Ripple CTO, XRP Architect Says the Ledger is “Inherently Decentralized” During AMA Session


AMA Session With Original XRP Architect Calls The Ledger “Inherently Decentralized,” And Mentions Plans To Improve Network

David Schwarz is known for his role as the CTO of Ripple, but he was also one of the original architects to build the XRP ledger. He decided to embark on an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session with The Next Web (THW) in a live interview. Much of the discussion turned to the XRP Ledger itself, along with the potential modifications and the decentralization of the Ripple network.

Each question was posed by users in the THW platform, and one of the first inquiries was in regard to fees on the ledger. User Ankith asked what would happen to the ledger if the average volume of XRP was suddenly increased, since the fees are covered by burning tokens. He further inquired if this meant that XRP is doomed to be completely burned at some point. Schwartz said,

“The fees are automatically set by supply and demand. One would expect a decrease in the supply of XRP due to destruction to reduce what people are willing to pay in fees, which would result in the fees dropping.” Based on the projected usage over the years, Schwartz also said that it is “very unlikely that this will be a significant effect.”

While discussing the decentralization of the network, Schwartz commented,

“Stakeholders can always agree to change system rules as necessary in any decentralized system, but I think worrying about this now is like turning your car’s steering wheel ten miles before a curve.”

One of the big areas that Ripple has been improving with is in the decentralization of their ledger, which has been done with more third-party validators and less of Ripple’s own validators. In fact, in a monumental moment, reports last week showed that Ripple has less than 50% control of their tokens.

Apart from eliminating Ripple validators, User Mr. Silenos asked if Ripple has any other plans to further decentralize the ledger. In response, Schwartz said,

“The XRP Ledger is inherently decentralized because its ultimate governance is the code people choose to run. Anyone who runs a node in any decentralized network is the ultimate arbiter of their node’s behavior, subject only to the limitation that they can only interoperate with nodes with compatible rules.”

He continued though, indicating that they are making progress on the algorithms of the new Byzantine agreements. However, he called the Proof-Of-Work algorithm a

“technological dead end,” in comparison. He discussed the new proposal that Ripple brought to light, which would ensure that censorship is not happening. He said, “We’ve also published a paper on a new agreement algorithm, Cobalt, that can reduce confirmation latency and also provide provable assurance of correct behavior under a broader set of conditions than the current algorithm.”

The limitations of the XRP Ledger were the subject of interest for User Alex Arocho, who wanted to know if there was an issue with bringing in products like Codius. The user also commented that another asset is not really needed for the Ripple mission. Schwartz said,

“We believe that XRP is the best digital asset for payments. There are, however, use cases beyond payments. We expect that this will not be a winner take all outcome but instead a number of digital assets can survive for specific use cases.”

To further elaborate on these points, he explained that Ethereum has the option for “programmable money,” which the XRP Ledger cannot do yet. Right now, IPOs on Ripple’s ledger can only be used as payment. Schwartz said,

“While you can issue IPOs on the XRP Ledger, you only get payment functionality for those assets. While you do get very sophisticated and powerful payment features such as a built-in decentralized exchange and the ability to have payments use multiple paths for reduced cost, you cannot get the programmable behavior. So, I don’t see XRP being the only digital asset any time soon, if ever.”

Schwartz seems to put a lot of faith in the users of cryptocurrency, and the fact that there are other technologies that can still be integrated with Ripple, saying, “We believe that if the technology allows people free choice of payment assets, they’ll pick the one that works best.”

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