XRP Ledger Struggles at 50 TPS: Emergence of Inscriptions Causes Network Issues

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The XRP Ledger recently witnessed the emergence of XRPL inscriptions, resulting in the network struggling at 50 TPS and triggering controversy and questions on scalability.

On Dec. 23, a project dubbed XRP Script surfaced in the XRP community, aiming to introduce inscriptions on the XRP Ledger. A disclosure from the team behind the project suggested that the project would start at ledger 84,789,000, slated for 15:00 on Dec. 23 (UTC).

Emergence of XRPL Inscriptions

The Emergence of XRPL Inscriptions

The project kicked off, resulting in market participants creating masses of “XRP20” inscriptions on the XRPL. They did this by attempting to inscribe arbitrary data on XRP drops, the lowest value of XRP. This was similar to how inscriptions worked on the Bitcoin blockchain by leveraging satoshis.

Upon inscribing the data on XRP drops, they then initiated multiple transactions, each containing just drops of XRP. This led to an overload of the XRP Ledger, a trend observed with other networks that have welcomed inscriptions in recent times.

Due to the inscriptions, data from XRPScan, an XRPL explorer, revealed that daily transactions on the network spiked to 4.11 million on Dec. 26, up from the daily average of 1.2 million. Also, the number of new daily accounts activated grew from the 2,200 average to 20,183. 

Wietse Wind, a Xumm developer and founder of XRPL Labs, commented on the development from a unique point of view. Wietse Wind called attention to the fact that the XRPL was going through a free stress test due to the network overload triggered by the inscriptions.

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Scalability Concerns

The developer confirmed that the network has struggled at a mere 50 transactions per second (TPS), with validators having to take turns in validating transactions. 

Recall that the Ripple development team touted some months back that the most recent experiment saw the XRPL handle 3,400 TPS, up from the previous 1,500 figure.

However, before this experiment, the Ripple CTO David Schwartz had debunked the earlier claims of 1,500 TPS. Schwartz stressed that they have never seen the XRPL handle 1,500 TPS on the live network. He added that the network could accommodate 300 to 500 TPS based on its current configuration.

The XRPL had not seen the need to handle up to 500 TPS, or even 1,500, so the debate on its scalability prowess lingered.

Wind noted that the recent emergence of inscriptions helps to test this ability. Nonetheless, the fact that the network struggled at 50 TPS has raised questions.

Snapshots shared by the Xumm developer showed cases where validators such as Ripple and Arrington Capital were missing on the validation list, leading to validation from 34 out of 35 validators. Some cases saw only 33 validators.

However, Adam, a full-stack developer and CEO of NFT marketplace XRP Cafe, dismissed the claims that the XRPL struggled. Notably, there were no reports of failing transactions or major network issues.

Adam stressed that the only anomaly was a surge in fees due to the mass transactions. According to him, some validators only underperformed due to a lack of necessary infrastructure to handle the new stress.

XRPL Inscriptions: How Feasible?

Nonetheless, the XRPL inscriptions project has also come under fire, as it is not feasible on the network. Unlike the Bitcoin network, the XRPL is not a UTXO blockchain.

Richard Holland, CTO at XRPL Labs, confirmed this, noting that there is no way to differentiate individual XRP drops, as they are fungible, unlike BTC satoshis.

Meanwhile, the XRPL inscriptions project has been discontinued as of press time. The team sent out an emergency announcement, claiming that the project led to a paralysis of the network infrastructure, and they had to discontinue it. 

XRPL Inscriptions Suspended
XRPL Inscriptions Suspended

Despite the discontinuation, some market participants have continued to mint more inscriptions, albeit at a slower rate. 

The team noted that, at full steam, the project accounted for 80% of transactions on the XRP Ledger. As of press time, the XRPL is currently witnessing 23 TPS due to the slowdown in minting. 

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Disclaimer: This content is informational and should not be considered financial advice. The views expressed in this article may include the author’s personal opinions and do not reflect The Crypto Basic’s opinion. Readers are encouraged to do thorough research before making any investment decisions. The Crypto Basic is not responsible for any financial losses.


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