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The Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm

Ripple Protocol

December 8, 2020 | 

JOHN K MWANIKI |  0 Comments| 

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The possibility of double-spend is one of the biggest crypto concerns. Its decentralized nature means there is no authority to determine transaction validity. Unscrupulous traders can take advantage and pay more than once using the same link.

Satoshi Nakamoto solved the issue through the proof of work protocols. It involves miners determining nodes to validate transactions. Ethereum uses proof of stake. It also involves miners in the system. 

Even though the validation systems work, they have challenges. The Bitcoin system tends to be a little slow. Ethereum's is at risk of malicious miners. They can decide to generate nodes for their own double-spend

The two main cryptos invest in rewarding miners. It is more like buying their loyalty and honesty. This increased cost of paying the miners translates to the cost of transactions.

All these are what the Ripple protocol seeks to solve.

The Ripple Consensus Algorithm Components

The Ripple protocol looks to provide for an improved transaction platform. It seeks to allow a fast, low-cost decentralized transaction. It solves the three main crypto technical issues; agreement, correctness, and utility.

  • Correctness 

Correctness involves the system differentiating between correct and fraudulent transactions. The centralized financial system relies on the trusts between the institutions. They also use cryptographic signatures to confirm the origin of the transaction.

The distributed ledgers lack such kind of trust. The network does not provide for the identity of any of its members. It thus has to look for a way to ensure correctness.

  • Agreement 

The agreement is all about maintaining a global truth for the decentralized accounting system. Correctness alone cannot stop double-spend from occurring in the system. Some unscrupulous traders can still create several identical transactions unknown to each other. They then use them separately to complete the fraudulent act.

The agreement ensures that only one set of transaction exists and is accepted globally. It is the sure way to a double-spend free system. 

  • Utility 

The utility is all about the usefulness of the system. Even though it is quite abstract, it seeks to make the system latent to the participants. The correctness and agreement are not worthy when they don't come with the use—for example, it's unhelpful when a correct and agreeable transaction takes months to complete.

The utility of the system makes the agreement and correctness applicable. It also reduces the level of computing power needed to achieve the two. 

Only when all the components combine can the system become viable to all the users.

The Ripple Consensus Process

Every system has the possibility of faulty and non-faulty nodes. The non-faulty nodes are honest without any errors. 

The faulty nodes can either be honest or malicious. Any form of corruption affects the status of the nodes. 

The different system nodes status work for a consensus. It operates based on various axioms. The first is that every non-faulty node takes finite time in decision making. Also, all the non-faulty nodes decide on the same value. Still, non-faulty nodes have various values.

The Ripple system has two types of nodes. The tracking nodes collect transactions from clients and send them to the validator. They also communicate the state of the ledger. Validator nodes confirm transactions. They then add them to the ledger after approval. 

The consensus iteration process is the system confirming the validity of the transactions. 

The nodes verify if the account requesting validation can fund the transaction. It must have adequate XRP and trust. 

The pool then broadcasts the candidate transaction to the other node validators. They, in turn, pass it to the pool of the other transactions waiting for verification.

A transaction needs the approval of more than 80% of the chosen validators. After this, they move to the next step of validation. The ones that fail this step go back for another round of consensus.

Validation 

Validation is the next step in the consensus. Every node provides for a hash signature in the updated ledger. 

It then communicates the same to the network. The validation becomes successful if more than 80% of the node hashes are identical. The system discards all the remaining smaller percentage hashes. 

There are also cases when the nodes fail to reach a consensus. This comes from several transactions to choose from or network delay. The system has to repeat the consensus stage in case of such an occurrence. 

The nodes update the ledger after successful validation. They then start working on other transactions. They can look into the earlier rejected ones or the new transaction requests.

Even though the process looks long, it takes an average of 4 seconds to complete. 

Accessing Global Money through the Ripple Protocol 

One of the world's top challenges is access to financial systems. It might not be so big looking at it from a developed world's view. It all changes when it comes to developing countries. Half of the population in such countries cannot access banking services.

The existing financial systems are costly and too onerous for them to use. Without access to finances, nothing much can happen. The population cannot have any access to basic needs like education and health care.

Ripple provides a new reliable way to ensure transactions for the unbanked. The Ripple protocol consensus algorithm is helping establish trust in the financial institutions. The financial trading services are considering having it for money transfer services.

The digital asset has invested in top-notch money transfer. The Ripple protocol consensus algorithm is a secure financial transaction platform. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the crypto leaders, yet they struggle to upstage Ripple

Ripple is becoming a top virtual currency for anyone looking for fast money transfer. It also helps in managing the volatility and scalability issues other blockchains face. The collaboration on the Ripple protocol consensus algorithm works best for it. The nodes do not compete over any resources. 

Bottom Line 

Transaction speeds and security are the major cryptocurrency challenges. Ripple has yet found a way to manage the concerns. The Ripple protocol consensus algorithm relies on nodes to verify transactions. The process involves various nodes reaching a consensus-based on utmost good faith. Whatever happens, they can never support a malicious transaction.

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