Meet the new protocol, same as the old protocol...

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Ryan Fugger

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Oct 7, 2015, 10:09:41 PM10/7/15
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Ripple (formerly Ripple Labs) has put out a new protocol design called Interledger Protocol that closely resembles the old protocol designs involving a two-phase commit with transaction registries for atomic transactions -- no XRP required.  Whitepaper is here.  Interesting reading for anyone who contributed to the old design discussions.

Old protocol designs are still here.

Giovanni P

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Oct 7, 2015, 11:09:34 PM10/7/15
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That's nice. Haven't read anything yet, but they seen to have explained all the difficulties faced by the old protocol developers in a simple landing page.

But why are they doing this? They aren't even saying they are from Ripple (Labs), and how will they profit from it if there is no XRP?
Questions to be answered in the next chapter. For now, I'm starting to like these people again.

On Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 11:09 PM, Ryan Fugger <a...@ryanfugger.com> wrote:
Ripple (formerly Ripple Labs) has put out a new protocol design called Interledger Protocol that closely resembles the old protocol designs involving a two-phase commit with transaction registries for atomic transactions -- no XRP required.  Whitepaper is here.  Interesting reading for anyone who contributed to the old design discussions.

Old protocol designs are still here.

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Ryan Fugger

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Oct 7, 2015, 11:26:43 PM10/7/15
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On Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 11:09 PM, Giovanni P <fia...@gmail.com> wrote:
But why are they doing this? They aren't even saying they are from Ripple (Labs), and how will they profit from it if there is no XRP?

The Ripple XRP ledger network isn't going anywhere -- Ripple is offering banks a couple new software products based on their existing network.  I think there's a growing acknowledgement that there will not be a single ledger to rule them all, and that payments across ledgers allows the blockchain/decentralized ledger concept to take off, increasing the value of the XRP network, Bitcoin, etc.  Hopefully ILP is an open enough effort that it can be standardized and benefit everyone, rather than favouring holders of specific tokens.

Giovanni Parra

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Dec 2, 2015, 9:25:27 PM12/2/15
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Ryan, have you read this thing? What do you think?

It is really like the old protocol, or at least it shares the same problems and doesn't propose any revolutionary solution to any of them. The interesting part, however, is that it abstracts away the "intraledger" problems that the Old Ripple protocol was trying to solve -- the commit problem -- by assuming there are many different ledgers and each one of them can deal with these issues internally.

I really liked  this abstraction (note that I am saying "I like it", not that I have any proof or 100% confidence that it will actually work), because it deals well with the idea I've had for a time, that perhaps a fully decentralized Ripple ecosystem and protocol would not be needed, but instead there could be many centralized ledgers (i.e., many Ripplepays) and, if they were successful enough, they would somehow find a way to make interledger payments (I didn't use the term "ledger", though).

The "somehow" part is tricky, but I've always assumed a certain amount of trust between ledgers (not between participants) could exist and that would not be a big problem if we reached a state in which there were many ledgers and these ledgers were big enough to be trustworthy (which is perhaps a little bigger than Mt.Gox).

The ILP, however, tries to do more: it tries to achive interledger payments between ledgers that do not even know about the ILP, requiring only that these ledgers provide an internal escrow system and that a connector is willing to act as a bridge between two ledgers. This is interesting and would work in a world of many ripplepays, but then the problem of the commit appears again, in the same shape as before. And they pretend they have solved it by two methods, AFAIK both already (somehow) discussed in the Ripple old protocol discussions and both imperfect: (1) notaries coordinating the commit, which seems to me like a poor solution, even though they came up with a Byzantine Fault Tolerance argument, that doesn't hold well against organized attackers; (2) backwards execution of transactions, which is perhaps better, because it assumes the escrows will guarantee the payment and the participants have the correct incentives to proceed with the transaction (namely: if they don't, they lose money), but there's always the problem of timeouts, honest participants losing money because of software problems in the middle of the transaction, and ledgers having to adhere to a specific escrow protocol (not so specific, but indeed an automated releasing of escrow funds based on cryptographic signatures, I can't imagine a normal bank doing this, for example).

Sorry for the previous paragraph, I was trying to organize my mind.

My (provisory) conclusion is: since the Interledger Protocol already assumes a lot of trust and is still complex and fallible, maybe, for people interested in the Old Ripple way, it is better to build many ripplepays, see if they grow, and then use trust to coordinate payments between ripplepays. The "use trust" part I'm referring to would be to use the same protocol specified in the ILP paper, but with each ripplepay server involved in an interledger transaction acting as the notaries and escrow at the same time, so eliminating a lot of the complexities.

I would like to know if this ILP is being read by many people and if someone is thinking about implementing it somehow outside of New Ripple, or if there are criticism or praise to it somewhere on the internet.

Ryan Fugger

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Dec 8, 2015, 1:46:31 PM12/8/15
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Hi Giovanni.  Thanks for your comments.  I really like ILP.  I'm interested to know more about why you think ILP's atomic mode involving notaries wouldn't hold up well against organized attackers...?  In my opinion, the difficulties of this kind of protocol arise more in the tradeoffs between routing efficiency and transaction privacy.  ILP is a good modular design for a base transaction layer which can support many different kinds of potential routing systems.

Giovanni P

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Jun 17, 2016, 9:25:26 PM6/17/16
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Ryan, I'm sorry. It's been a year. I don't remember what I thought about that anymore, but I'm not well-versed in these subjects, so my comments weren't going to be valuable in any sense.

Every once in a while I stop to read and see (they have videos and demos now) more about ILP and more I think it is just the same protocol you were developing as the old-ripple. I want to ask you what do you think is actually different there.

Also, I'm thinking about writing a kind of Ripplepay clone (as I started some time ago) that manages simple person-to-person debt in a centralized way but talks ILP to the rest of the world. I want your blessing.

Ryan Fugger

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Jun 17, 2016, 9:26:45 PM6/17/16
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Sounds great :)

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