​Red Belly Blockchain shows scale with global trial on AWS cloud

CSIRO's Data61 and the University of Sydney say the first international trial of its Red Belly Blockchain has shown increased speed and energy efficiencies at a global scale.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) Data61 and the Concurrent Systems Research Group at the University of Sydney (USyd) have announced a successful large-scale experiment of blockchain technology using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.

For the experiment, Red Belly Blockchain, touted previously by USyd as outperforming Visa for worldwide payments, was deployed on 1,000 virtual machines across 14 of 18 AWS regions, including North America, South America, Asia Pacific (Sydney), and Europe.

Data61 said a benchmark was set by sending 30,000 transactions per second from different geographic regions, demonstrating an average transaction latency of three seconds, with 1,000 replicas.

According to Data61, Red Belly Blockchain has solved the issues plaguing previous blockchain systems, such as environmental impact from significant energy use; double spending, where an individual spends money twice by initiating more than one transaction; and throughput, which the innovation arm explains refers to how many units of information can be processed in a short amount of time.

"Real-world applications of blockchain have been struggling to get off the ground due to issues with energy consumption and complexities induced by the proof of work," senior researcher at Data61 and head of the Concurrent Systems Research Group Dr Vincent Gramoli said.

"The deployment of Red Belly Blockchain on AWS shows the unique scalability and strength of the next-generation ledger technology in a global context."

Red Belly Blockchain was announced in July last year, with the university believing its solution has the potential to revolutionise the global economy.

According to the organisation, the Red Belly Blockchain differs from other blockchains as it is underpinned by a unique algorithm and offers performance that scales without an equivalent increase in electricity consumption.

"The experiment highlights Red Belly Blockchain's scalability while retaining fast transaction speeds and high security, making it ideal for faster processing of financial transactions and microgrids that use peer-to-peer trading to transform the energy sector," Data61 said in a statement on Tuesday.

Data61 had last month announced partnering with law firm Herbert Smith Freehills and tech giant IBM to build a blockchain-based smart legal contracts network.

According to Data61, the Australian National Blockchain (ANB) will enable organisations to digitally manage the lifecycle of a contract, from negotiation through to signing, and continuing over the term of the agreement.

The service, built on the IBM Blockchain, will provide organisations with the ability to use blockchain-based smart contracts to trigger business processes and events, and businesses on the network will be able to use digitised contracts, exchange data, and confirm the authenticity and status of legal contracts.

Speaking at D61+ LIVE in Brisbane last week, Data61 CEO Adrian Turner shared his concern that Australia is lagging its global peers when it comes to innovation.

Seven of the top 10 global companies by market cap are platform companies, but Data61 under the guidance of Turner is looking to a future where a distributed business model has the potential to dethrone the kings.

Turner said during his keynote on Tuesday that Data61 is questioning the algorithm behind a successful business model, and whether a platform model can evolve into one that boasts a more distributed, federated value chain where more than one entity is participating.

"We think we're heading towards a new class of entity that we're calling industry utilities -- shared infrastructure, data cooperatives, open standards-based with more participants in the value chain benefiting," he explained.

Turner is keen to explore whether this model is potentially a new way for the country to accelerate in innovation.

Red Belly Blockchain is a graduate from ON Prime, CSIRO's Pre-accelerator program, which aided in providing early business model development for the startup.


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