By Dr. Andrew Le Gear, Chief Technology Officer of Globex
I face a hostile room of academics and industry heads. I know what’s coming next — it always does.
“But it doesn’t scale, does it?”
How do you answer that? I googled “ethereum transactions per second” and the first article I get is “How will Ethereum Scale?” — not the actual answer, which falls around 15tps, by the way, give or take 5tps when the winds are in your favor.
But maybe, just maybe it already does scale. I don’t answer immediately. I ask,
“Well, what is your use case — what do you want it to scale to?”
“Visa and Mastercard handle 5000tps and can scale to many times that.”
Ah yes — the old credit card use case. Consider myself schooled. Shut down. I should just go home. Blockchain was fun, but no match for the real world.
But the use case is so utterly unfair. We are talking about two of the largest transaction services on the planet. When cloud computing was on the rise a decade ago, it wasn’t dismissed out of hand on the grounds that cloud web applications couldn’t scale to the same traffic figures as YouTube. My car doesn’t scale to 10 passengers, but I can take my family on holidays. There are real use cases for Ethereum 1.0 for which it already scales. I explain this to the room. Another response is quickly fielded,
“We should wait for Ethereum 2.0.”
Another genericism, rendered meaningless by its broadness. As if some deus ex machina would be ready to save us all. But I have won back the room, if only for a moment, to explain myself.
If modern incarnations of digital exchanges of value, embodied by “the blockchain,” are only ten years old, then I think we can happily wait ten more years before it usurps Visa and Mastercard and conquers the world. In the intervening years, what other non-inconsequential battles can Ethereum prevail?
Bitcoin’s killer app is as a replacement for digital currency. Ethereum followed as a killer app for securitization and distribution of fractional ownership of entities. The great ICO bust of 2017 served as a check on the rise of both of these platforms, but the premise remains incredibly strong. ICO thinking has taken a left turn in the past 12 months with a desperately needed refocussing on compliance. As such, new acronyms emerged to replace ICO — TGE, STO, DSO — all intending to reflect how “this time we’re doing it differently” to comply with local and international regulations. Can we now see real adoption of Ethereum for primary issuance and secondary trading thereafter? Can Ethereum 1.0 take on the mighty NYSE or NASDAQ and win?
LOL. Again, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The NASDAQ did 13,000,000~ transactions yesterday — about 10 times that of the purported capacity of Ethereum (15tps gives you about 1,300,000 per day).
But please bear in mind, we have fallen into the same trap again — another Visa and Mastercard use case. NASDAQ and NYSE are the two largest exchanges on the planet, in a country with over a century of citizen participation in investment. The United States invented the whole concept of “disposable income” and has a cultural history of investing in public companies, that to this day is unlike any other nation. And yet with all this momentum, unheard of in world history, market size and volume trail off quickly as we peruse down the United States list of exchanges.
“OTC Markets” is the public home of over 10,000 listed American companies. By contrast, the NASDAQ has only 3,300 listings. Yet, the OTC can only muster 180,000 trades per day — not a technological limit, a demand limit stifled by poor liquidity. This is a problem of liquidity and is ripe for a blockchain technological solution to drive demand. Ethereum could handle 10 times the volumes of the OTC and that is before we begin to consider any Ethereum 2.0 improvements in the near future.
We see an opportunity here for the Ethereum blockchain to make its home and change the world forever.
To connect with Dr. Andrew Le Gear, please visit his LinkedIn. To learn more about Globex’s proprietary blockchain solutions for the primary issuance and secondary trading of digital securities, visit https://www.horizon-globex.com/.