Impenetrable Consensus

Mar 12, 2019

Cloppety cloppety cloppety.. The hooves of the single war-dressed negotiator’s horse clopped across the dusty field, leaving behind the small infantry of UNL validators protecting castle XRP, and approaching the legions of mighty enemy warrior horsemen lined up in attack formation just a short distance away

“Clear a path!” their Chinese leader screamed, and the wall of armor split to allow the negotiator clear passage.

The negotiator approaches, dismounts, and kneels before the mighty Chinese leader and says, “Oh mighty Chinese leader, we do not wish to engage you in battle, for that would be a tremendous loss”

The Chinese leader laughed, as did most of the men, “So then, your XRP validators aren’t even going to fight? I’m disappointed, though I can understand why. You’re so incredibly outnumbered, it would be a slaughter. Please do tell your king Ripple that we accept his surrender”


Nobody was sure where that disrespectful mocking spittle sound came from at first, but the negotiator couldn’t contain himself and started snickering.. “I’m sorry I’m sorry… (grabs hankie)...I’m allergic to morons, makes me laugh uncontrollably… (blows nose)... wooo! Man, needed that. No, what I was trying to say is (stands up).. that it would be a tremendous loss for ‘you’ douchebags, ha ha”

“Wh..what?!” yelled the Chinese leader. “Do you not know I am the most powerful government on Earth?!! Did you not see me crush Bitcoin into oblivion with my mighty 51% attack formation that nobody believed would or could happen?! How dare you call me a douchebag! If I didn’t need you to send a message of terror to your king Ripple, I’d double-spend your ass!”

The negotiator, still smiling, replied, “ok, ok, you’re right, no need for name-calling, I apologize. What message shall I convey to my king?”, as he starts mounting his horse.

“Tell him that..”

“Well, nice chatting with y’all...douchebags”, and the negotiator blasts off back to the validator infantry.

As he approached castle XRP and the validator infantry protecting her, the defensive line splits, and he approached king Ripple.

“Sire, they didn’t want to surrender. Shall we take defensive positions?”

King Ripple was a majestic super-alpha creature. 7 feet tall, laden with gold and diamonds, muscles in places most people don’t have places. XRP pouring out of every pocket, smelling like the inside of a lambo. The kind of guy you hope your girlfriend never sees. Ever.

King Ripple laughed heartily from up there, “lol..well, nobody ever said they were a smart bunch..” He takes a look at the faithful infantry of trusted validators he personally hand-picked. He always knew this time would come, the time he’d be tested; his leadership, his cunning, his hair-gel. He was an awesome warrior, bred from royalty, trained in battle since the day he took his first step. He was born to be king, born to rule, the center of the known universe! And as his still-bragging head bounced off the ground, the validators all screamed in horror as the king’s now headless body collapsed.

Embedded in the castle wall just behind where king Ripple was pontificating was a glowing-hot blood-covered sawblade, with the word, “Centralized” scrawled all over it.

A few hundred yards away, the enemy legions erupted into laughter. Seems like that was a quick win right? They killed king Ripple, and now there’s nobody to lead the centralized XRP castle.

The XRP validators looked at each other, no longer panicked, not remotely hesitating. They planned for this their whole lives. They knew what to do. They quickly wrote each other’s names on their shields, and within minutes, every validator was publishing the trusted UNL. Any changes to the UNL now and in the future would have to be approved by the majority of the validators on the UNL. They drew into defense formation, surrounding the XRP castle. Hoo-raa!

The Chinese leader, witnessing the rapid recovery of the XRP infantry says to his war chief, “Well...I didn’t see that coming. What the fuck just happened here? I thought our spies determined that XRP was centralized and depended upon Ripple to continue working?”

The war chief replied fearfully, “Unknown sire, the intel was the highest quality, sourced from multiple Bitcoin maxis that know everything”

“Well, apparently they DON’T know everything! How is it possible so many highly-trained experts in Bitcoin have absolutely no idea what they're talking about with XRP??!” The Chinese leader pauses to collect himself, muttering “morons”, “fucking tools”.

The Chinese leader refocuses.. “OK, Let’s stick to basics gentlemen. Remember how we brought down Bitcoin by being the majority vote? We easily outnumber these XRP validators 1000-fold. This should be a cake-walk! SYBIL ATTACK FORMATION!!!! GO GO GO GO!!”

Instantly the air fills with the thunder of a thousand war horses bearing down on the XRP infantry, crashing into the XRP infantry’s UNL shields, with a thousand douchebags all harassing each validator, screaming at them, “I’M A REAL VALIDATOR, I OWN TONS OF XRP, GIVE ME MY XRP!!”.

The infantry just laughs. Protected within their bubble of UNL shields, whenever a douchebag tried to penetrate the infantry’s circle, the validators would look at their UNL shields to see if that douchebag was listed on the UNL, and if not, simply flipped them away. Impenetrable.

The assault lasted for days, and weeks, and not once, not a single douchebag, was able to penetrate the XRP infantry to compromise the XRP castle.

The Chinese leader, getting frustrated, called off the assault, drawing his douchebags back to regroup. He says to his war chief, “How is this possible? We outnumber them by the hundreds, and yet they just ignore us like we’re not even there?? Bitcoin couldn’t do this”

“I’m sorry sire” says the war chief. “They have those damn UNL shields, and unless we get on that list, they’re just going to ignore all of us. It doesn’t even matter how many of us there are. It's almost as if... their security doesn't rely upon large numbers of validators...hmmm”

“Incredible”, admits the Chinese leader. “An immunity to Sybil attacks..outstanding. BUT, what is a strength, can also be their weakness, right? We need to get on that UNL list! I noticed that a couple of their validators are Chinese! Bring them to me!”

A handful of douchebags sneak over to the XRP infantry, locate the Chinese validators, and drag them kicking and screaming back over enemy lines. Now facing the Chinese leader, the leader says to them, “I order you to put us on your UNL shield! You must add enough douchebags to your UNL that we can control and steal from the XRP castle!”

Terrified, the Chinese validators write dozens of douchebags names on their UNL shields, and then quietly slip back to the XRP castle and nonchalantly join the rest of the infantry.

The Chinese leader orders, “ok, it’s time to attack, now that we have our trojan horse in place”

Dozens of douchebags sneak over to the XRP infantry and slip into the XRP infantry lineup. The first douchebag says to the XRP infantry, “Hey, so-and-so transferred a ton of XRP to me, so everyone update your balances please. Also, there’s some other transaction you guys are trying to reach consensus on, and I don’t like it so I’d like to censor it please”.

Puzzled looks everywhere.

The nearest validator says, “umm, who are you exactly?”.

Douchebag says, “why, I’m a trusted validator! Look at the Chinese validators’ UNL shields, proof is right there!”

Nearest validator says, “Well, nobody told me about this”. He looks around at the other trusted validators he knows from his UNL shield, “Hey guys, anybody else here know about this new guy, or any of these others showing up in the Chinese UNLs?” No, Nope, Nada… “Sorry bud, I don’t know you, my boys don’t know you. I don’t care if you’ve got a friend or two in our group, they can trust you all they want, but you ain’t moving or censoring any XRP unless we all feel good about you, which we don’t, so best all y’all head right on home now”, and then delivered a solid boot to their douchey faces, and even kicked the Chinese validators out of the infantry, wiping their names off their UNL shields.

Dejected, the douchebags return to the Chinese leader. “What happened??” the leader cried.

“We were rejected because the super-majority of 80% didn’t trust us, even though we were on a couple UNLs”

The Chinese leader is livid! It’s simply maddening that he cannot break into the XRP castle no matter what devious tricks he tries. He comes to the realization that the only way to get past the defences is to earn their trust, and that takes time, lots of it.

Over the next few years, the UNL grows to a few thousand validators, all thoroughly vetted through a careful selection process that all validators participate in. But despite the validators’ best attempt to weed out potentially bad actors, the Chinese leader manages to plant enough spies that become trusted validators, and eventually his spies represent 21% of the UNL, therefore it won’t be possible for 80% of validators to deny his requests. The leader orders the sleeper validators to wake up and start stealing from the XRP castle.

But to everyone’s surprise, everything stops. The validators can no longer move XRP. Frantic, each validator starts reviewing the transaction log to see why the minimum consensus of 80% agreement can’t be reached, and they all quickly discover that it’s because of the sleeper validators! Their illegal transactions simply jump out as obviously wrong, allowing easy identification of the malicious validators.

“Why you little bastards!!”, shouted the REAL validators, and several boots to the face later, and many shields a-cleaning, all the malicious sleeper validators are out of the infantry, and business is back to usual. 5 minutes down time, no loss of XRP. Quite the waste of years of malicious effort for...nothing at all.

The Chinese leader, now getting old, finally understands the impenetrable fortress he is facing, how extreme the circumstances are required to be to gain control of the XRP castle. It is nothing like Bitcoin, much more secure. He remembers how people used to praise Bitcoin up and down about how secure it was because it would be simply impossible to shut down every bitcoin node. Stupid blind maxis. All he had to do was order the 4 Chinese mining pools to double-spend attack Bitcoin, and it was over in an hour; complete loss of faith in Bitcoin’s ‘store of value’. Bitcoin’s value is now near zero. Enjoy your unstoppable worthless Bitcoins, fuckers.

XRP is different though, it doesn’t have any back doors, or cracks in the armor, or centralized point of failure, XRP is for real. But the Chinese leader is wiser now. He decides brute force is no longer the answer, he now employs brain power; hackers to be exact.

He assembles the greatest crack team of hackers in the country, and tells them, “Team, we need to compromise at least 80% of these XRP validators in order to have indisputable control over the XRP ledger”. They start working, and after a while, they get some results.

“Sire, after 6 months we managed to gain access to 4 validators and implant a sleeper virus”.

The Chinese leader screamed, “Only 4??!!! We need a LOT more!!”

“I’m sorry sir, it was 6 at the peak, but each validator is its own complete network, own IT department, different hardware, different firewalls, different security measures, different language”, etc., These aren’t your run-of-the-mill home PCs sitting on a cheap router. Sadly we’ve been discovered attempting to breach some of the validators and so they’ve shared that information with the rest of the validators and we no longer have access to 2 of them. They’re constantly adapting to our attacks.”

The Chinese leader shakes his head; omg, hacking will never work. Getting so old, depressed, desperate. He’s still got another trick up his sleeve left: global collusion. He picks up his phone, and calls North Korea.

“Kim! Buddy! How’s my favorite leader?.... Right… Say, listen, I need you to help me bring down your UNL XRP validators…. What? You weren't allowed to have UNL XRP validators?? Ah, ok, wife’s calling, gotta go”

Calls Russia

“Putin! Buddy! How’s my favorite leader?.... Right… Say, listen, I need you to help me bring down your UNL XRP validators…. Yes!! Bro! Knew I could count on you! How many you got??... One!! Fucking One!!.... Jesus… no, no, that’s good. I’ll have my people call your people”

Calls USA. Waits till someone answers. Hangs up on them, snickering, “point for China, bitches”

Calls South America

“! Buddy! How’s my favorite leader?.... Right… Say, listen, I need you to help me bring down your UNL XRP validators…. You what?.. You don’t want to? What do you mean XRP has transformed the world, and why would you want to destroy it? WHY WOULDN’T YOU?!! GAWD!!”, and slams the phone.

Calls Southeast Asia. Calls Australia. Calls Africa. Calls Japan. Country after country he calls, and everyone has the same response:

Go. Fuck. Your. Self.

The Chinese leader now has to confess, there’s no goddam way it will be possible to get enough countries to agree to work together to reach the 80% control of all the globally-dispersed validators! Impossible. There’s just no motivation because all countries are benefiting from the politically-agnostic XRP castle. It's already KYC and AML compliant, so what could possibly be accomplished by taking control of it other than destroying the very thing that makes it successful in the first place: decentralization.

He’s not dead yet though. His last order is if he can’t have the XRP castle under his control, then nobody can have it. Unlike Bitcoin where millions of nodes make it impossible to shut down every computer, XRP validators all have known IP addresses, and thus it’s possible to know the precise location of each of them! All he has to do is drop missiles on all of them and voila! Bye bye XRP Castle

He presses the launch buttons, and moments later, entire blocks are wiped off the face of the Earth. Hundreds to thousands of XRP validator infantry incinerated. XRP wallets around the world are lifeless. The Castle has been destroyed..

(here it comes..)

But wait

What’s this? A Zimbabwe validator’s geographically-disparate TWIN (Backup node) sensed its brother (primary node) went offline, so it went online and started rebuilding the XRP castle?? Another backup validator just popped up online in Amsterdam. There’s yet another one in Nicaragua, New Zealand, Ghana, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Cambodia, Bahamas, Germany, Singapore, the SOUTH M-EFFIN POLE!! (not really)

People all around the world, who a moment ago were confused by their wallet app not showing their balance, said, ah, there it is, and went on about their business, benefitting from the long evolution of strategies that protect against catastrophic physical network attacks

And finally, a complete failure, pathetic, the Chinese leader dies, hating XRP, alone.

Moral of the story: Stop being a maxi douche, XRP is decentralized, indestructible, and will be here long after Bitcoin, long after Ripple, and long after you finally figure this all out.

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