The XRP Ledger’s “psychological decentralization barrier” has finally been broken. Ripple now runs less than 50% of the validator nodes on the default Unique Node List [UNL] on the XRP Ledger. This, along with the removal of the ability to unilaterally pass decisions, now makes the XRP Ledger decentralized.
The UNL is a feature on the XRP Ledger that allows a list of validators to be consulted for each transaction. Every node on the network can choose its own UNL or conform to the UNL provided by Ripple.
Over the year, Ripple has been sticking to their roadmap of slowly decentralizing the XRP Ledger by adding third-party validators to the default UNL. For every two third-party validators added to the default UNL, Ripple will remove one of theirs.
The process has taken place over the year, as per Ripple’s decentralization strategy. Currently, as Ripple controls 10 of the 21 nodes on the default UNL, they effectively operate only 48% of the validator nodes.
This is notwithstanding that each node on the network can determine the UNL they want to process their transactions, effectively allowing for a measure of decentralization through choice.
The various third-party validators on the ledger include many XRP focused websites, services, and exchanges. First on the recommended UNL is Bithomp, a service that provides tools to explore the XRP Ledger. Some of the other validators on the default UNL are:
- Bitso, a Mexican cryptocurrency exchange which is a part of the xRapid network
- Brex.io, a subsidy of a firm known as Kompany that provides payment solutions
- Coil.com, Ripple’s ex-CTO Stefan Tomas’ company aimed at facilitating micropayments online
- The Rabbit Kick Club, a community dedicated to running an XRP Ledger validator node
- XRP Tip Bot, the validator for the eponymous application for tipping users on Twitter and Reddit created by Wietse Wind
- Telindus Cloud, a cloud and telecom service provider who joined RippleNet in August of last year
- ATTokyo, a data center in Tokyo, Japan
- Flagship Solutions Group, a technology service provider
- Bahnhof, a Swedish internet provider
- WorldLink US, a technology solutions firm that operated globally
This represents the movement of the XRP Ledger towards being decentralized. Moreover, there are 11 third party validator nodes on the UNL currently, leaving only 6 to demonstrate a high degree of decentralization.