University of Sydney touts Red Belly Blockchain as outperforming Visa

The university claims its blockchain solution can process more than 660,000 transactions per second on 300 machines in a single datacentre, outperforming Visa by more than 10 times.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The University of Sydney (USyd) has announced that its Red Belly Blockchain is capable of processing financial transactions 50 percent faster than first anticipated, noting that its "super fast" speed is outperforming the likes of global giant Visa for worldwide payments.

USyd revealed in July that a team of researchers from the School of Information Technologies was building the new blockchain technology, with the university believing its blockchain solution has the potential to revolutionise the global economy.

Dr Vincent Gramoli, who heads the Concurrent Systems Research Group developing the blockchain, said trials over the past three months have shown 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 datacentre. 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 a statement.

"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."

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology originally conceptualised to facilitate the trading of the bitcoin cryptocurrency. In a nutshell, blockchain allows for the tracking of digital assets so that a level of trust and consensus can be established, and previous transactions agreed upon.

The Red Belly Blockchain -- which is being built in both private and public modes -- was tested across 14 geographical regions, including from Australia to the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Brazil, Japan, India, South Korea, and Singapore. 10 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," Gramoli added.

Gramoli said the next stage for the Red Belly Blockchain is to be made publicly available to all internet users.

In September, Visa said its Future of Commerce team was focusing on understanding the fundamentals of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, noting that the team was exploring ways to advance the science behind the tech and enable the discovery of "real-world" payment use cases.

"We collaborate with top universities and the world's leading blockchain researchers to develop technologies that promise to transform the financial industry in the decade ahead," the company said.

This follows a pilot Visa launched in Europe a year prior that was designed to test how blockchain technology could be used in cross-border money transfers.

Furthering research on blockchain technology is also being undertaken by other local universities, with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) establishing the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub last month, touted by the university as being the world's first research centre focused on the social science of blockchain.

The RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub -- led by professor Jason Potts in the School of Economics, Finance, and Marketing -- is expected to develop an interdisciplinary research team focused on the economic, cultural, and social implications and impacts of blockchain technologies.

The hub will also partner with industry to share research, ensure students are work-ready when they graduate, and provide business solutions and advice; develop and implement policy and industry-relevant measures of the size and impact of the blockchain economy; and engage with government, policymakers, stakeholders, and the public debate on the social and policy impact of blockchain technology.

Blockchain has also caught the attention of Australian corporates, with Telstra announcing previously that it was experimenting with a combination of blockchain and biometric security for its IoT smart home offerings.

Australia's big four banks have also begun blockchain experimentation, with ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and the National Australia Bank all pushing distributed ledger-based initiatives.


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