I am Chief Cryptographer at Ripple and one of the original architects of the XRP Ledger. Since November 2011, I've been working on developing and improving the underlying technologies behind Ripple's blockchain, currently focused on improving decentralization. I am known as “JoelKatz” in many online communities.

Proof: https://twitter.com/JoelKatz/status/968581291128967168

Update: Thanks so much for the great questions. I guess I should go back to work now. Feel free to contact me on Twitter -- I'm pretty much holding an AMA every day.

Comments: 549 • Responses: 16  • Date: 

iLLyNoiZe79 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA David. Just curious, does ripple see any future partnerships with anything other than banks, like retailers? No need for specifics of which ones.

sjoelkatz68 karma

Ripple remains focused on solving the problems with cross-border payments and using XRP to settle them.

XRP and the XRP Ledger are certainly suitable for any number of other uses cases. The code is open source and the network is open for anyone's use. We certainly encourage developers and entrepreneurs to use XRP for applications that can benefit from its high speed, high scalability, low cost, and rich feature set (key rotation, native multisign, decentralized exchange, etcetera).

_mars7566 karma

  1. Due to the global political environment, do you ever wonder or concern yourself how things might politically transpire if a country such as Russia (BRICS) (who has Russian banks becoming disconnected from SWIFT due to sanctions) were to integrate their entire financial system with Ripple technology (ILP/xCurrent) to bypass sanctions?

  2. Are there any smaller, unknown to the majority, blockchain projects that have caught your eye?

  3. Can you share any information on xPool?

sjoelkatz48 karma

I'm hardly on expert on regulatory and compliance issues. Ripple doesn't do business with OFAC-sanctioned entities, or entities owned by them. No matter what technology you use, sanctions are still effective against endpoints in jurisdictions that enforce those sanctions.

I advise Chronicled and they're working on using blockchain technology and zero knowledge proofs to track the authenticity of products. I think we are just starting to understand what blockchains are really good for -- building decentralized systems that solve problems faced by frenemies who have a common problem they all benefit from solving but don't trust each other.

No news on xPool at this time.

Chestbrah9266 karma

Were money gram and western union the two non bank household names you had mentioned at the end of 2017 or have those yet to be released?

sjoelkatz73 karma


Hodor777763 karma

XRP is arguably the fastest consensus algorithm in the space right now. While 1,500 TPS is blazingly fast compared to other crypto networks, are there any plans to, at some point in the future, retool it to go even higher?

sjoelkatz40 karma

We've added escrow and payment channels for off chain scalability. One of the fundamental tradeoffs with decentralized, open networks is that on ledger transactions fundamentally impose costs on others. I'm not sure it's strategically wise to increase the on ledger transaction throughput too much. Already, the vast majority of transactions on the ledger are likely close to zero value -- probably around 1% of the transactions have 99% of the utility.

That said, yes, there is still a lot of work on improving the XRP Ledger's on chain scalability. Ethan MacBrough's work on the consensus mechanism itself is aimed at the fundamental sources of these scalability limitations. https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.07240

fauzimaalouf60 karma

If a XCurrent or XVia client wants to upgrade to XRapid, what would that process look like?

sjoelkatz71 karma

Technically, it's very easy. These pieces are designed to work together.

dgvancity58 karma

Hi David. Ripple has made incredible strides in the past year. What do you see as the biggest challenge for Ripple, and XRP, to overcome in 2018 and beyond?

sjoelkatz67 karma

This has been an amazing year and I think we've made great progress validating XRP's use case within RippleNet. We have the technology, we have the vision, we have the partnerships. The challenge for us is to maintain focus and keep executing. We're right at the point where our full vision is becoming reality.

DutchBeetle51 karma

Hi David, Stefan mentioned (in the interview at Google) that XRP is 'not static' and open for improvement.. Could you elaborate on te possibilities?

sjoelkatz43 karma

Ripple has a team of talented developers working on improving the scalability and reliability of the XRP Ledger. We're also constantly evaluating the ledger's feature set and looking for ways to make the ledger more powerful. We've also seen increased community participation in this open source development effort.

We recently added payment channels and escrow to facilitate off-ledger scalability through protocols like ILP. The check feature will provide greater flexibility in receiving funds.

Because the XRP Ledger has a defined way to introduce features, build a consensus around them, and activate them in a non-disruptive way, it can evolve to incorporate new technologies faster than other systems can.

We're always open to new ideas.

AnotherAvgAsshole50 karma

There's lot of talk re: XLM and XRP. What really sets your company apart? (Or rather XLM and XRP/Stellar and Ripple apart - are both providing different solutions?

Also could you please elaborate on your tie-up with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? How exactly do your solutions help the needy and bridge the gap that we unfortunately face in society (evident even more so in the digital sphere)

sjoelkatz47 karma

I think three things really set XRP apart from any other digital asset. One is the amazing team of dedicated professionals that Ripple has managed to amass to develop an ecosystem around XRP. The other is a focused use case for XRP and a coherent strategy to drive adoption for that use case. Last, the set of real customers finding business value in it. The history of technological innovation around the XRP Ledger speaks for itself.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Mojaloop project is aimed at providing national open source infrastructure for interoperable payment systems. The project uses the interledger protocol (ILP) to create that interoperability. Ripple collaborated with several other vendors and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to put this project together. The thinking is that interoperability lowers cost and enhances reach, making essential services more accessible.

GlasgowRangersNews50 karma

What are the prospects of GooglePay using Ripple's technology in the near future?

sjoelkatz64 karma

I can't comment on potential partnerships. Consumer and merchant payment applications can benefit from RippleNet to make cross-border payments more efficient.

ZERPHED6940 karma

How will Codius help with the usage of XRP?

sjoelkatz48 karma

There are quite a few examples, but I'll share my personal favorite. In the very early days of developing what is now the XRP Ledger, we built a decentralized exchange in. (Currently the largest decentralized exchange with the highest volume. Who knew?) This permits people to hold, pay, and trade arbitrary assets on the XRP Ledger.

So you can hold, say, bitcoin on the XRP Ledger if you want, but some entity has to hold the actual bitcoin. So for assets that are not native to the XRP Ledger that counterparty can become a potential point of failure. Those who wish to use that particular asset have to trust that counterparty. There can be competition among counterparties, but that divides the liquidity.

Codius can act as a generic, trustless counterparty. Such a gateway built on Codius could allow Ethereum, bitcoin, and other digital assets to trade on the XRP Ledger without that risk of counterparty failure.

And, of course, the XRP Ledger has features like XRP autobridging that make it very efficient to provide liquidity to and from XRP for assets that trade on it.

LoboNationGK39 karma

Where do you see XRP in the next 5 years? Do you believe it will be mainly used by financial institutions or do you believe it will become a common form of internet currency?

sjoelkatz46 karma

I don't see fiat currencies going away any time soon. But I do see XRP playing a role as the global settlement asset in the internet of value in the next five years.

lord_of_crypto28 karma

What is the overall sentiment of xRapid beta tests right now? When can we expect the live version & are test partners on track to adopt the live version?

sjoelkatz57 karma

Beta test feedback has been very positive. Cuallix has made public statements expressing their intention to move to production.

therealsoret25 karma

When do you think XRP Ledger and XRP will become fully decentralized? Would it be possible in the future that XRP becomes fully independent and taken forward by the community instead of just the company?

sjoelkatz55 karma

The XRP Ledger is open source and decentralized. Exchanges, institutions, and other users of XRP run the open source software and process independently every transaction.

We're on track for the XRP Ledger to be more decentralized than either bitcoin or Ethereum is now by the end of 2018. The XRP Ledger's distributed agreement technology doesn't have the inherent centralization that proof of work creates.

Ripple has no special powers over the XRP Ledger. We cannot force people to run software that has features or capabilities they don't want.

We welcome community involvement and other uses cases for XRP.

superquantum25 karma

other than xrapid does ripple plan to roll out other products that will utilise xrp? if so, please expand about them and when we can expect them,,thanks

sjoelkatz39 karma

xRapid is our first enterprise product delivering payments bridged by XRP. We announced xRapid just a few months ago and are focused on delivering production volume. We're still very early in what we expect xRapid to do.

mrelieb21 karma

What is Ripple working on as far as Xrapid goes, why is it still in beta?

sjoelkatz53 karma

It has only been a few months since the first working version. When you're handling real money and rapid payments for enterprise customers, the reliability bar is very high. There are a lot of possible exceptional cases and you have to make sure they're handled correctly. There is very little margin for error.

RexIosue19 karma


sjoelkatz47 karma

I don't think the main feature of cryptocurrencies is anonymity. If anything, it's assurance that known rules will be fairly imposed on all participants.

There are parallels with what's happening with the movement of value today with what happened with the movement of information over the past 20 years. There are so many positive use cases that you can't really justify letting the negative ones determine your view -- especially when it's so early in the development of the technology.