Raiblocks (XRB) has pumped astronomically in the month of December heading into January. Everyone is excited about the next fast, feeless cryptocurrency with high throughput. Why is everyone so excited? Because Bitcoin is slow and expensive with low network capacity. Therefore, we NEED a cryptocurrency that provides us faster and cheaper transactions. We NEED a cryptocurrency that can scale.
The problem is we already have cryptocurrencies that achieve this. Ripple, Stellar, Iota, Bitshares, Steem and many others can achieve exceptionally high throughput with minimal or no fees (you can argue against those individually, but not all of them - the point is others can achieve it). Steem is a great example as it confirms transactions in 3 seconds with no fees and processes over a million transactions per day with little to no issues at all. In other words, not only does it have the solution on paper, but it is implementing it too. Yet it is half the size of Raiblocks. There are many other examples too.
Andreas Antonopoulos, one of the greatest minds on Bitcoin, cleverly said that "in order to have scaling problems, you first need to have scale." Which, Raiblocks isn't close to achieving yet. But I don't even need this argument because I think EVEN if the block lattice works perfectly under stress, it won't ever be placed under stress. In other words, it won't be adopted. Why?
Well this is where things get more controversial - Because I don't view scalability as the number one issue facing cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin was practically free to use at one point. Did that cause everyone to come running? 10 minute blocks stopped them you say? What about all the cryptocurrencies with block speeds in the single digit seconds? Are we all running to them?
The number one issue facing cryptocurrencies now is not scalability - time will fix that issue, guaranteed. It is the natural evolution of technology to fix such technical issues. No, the major issue facing cryptocurrencies right now is that they are generally INFERIOR to the relative centralized solution, which prevents adoption. Why use Bitcoin when you have Paypal or Square? Consumer protections, comfort, more businesses accept it, and your friends actually know what it is.
Cryptocurrencies suffer due to poor user interfaces, a lack of public understanding, few businesses accepting them and applications that look like they came straight out of the 1990s. Until cryptocurrencies become comparable to their relevant centralized competitor to the laymen person, they will always be stuck in niche use cases - period.
Some people speculate Raiblocks will become the next major cross-cryptocurrency pairing over Bitcoin. If speed were the concern, why isn't Ether used for more cross-currency pairing than Bitcoin? I'll tell you why - because speed simply does not matter outside of transfers between exchanges. Once inside an exchange, all trades are settled internally.
This means you could have a cryptocurrency with 10 hour blocks and it would settle as quick as an instanteneous cryptocurrency once inside an exchange. Furthermore, for a cryptocurrency to take over Bitcoin for purchasing altcoins, it would need fiat onramps. Raiblocks isn't even on any major exchanges yet outside of Binance soon. If Ripple isn't on GDAX yet, good luck getting Raiblocks there.
The long and the short of it is this: Speed isn't everything. Stop being distracted by what is possible and think more about simply what IS. If Apple hasn't proven to you yet that superior tech isn't what matters, then I don't know what will. Happy speculating everyone.
P.S: I have nothing against Raiblocks and the team itself, more the speculative frenzy surrounding it.