Results are coming in and we are very excited to provide the first look into the performance of the new PaLa consensus mechanism. Friends, we have a new average TPS that exceeds 4,000 transactions per second!
Innovation is at the heart of the ThunderCore team. As we discussed last week, ThunderCore is in the middle of upgrading its consensus mechanism from Thunderrella to the cutting edge PaLa. Thunderrella already gave us a lightning fast chain, reaching 1,200 transactions per second (TPS). But the new mechanism is going far beyond that–not to mention other technical and design improvements achieved by our upgrade.
Aside from our goal of continuous improvements, we are also responsible and critical in our approach to building our technology. This new benchmark was achieved during multiple stress tests (example in fig. 1) on the upgraded implementation. We will be continuing to test the network, both internally and on the public testnet, in the coming weeks to make sure everything continues to work as expected. We will continue testing the new implementation throughout the week and, if all goes well, plan on switching the testnet (https://testnet-rpc.thundercore.com) to PaLa R1 on Thursday, November 7th, 2019. However, the results of those tests could delay that switch.
Please note, the switch to the new chain will require developers to re-deploy their smart contracts on testnet only, mainnet will not be impacted throughout the entire upgrade process. Please follow our Twitter feed (@ThunderProtocol) or join our telegram group (https://t.me/thunder_official) for regular updates.
TPS has been a key metric for the blockchain industry. In January, Joey Krung, co-chief investment officer at Pantera Capital (a ThunderCore investor) said that “a lack of scalability is holding back cryptocurrency adoption.” He was perfectly on point. Whereas traditional payment mechanisms have clearinghouses and payment providers that provide intermediary services to boost transaction speeds, the peer-to-peer nature of blockchain payments means that each transaction has to be cleared directly. Even with the layers of accelerating intermediaries, PayPal only averages 193 transactions per second and Visa is estimated to be able to handle just over 1,700. This is the speed at which the consumer expects to do business. Blockchain technologies have lagged behind this consumer expectation until this year with Bitcoin only managing 7 transactions per second and Ethereum reaching 15 to 20. Ripple, the blockchain optimized for cross border transactions, manages to get up to 1,500 TPS — but they are still slower than Visa.
ThunderCore, however, is now faster than any of them.
This is exciting news for those developers and businesses looking to adopt or use ThunderCore as their blockchain technology of choice. After all, according to Gartner’s 2019 CIO Survey, 60% of CIOs expect to deploy blockchain technology in some regard in the next three years. With ThunderCore solving the scalability issue and deploying technology that is faster than the accepted consumer brands — we are one step closer to seeing the real benefits of real blockchain technology in the world.
(fig. 1) With a block gas limit of 100M gas units, running on AWS “c5-xlarge” VM instances, we can reliably exceed 4K TPS. We could have produced a higher TPS number by increasing the block gas limit parameter but that would come at a price of increased confirmation time. Since we know our users value both throughput and latency, we will prioritize fine-tuning performance parameters for realistic production settings instead of producing artificial benchmark results.