rely on a small set of ‘full’ nodes who are the only ones able to afford to store the full ledger.

Radix has been running live throughput tests every week since the beginning of June, where we have used the entire 10 year history of Bitcoin as a dataset to publicly test the capabilities of our ledger. This campaign resulted in a peak of 1.4 million transactions per second processing roughly 400 million transactions and 460 million addresses in 15 minutes and 4 seconds, a record for any decentralized ledger.

For context, this is 500 x the average daily throughput of VISA 15 x the New York Stock Exchange at it’s daily peak and 4 x Alipay and NASDAQ. 

We believe that Radix can solve Blockchain’s scalability problem. It is our goal to become the ledger the world can rely on and serve every single person and business in the world.

Radix Team