Radix promises to deliver decentralized finance an upgraded network that will solve all of its current problems. The nascent financial industry expects to capture trillions of dollars in value from centralized and traditional finance once network capabilities catch up to its ambitions, and Radix has recently taken a step toward making this possible with the April 28 launch of the Radix Olympia Betanet. This launch is a crucial milestone in the roadmap towards scalability, security, and composability– the tripartite holy grail DeFi has been looking for.
Betanet’s First Steps on the Road to 1.4 Million TPS
Radix has shown it can deliver incredible speeds. It smashed speed records by validating 1.4 million transactions per second (TPS), and to add some perspective: Ethereum, the blockchain where most DeFi protocols currently operate, tops out at 15 TXS. After years of development and $22.7 million in investment, Radix has begun releasing this technology for public adoption, starting off with its Betanet. Radix will complete a cycle of launches detailed in their roadmap culminating in 2023, when the platform goes fully operational.
April 28’s Betanet launch was the final stage of Radix’s “third drop” in four key milestones on the way to releasing its first public network, Olympia. The Olympia Betanet is best described as a testing ground where 100 carefully selected validators will try and stretch the new network to its breaking point. Additionally, the Betanet includes three pieces of software, some that anyone can play with:
- Desktop wallet – Used for storing, sending, and staking test tokens, will include a faucet for distribution.
- Node + CLI – Used for running the public network and providing endpoints for APIs, the nodes can run as a validator node (limited to the 100 validators chosen to test the Betanet and allows access to the consensus layer, the developer facing engine that drives the system) or a full node. The CLI, or Command Line Interface, configures and controls the node software.
- Explorer website – Used to look behind the scenes and see what’s going on with the network, this can also display addresses and transactions.
Olympia Goes Fully Public
Olympia, a public mainnet named after the site of the first Olympic games, is due to launch at the end of Q2 this financial year. Olympia will take conservative steps forward after the Betanet is erased, and it will operate on a delegated proof of stake (dPOS) and unsharded version of Cerberus, Radix’s consensus protocol. Olympia running on an unsharded Cerberus will allow for 50 TPS, which is three times the current capacity of Ethereum, but still far away from the complexity of 1.4 million TPS promised in the future.
Using an unsharded version of Cerberus at its consensus layer, Olympia will allow for further testing of the security and capabilities of the network before complexities are compounded by higher TPS. At the application layer, Olympia will run Radix Engine v1, geared towards token functionality. Users will be able to use their Radix wallet to hold, send and receive, or stake their tokens in order to help secure the network. Smart contracts and app development will not yet be possible at this stage.
Alexandria Illuminates New Possibilities for Devs
In Q4 of 2021, Radix launches Alexandria, an homage to the lighthouse and wonder of the ancient world. This launch will bring Radix Engine v2 with it, and this engine will be responsible for many of the DeFi-centric features mentioned in Radix’s whitepaper. However, not much will change on the consensus level with Alexandria’s launch, meaning TPS will remain at 50.
However, the application level will see an influx of developer tools including the programming language Scrypto, Scrypto-built Components (Radix’s take on smart contracts), and Blueprints, which act as templates for building Components, so they don’t have to be coded from scratch. Alexandria will not yet offer full functionality to all users, providing developers time and a private space to familiarize themselves with these new tools. Furthermore, a catalog of Blueprints will be made available for use as well.
Babylon and Xi’an: Where Everything Really Takes Off
Launches of Babylon, named after the ancient capital of Mesopotamia, and Xi’an, named after the capital of feudal China, are set for 2022 and 2023, respectively. Few details have been released about these stages in Radix’s roadmap. What we do know is that Babylon, the first giant leap in making the network public, will open full DeFi functionality to all users. Again, the network will be put to test before the hyper-complexity of a fully powered Radix network is set in motion. A year later, Xi’an’s launch promises to crank the system to warp speed and allow for infinite scalability and composability. It would be an understatement to say that the launch of Xi’an in the semi-distant future will bring exciting times for DeFi and everyone involved.
DeFi on Radix: Growth Potential Unleashed
Decentralized finance (DeFi) desperately needs a space where it can thrive and continue to grow. Booming from $1 billion to $65 billion in total locked value (TVL) over the course of just a year, the expansion of DeFi on currently available blockchain technologies has led to frictions such as delayed transaction times and higher than normal costs. These frictions, time and cost are anathema to finance, and any reduction in transaction price naturally leads to renewed spurts in DeFi’s growth.
With a roadmap in place and timely delivery of the Betanet, Radix gives new hope to DeFi on its quest for mass adoption. And with the timely delivery of each stage in this roadmap, Radix pushes the hopes of seeing DeFi’s TVL well beyond the trillion dollar mark.