Radix CEO Piers Ridyard wants to disrupt the blockchain sector

Posted: 24 April 2018 11:50 am
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Radix CEO Piers Ridyard shares how he aims to disrupt the blockchain sector with a next-generation distributed ledger protocol.

Interview from Blockchain Week London on 23 January 2018.

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Read the transcript:

My name is Piers Ridyard. I am the CEO of Radix and I am currently based in London.

Radix is a new protocol, like Ethereum or bitcoin, and it allows you to build decentralized applications, build your own tokens, build your own coins, build your own assets. So fundamentally it's a decentralized, trustless network. It will be running as a public network, but the main difference between us and what's come before is fundamentally our scalability.

What we really wanted to do was create a protocol that didn't have an upper boundary to how many transactions you could put through it. Because we saw that, if you wanted to create a protocol that everyone could be part of like TCP/IP – the Internet runs on TCP/IP and it doesn't matter how many people are on it, everyone can use it and there's no barrier to entry – we realized that if you wanted to create this new protocol for value, like Ethereum and bitcoin promise, and allow people to programmatically create their own applications on that and serve the world from it, then you couldn't have a barrier to how many transactions you could put through it.

So we do that by changing both how we do the architecture and how we do the consensus. At the moment there are really only two games in town on both sides. In decentralized ledger technology, there is blockchain architecture and directed acyclic graph (DAG) architecture. Some people call it a tangle but it's a DAG. On the other side you have proof of work and you have proof of stake. And you then have delegated proof of work and delegated proof of stake and proof of authority – but they're all basically the same concept.

We realized that if you wanted to make something truly scalable you couldn't start off with a vertical architecture like a DAG, like a blockchain, and make it horizontal. You had to start with a horizontal architecture and a consensus mechanism that worked across that natively, rather than going: Here's a vertical architecture, here's our consensus mechanism on that vertical architecture – now we're going to try and make it horizontal.

Then you get all these problems that you're already seeing. We're trying to shard blockchains and struggle to create this totally unbounded scalability that's really necessary to allow everyone onto the protocol.

You said the main issue is scalability. So how are you tackling that in the way that nobody else is? What is it that you're offering?

We're offering the ability to do many, many more transactions per second. And indeed we do that in an unbounded fashion. So that means that every node that is added to the network increases the total throughput of the network. As you add nodes you add the ability to put more transactions through the network. So we've already started on our live test net and now we're doing 10,000 transactions per second. That's only across ten nodes that are fairly standard, server-based hardware. And as we increase those nodes we can increase the total throughput and we're going to be doing that over the next few months.

So what stage are you at?

We've got a test net up, we are in the process of moving our test code to production code, and we expect to be launching the full public network in either Q2 or Q3 of this year.

And who are your main competitors? Just the existing people or are there other people trying to develop things at the same rate that you are?

That's a really difficult question to answer in the market as it is now because there are a lot of people coming out claiming a lot of things, and actually who will win is a combination of two things. One is better technology but the other is also developer mindshare, and people who want to build on your platform. Our main competitors are people like Ethereum who people know. Developers are building things on it, people are making successful applications on top of it and building ERC 20 tokens. So getting that mindshare is really difficult.

Then on the other side, there are also these new protocols that are coming along claiming this massively higher scalability. You've got people claiming hundreds of thousands, or millions of transactions per second. No one has actually come out and proved their technology yet. Those could be competitors but we don't know if it's safe or whether it's real at this stage, so it's difficult. It's a very noisy market at the moment – it's a lot of fun.

But right now it's just heads down, proving the technology, continuing to deliver it to the community and saying: Look here are actual benchmarks, here is the near future, here's an actual node you can download, and you can run it and try for yourself.

We think that that really is where we're going to win – by demonstrating, continually demonstrating and delivering the technology.

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