Ripple CTO and Cyber Capital Founder Debate on XRP Decentralization.
According to Justin Bons, XRP is centralized due to its UNL principle – an argument the CTO of Ripple has vehemently disagreed with.
David Schwartz, the CTO of Ripple, is once again caught in a debate with Justin Bons, the founder and CIO of Amsterdam-based crypto investment firm Cyber Capital. Bons argues that XRP is centralized due to its Unique Node List (UNL) principle – a position Schwartz has vehemently disagreed with.
Justin Bons’ Argument
Bons’ main argument is that the consensus mechanism of XRP is based on Unique Node Lists (UNLs).
1/25) Ripple executives falsely claim that XRP is decentralized & permissionless
This thread finally proves that the Foundation has de facto control over the entire network!
Contrary to their claim that XRP is more decentralized than BTC & ETH
The smoking gun has been found:
— Justin Bons (@Justin_Bons) May 6, 2023
UNLs are lists of trusted validators on the XRP Ledger. Each network participant maintains a list of trusted nodes that it considers reliable and honest. These nodes are responsible for validating transactions and maintaining the integrity of the XRP Ledger.
While there are default sets of trusted nodes (often called dUNL) provided by trusted publishers, such as Ripple, the XRP Ledger Foundation, and Coil, participants are free to choose their own set of validators based on their own criteria for reliability and trustworthiness. As previously reported by The Crypto Basic, the Foundation updated its UNL to 36 validators in March.
Notably, Bons pointed out that nodes not on these UNLs are untrusted and do not participate in the consensus mechanism.
Matt Hamilton, former Principal Developer Advocate at Ripple, Matt disagreed with Bons, noting that each node is responsible for choosing its own UNL without coercion. He maintained that there is no central authority in XRP.
We have been over this many times already.
Each node is responsible for their own UNL. No-one else. They choose the contents of that UNL and if they want to use a UNL published by a 3rd party.
There is no central authority.
— Matt Hamilton (@HammerToe) May 6, 2023
Bons claimed that Hamilton ignored the low tolerance for the lack of UNL overlap. In other words, Bons asserted that if your UNL does not overlap with enough other nodes’ UNLs, you will be “forked off” the network, meaning that your node will not be able to participate in the consensus mechanism.
He argued that there is no point in running a custom UNL list if it forks you off the network. He maintained that XRP’s consensus mechanism is typical of a Proof-of-Authority (PoA) network, where a group of pre-approved nodes are responsible for maintaining the blockchain.
I know that; I even explained that in the thread
Not a counter-argument; you are ignoring the low tolerance for lack of UNL overlap
There is no point in running a custom UNL list if that forks you off the network
That is consistent with a PoA network, not a real cryptocurrency
— Justin Bons (@Justin_Bons) May 7, 2023
Ripple CTO Responds
Schwartz disagreed with Bons, arguing that Bons’ definition of a decentralized network is flawed. Schwartz asks Bons, “You’re arguing that a network is centralized if it cannot somehow force people who want it to be centralized to accept a decentralized network.”
By such definition Ripple CTO says, “No network could ever be decentralized because a decentralized network has no means to coerce people to accept anything they don’t wish to accept, including its decentralization.”
Schwartz further explained that nodes on XRPL rarely disagree on which nodes to trust, as there is little conflict over which transactions should be accepted or who should receive payment. Consequently, honest nodes only need to resolve occasional tie-breaking situations.
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