Free Transactions Invite Systemic Attacks on Blockchains, Researchers Find

The problem with paying gas to run transactions is that it discourages lots of transactions. The advantage of paying gas to run transactions, though, is that it discourages lots of transactions. This contradiction is captured well in a new paper examining transactions on EOS, Tezos and XRP Ledger (XRPL) over a seven-month period ending in April. Researchers from Imperial College London and University College London found the overwhelming number of transactions on these three networks either have no value attached or are passing it back and forth within one entity. Titled “Revisiting Transactional Statistics of High-scalability Blockchain,” by Daniel Perez, Jiahua Xu and Benjamin Livshits, the report explains these findings in detail. “Our analysis reveals that only a small fraction of the transactions are used for value transfer purposes,” the authors write. “In particular, 96% of the transactions on EOSIO were triggered by the airdrop of a currently valueless token; on Tezos, 76% of throughput was used for maintaining consensus; and over 94% of transactions on XRPL carried no economic value.” The authors’ latest version came out Wednesday, following up on two prior versions, with this one including several more months of data. It immediately sparked discussion, with its findings that high-throughput blockchains don’t necessarily have a lot of payment activity. Read More...

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