W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webpayments@w3.org > February 2016

Re: Stellar launches - Ripple-like decentralized ledger

From: Adrian Hope-Bailie <adrian@hopebailie.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2016 16:24:23 +0200
Message-ID: <CA+eFz_KNNvQZcaU9BNbd-m1XNJwR6uXk_z77zjX185O5+4Va2Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: Joseph Potvin <jpotvin@opman.ca>
Cc: Web Payments CG <public-webpayments@w3.org>
When Stefan and Evan first wrote the ILP whitepaper and we decided to find
a place where the protocol could be incubated and developed as an open
standard there was a lot of discussion about where that place should be.

On one hand, I agree with Melvin that the protocol is not low-level,proven
by the fact that it is already implemented successfully at the Web level.

On the other hand, the decision to incubate the protocol in a W3C community
group doesn't mean that the work of group may not result in an IETF RFC or
other standards group spec. The CG structure provided by the W3C is a
healthy place to do this work right now and the W3C the most likely body to
publish any recommendations that are authored by the group.

As we've already discovered, ILP may ultimately have many parts and many
layers and it could be that some of these will be Web standards and some
will be standardized in other more appropriate places. ILP will very likely
result in the development of a number of non-technical standards too.

On 18 February 2016 at 15:36, Joseph Potvin <jpotvin@opman.ca> wrote:

> RE: "Not sure IETF is the right place for it, that's more lower level.
> This is probably better done on the web."
>
> That's precisely my point. I propose that an open, neutral, cross-ledger
> interoperability protocol would most logically exist at a lower-level than
> the Web. Just as SWIFT does. SWIFT is sort of a gated-community part of The
> Internet, to the point that it's more like a parallel special-purpose
> internet. Such an inter-ledger protocol would need to align to the
> architectural premises of The Internet, leaving the intelligence at the
> nodes. It would just ensure that properly structured and validated
> datagrams get delivered intact with great reliability and resilience. An
> intiative like R3 CEV could even provide a gateway between such an open
> interledger protocol, and the SWIFT system.
>
> The role of W3C WP would then be to create the higher level specifications
> upon that foundation.
>
> Joseph Potvin
>
> On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 6:51 AM, Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com
> > wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> On 18 February 2016 at 12:30, Joseph Potvin <jpotvin@opman.ca> wrote:
>>
>>> RE: "an open, neutral, cross-ledger interoperability protocol that the
>>> world can standardize on"
>>>
>>> Why not situate that as an IETF RfC?
>>>
>>
>> Not sure IETF is the right place for it, that's more lower level.  This
>> is probably better done on the web.
>>
>>
>>>
>>> Joseph Potvin
>>>
>>>
>>> On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 5:26 AM, Melvin Carvalho <
>>> melvincarvalho@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On 18 February 2016 at 08:16, Adrian Hope-Bailie <adrian@hopebailie.com
>>>> > wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On 17 February 2016 at 21:00, Melvin Carvalho <
>>>>> melvincarvalho@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On 17 February 2016 at 10:54, Adrian Hope-Bailie <
>>>>>> adrian@hopebailie.com> wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Much has changed since August 2014. This is some context from me in
>>>>>>> my personal capacity.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I now work for Ripple for starters, so I have a far better informed
>>>>>>> opinion on the motivations for "self-mining" (funding the development of
>>>>>>> enterprise grade distributed payments software by 80+ world-class engineers
>>>>>>> for starters) and our relationship with our former co-founder and this
>>>>>>> settlement than I did in August 2014. Let's just say that there are two
>>>>>>> sides to every story and leave it at that.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> In the year and half since this thread began most observers would
>>>>>>> have noticed Ripple's strategy change to be very focused on cross-border
>>>>>>> settlement and distributed financial technology as opposed to last mile
>>>>>>> payments and financial inclusion which appears to be the primary focus of
>>>>>>> Stellar.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I joined Ripple in April 2015 to focus on open payments standards as
>>>>>>> the company had made the strategic decision that these were crucial to
>>>>>>> fixing global payments.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Many misunderstood this to mean Ripple wants to "make the Ripple
>>>>>>> protocol a global standard" whereas the company had long since acknowledged
>>>>>>> the scalability challenges with trying to standardize on a single ledger
>>>>>>> (this was the beginnings of the research that lead to the development of
>>>>>>> the Interledger Protocol).
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Many people are coming to that same conclusion now[1] and my hope is
>>>>>>> that it drives them to support the development of ILP rather than stick
>>>>>>> with their "one ledger to rule them all" mentality but unfortunately the
>>>>>>> fact that ILP was invented by Ripple sometimes counts against it among
>>>>>>> specific communities.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Regarding the linked article "Technical Roadblock may shatter
>>>>>> bitcoin's dreams", are you implying that that bitcoin is the "one ledger to
>>>>>> rule them all" or that something else e.g. ripple, is?  I'll not that this
>>>>>> may also be considered inflammatory by the "haters" that you mention (of
>>>>>> which im not one) :)
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Not at all. My point was that no single distributed ledger will ever
>>>>> handle all of the world's transactions. i.e. The world should not be
>>>>> standardizing on a single ledger but rather on a protocol for
>>>>> interoperability between ledgers.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Got it.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I pointed out about 2-3 years ago on IRC that ripple's ledger would
>>>>>> struggle cope with the volume that was out there in terms of orders,
>>>>>> trades, trust lines and transfers.  That now seems to be the consensus view.
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> I'm not sure that's the consensus view. The Ripple ledger has not
>>>>> struggled with any of the volume it has had to deal with to date. However,
>>>>> Ripple have pursued a strategy of using the Ripple ledger for a very
>>>>> specific purpose (rather than trying to put all of the worlds orders,
>>>>> trades, trust lines and transfers onto it).
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Yes, well transactions are one thing, and orders and markets are a
>>>> whole other realm especially in the world of high frequency trading.
>>>> You'll likely run into a scalability wall if you are on a growth path, so
>>>> this makes sense.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> To deal with the scalability issue that ALL distributed ledgers face
>>>>> Ripple has proposed an open, neutral, cross-ledger interoperability
>>>>> protocol that the world can standardize on.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Yes, love the concept, I think it's on the right lines.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> However, bitcoin itself does not suffer from the same problem,
>>>>>> because it does one thing well, which is payments in a zero trust
>>>>>> environment (ie no built in markets or trading).  Bitcoin is an incredibly
>>>>>> sound ledger protected by a reconstructible transaction history and the
>>>>>> largest distributed computing project on the planet.
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Again, I don't think that's the consensus view. Bitcoin does have
>>>>> scale issues which was exactly the finding of the article I linked to. BUT,
>>>>> that is not to say Bitcoin isn't well suited to dealing with some specific
>>>>> use cases. As you put it, it does one thing well.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> The nice thing about bitcoin is that it hasnt really changed very
>>>> much.  The best thing the devs did was to keep the technology the same.
>>>> Having run a fantasy football forum in the past, the first 'commandment'
>>>> was 'thou shalt not tinker' -- meaning that most people have an insatiable
>>>> urge to change thing, to improve them, when actually often the original
>>>> concept was sound.  Bitcoin is quite sound and robust, there was a (imho
>>>> nefarious) denial of service attack launched on it, by some that were
>>>> possibly interested in its failure, but it withstood that attack.  Bitcoin
>>>> is doing just fine.  It has an inbuilt mechanism to scale, namely the fee
>>>> structure.  As the transactions become more congested (they are not yet at
>>>> capacity) the market for fees kicks in, which are paid in bitcoin.  Bitcoin
>>>> you might say is the currency used to make your payment faster.
>>>>
>>>> Eventually as the block reward keeps halving every 2 years it has to go
>>>> this way anyway.  There's some that want to increase the capacity and some
>>>> that want it to stay the same.  Its contentious because it's a marginal
>>>> decision, and the decision making process becomes highly scrutinized.
>>>> Satoshi predicted exactly this.  IMHO all very healthy.  Bitcoin can become
>>>> the reserve currency of the internet and that's a huge thing that it didnt
>>>> have before ie settlement in money that is widely accepted by merchants.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> There are now a huge variety of architectures and approaches to
>>>>> distributed ledger systems (Bitcoin and Ripple are just two of them) but
>>>>> that doesn't mean they are all in competition.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I've spoken to prominent members of the bitcoin community.  IMHO most
>>>> dont like ripple, tho I wasnt in that camp, I was an early adopter,
>>>> contributed some code and wrote one of the first explorers.
>>>>
>>>> The general feeling was that the ripple ledger was not as sound as
>>>> bitcoin (that's probably true) and that it was competition at a time when
>>>> bitcoin wanted to consolidate (probably also true).  I think the best point
>>>> someone made was that most 'alt' coins didnt offer legitimate innovation
>>>> but were mainly used for speculation, that's about right.  I do feel ripple
>>>> offered innovation, though.
>>>>
>>>> My biggest issue with ripple was technical, and as an explorer author
>>>> my question which no one could answer was whether the ledger was sound, ie
>>>> whether it could be reconstructed from the transactions.  Im unsure it can,
>>>> in which case the balances are somewhat arbitrary.  I'd like to understand
>>>> that better.  This is also something I believe Jed raised.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> If we can accept that different use cases demand different
>>>>> characteristics from their payment system and that different architectures
>>>>> offer different combinations of those desired characteristics then we
>>>>> should also accept that the world will eventually have a great number of
>>>>> different distributed (and centralized) ledger systems all operating in
>>>>> parallel and used for different things.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Agree.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> The Interledger Protocol proposes a way that this world can still be
>>>>> highly interoperable and transactions can span multiple ledgers.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I like the concept here.  Im unsure if ILP is the, to use your phrase,
>>>> "one protocol to rule them all", but im watching the evolution.  I intend
>>>> to implement a number of inter ledger systems, of which ILP is on my list.
>>>> I can then compare what works best.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Anyone that considers standardization work to improve interoperability
>>>>> (like ILP) competitive to their distributed ledger work is clearly taking a
>>>>> position that their ledger will "rule them all". That was the point of many
>>>>> of the comments made in the second article.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Got it.  So I think bitcoin is unique in that it is a robust ledger
>>>> that can act as a central bank for the internet, offer settlement, be
>>>> reconstructed from its transactions, be widely accepted by merchants in a
>>>> zero trust environment.  None of its other competitors are anywhere close
>>>> in comparison, and nothing is remotely on the radar that will challenge it
>>>> at this time.
>>>>
>>>> Communication between ledgers is a great new topic.  But well are we
>>>> not perhaps falling into the "one protocol to rule them all" trap, unless
>>>> that protocol is quite low level, e.g. HTTP.  It's interesting, I look
>>>> forward to the evolution.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> As one of my colleagues once said: "Haters gonna hate." As an
>>>>>>> employee I can confirm that one of the most prized values at Ripple is
>>>>>>> being constructive (as opposed to intentionally disruptive). There are a
>>>>>>> lot of people that believe working with, rather than against, the banks
>>>>>>> pits Ripple as a direct competitor to Bitcoin and other similar
>>>>>>> technologies but that's certainly not how Ripple views the world.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> As has already been pointed[2] out elements of the Bitcoin community
>>>>>>> may have their own reasons for not supporting an open inter-operability
>>>>>>> standard but I don't want to be drawn on that. The good news is that often
>>>>>>> a good explanation if ILP will turn even the most ardent anti-Ripple minds
>>>>>>> to the fact that ILP is a very good idea and deserves their support.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> The development of ILP and the promotion of it as a global, neutral,
>>>>>>> open standard was Ripple's acknowledgement that our ledger will have a
>>>>>>> specific use case but that the world will ultimately be filled with ledgers
>>>>>>> (open, closed, distributed, centralized, etc) that all fulfill a specific
>>>>>>> purpose and that what is required is a way for these to inter-operate.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> In an ideal world there would be representatives from all of the
>>>>>>> major ledger vendors (both commercial and FLOSS, including Stellar) in the
>>>>>>> ILP CG making sure that the protocol evolves in a manner that will ensure
>>>>>>> their ledger is able to easily implement the necessary functions such as
>>>>>>> escrow and crypto-conditions.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> The good news is that we have over 100 attendees already registered
>>>>>>> for the ILP workshop next week (40+ in person) from a huge variety of
>>>>>>> organizations including large silicon valley tech companies, global
>>>>>>> payments companies, banks, blockchain/crypto start-ups, central banks,
>>>>>>> universities and more. Ripple engineers are already assisting other
>>>>>>> organizations to develop their own implementations of ILP so that the
>>>>>>> protocol becomes a true standard and not just a specification published by
>>>>>>> a standards body with a single implementer. ILP is gaining traction and we
>>>>>>> (the ILP community) have an opportunity to be part of something truly
>>>>>>> game-changing.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I sometimes compare ILP and Ripple to SPDY and Google. SPDY/3 was
>>>>>>> adopted as the first draft of HTTP2 with minor changes but not without some
>>>>>>> push-back purely based on the fact that it was developed by Google
>>>>>>> initially who had benefited from having control over a browser and a
>>>>>>> significant server population.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I think what many struggle to reconcile is why a commercial,
>>>>>>> venture-backed entity like Ripple would be promoting something that could
>>>>>>> ultimately be used by its competition. I mean, if ILP is an open standard
>>>>>>> what's stopping other people implementing it and competing with Ripple's
>>>>>>> commercial products? You could ask the same of the browser vendors at the
>>>>>>> W3C. They are all co-operating on the development of open standards because
>>>>>>> they believe they can win customers on their ability to execute. A rising
>>>>>>> tide raises all ships.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Personally, I have been a long time believer in open standards as an
>>>>>>> enabler of better inter-operability in payments. That's why I started
>>>>>>> OpenPayee and subsequently joined the Web Payments CG many years ago.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> It was sheer luck that I crossed paths with Ripple last April just
>>>>>>> when they were looking for someone to advocate for open payments standards
>>>>>>> and they have employed me to do this ever since.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> [1]
>>>>>>> https://www.technologyreview.com/s/600781/technical-roadblock-might-shatter-bitcoin-dreams/
>>>>>>> [2]
>>>>>>> http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-bad-reputation-payments-standards-w3c/
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> On 16 February 2016 at 21:28, Melvin Carvalho <
>>>>>>> melvincarvalho@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> On 1 August 2014 at 16:19, Adrian Hope-Bailie <
>>>>>>>> adrian@hopebailie.com> wrote:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> My theory is that Ripple have realised that they will not get wide
>>>>>>>>> spread support given that their intermediary currency is mostly held by
>>>>>>>>> themselves.
>>>>>>>>> i.e. They invented a network that will make them rich if everyone
>>>>>>>>> starts to use it.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> My hope is that the change of heart is because those involved in
>>>>>>>>> Stellar genuinely want to use the technology for good.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> By the way they don't hide the fact that they have history with
>>>>>>>>> Ripple (see Jed McCaleb's entry on the team page) or their indirect support
>>>>>>>>> of Ripple (see the Bitcoin Program under their mandate).
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> For those that have been following this work, there has been a new
>>>>>>>> development together with an announcement on Jed's blog
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> http://jedmccaleb.com/blog/my-settlement-victory-with-ripple/
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> The Bitcoin program is very interesting reading. (
>>>>>>>>> https://www.stellar.org/about/mandate/#Bitcoin_program)
>>>>>>>>> As I understand it they are encouraging people to buy Bitcoin over
>>>>>>>>> the next 6 months and donate their XRP to charities for the best return on
>>>>>>>>> whatever XRP they had on 24 May.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> On 31 July 2014 21:51, Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>> On 07/31/2014 03:11 PM, John Packel wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> > Not a fork but a new project/company (non-profit, apparently).
>>>>>>>>>> McCaleb
>>>>>>>>>> > was a founder of Ripple's precursor and then left after a
>>>>>>>>>> dispute with
>>>>>>>>>> > the other founders. Several press stories about it last year.
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>> If it's not a fork, then why are all the main contributors to
>>>>>>>>>> Ripple the
>>>>>>>>>> main contributors to Stellar? Look at the frequency and magnitude
>>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> commits by author between stellard and rippled:
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>> https://github.com/stellar/stellard/graphs/contributors
>>>>>>>>>> https://github.com/ripple/rippled/graphs/contributors
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>> I get that the code base is now managed by a non-profit and that
>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> disbursement model is different than Ripple, but other than that,
>>>>>>>>>> it
>>>>>>>>>> looks like it's basically the Ripple protocol (even most of the
>>>>>>>>>> codebase
>>>>>>>>>> is shared).
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>> >From where I sit, and this is just conjecture again, it looks
>>>>>>>>>> like Jed
>>>>>>>>>> (or this new organization) is trying to resolve the long-standing
>>>>>>>>>> "private entities own a significant amount of the pre-mined
>>>>>>>>>> currency"
>>>>>>>>>> criticism.
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>> -- manu
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>>> Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu
>>>>>>>>>> Sporny)
>>>>>>>>>> Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
>>>>>>>>>> blog: High-Stakes Credentials and Web Login
>>>>>>>>>> http://manu.sporny.org/2014/identity-credentials/
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>
Received on Thursday, 18 February 2016 14:24:57 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 19:07:44 UTC