Researchers say Data61-backed blockchain platform delivers scalability, energy efficiency

New test of Red Belly Blockchain on AWS

Researchers say that a test of a blockchain platform developed by the CSIRO’s Data61 division and the University of Sydney’s Concurrent Systems Research Group has demonstrated it can solve some of the problems associated with other distributed ledger-style technologies.

Data61 said it had conducted a test of the ‘Red Belly Blockchain’ platform using 1000 virtual machines across 14 Amazon Web Services regions.

During the test some 30,000 transactions per second were sent from different regions, with an average transaction delay of three seconds with 1000 replicas of the blockchain.

Data61 said the latency was comparable to a 2017 test that involved 260 replicas hosted in a single AWS region and stacks up favourably compared to other blockchain platforms.

Another experiment achieved 660,000 transactions per second across 300 virtual machines in a single AWS Availability Zone.

Unlike Bitcoin, Red Belly Blockchain doesn’t rely on proof of work; Data61 said it is “underpinned by a unique algorithm and offers performance that scales without an equivalent increase in electricity consumption.”

“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,” said Dr Vincent Gramoli, a senior researcher at Data61 and head of Sydney Uni’s Concurrent Systems Research Group.

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

In a paper published earlier this year, PwC blockchain specialist Alex de Vries wrote that he estimated the Bitcoin network consumed at least 2.55 gigawatts of electricity “and potentially 7.67 gigawatts in the future, making it comparable with countries such as Ireland (3.1 gigawatts) and Austria (8.2 gigawatts)”.

Red Belly Blockchain is a graduate from the CSIRO’s ON Prime, pre-accelerator program.

In August, the ‘Australian National Blockchain’ consortium, which brings together Data61, IBM and legal services firm Herbert Smith Freehills, announced it would build a platform allowing businesses to take advantage of ‘smart’ contracts with self-executing clauses.

The consortium said that ANB “will be the first large-scale, publicly available blockchain solution available to businesses of all kinds across Australia, and designed for Australian legal compliance.”

The group is using IBM’s blockchain platform and is aiming to launch a pilot before the end of the year.

ASX Limited, which operates the Australian Securities Exchange, is preparing to roll out a major blockchain-inspired system to replace CHESS and provide post-trade services. ASX is currently working towards a go-live date in March-April 2021.

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Tags Cloudcloud computingCSIROuniversity of sydneyAmazon Web Services (AWS)BlockchainData61distributed ledger technologyRed Belly Blockchain

More about AmazonAmazon Web ServicesAustraliaAustralian Securities ExchangeAWSCSIROFreehillsHerbert Smith FreehillsIBMUniversity of Sydney

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