The Road to Mumbai: Tezos Looks Forward to 1 Million TPS in 2023

With core Tezos developer teams actively working to make 1M+ TPS a reality in 2023, what does that milestone really mean?

The Road to Mumbai: Tezos Looks Forward to 1 Million TPS in 2023
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin / Unsplash

The Tezos blockchain is eyeing 1 million transactions per second in 2023 with new scalability features set to come with the Mumbai upgrade.

Earlier this year, at the 2022 Tez/Dev conference in Paris, several core development teams on Tezos met to collaborate and discuss recent and future development. Among them, core developers from Nomadic Labs and Trillitech announced their plans for a series of upgrades that would bring various new features to Tezos called 'rollups', taking the blockchain's scalability to new levels. One of the stated goals mentioned was increasing Tezos' throughput to 1 million transactions per second (TPS). The milestone was even mentioned by Tezos co-founder, Arthur Breitman, in his keynote speech.

Since then, the Tezos blockchain has seen the Jakarta upgrade, which brought enshrined transaction optimistic rollups, and the pending Lima upgrade finalizes development work towards Smart Rollups, an innovative Layer 2 scaling solution expected to debut in the forthcoming upgrade proposal, called 'Mumbai'. It's via Smart Rollups that Tezos core developers aim to achieve 1M TPS, with a public test of this capability planned for early 2023.

In anticipation, core Tezos developer team Nomadic Labs published an article last month, 'The road to a million TPS (and beyond): Smart rollups are coming' in which they explained why 1M TPS (and beyond) is now within reach.

Smart rollups play a central role in our mission to reach one million transactions per second (TPS) on Tezos, as announced at the TezDev Paris conference earlier this year.
Note that the million TPS goal is one we have set for ourselves for the short term. In the long term, due to the combination of horizontal and vertical scaling, there is virtually no limit to the scaling potential of Tezos rollups. - Nomadic Labs website

This is big news for the Tezos community, especially given that the the Tezos ecosystem is generally allergic to hype, being focused on pure building and innovation. When it comes to Tezos, any hype around new features or announcements tends to come after the fact. So if a potential milestone like 1M TPS is even being talked about, we can be confident that something massive is around the corner.

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TPS & Tezos Evolution

Earlier in 2022, Tezos already upgraded its consensus algorithm allowing for scalability at the level of finality. But with a complete rollup suite, Tezos will now be able to scale throughput TPS. TPS refers to how many Transactions the blockchain protocol is able to process Per Second – it is thus a measurement of throughout that matters for scaling quick transaction speed and improving the overall user experience of web3 on Tezos.

The fact that 1 million TPS is now within reach is a testament to the strength of the blockchain's on-chain governance process, where Tezos constantly evolves through frequent upgrades to meet future needs, without the need for disruptive 'hard forks' along the way.

Why is 1 million TPS Milestone Important?

The 1 million TPS milestone will be important not only for Tezos, but for blockchain technology in general. This is because traditionally, high transaction throughput (TPS) has been difficult for blockchains given the fundamental tradeoff between security and scalability that comes with decentralization.

In order to maintain the security of a blockchain, it is necessary for each node in the network to independently verify each transaction, which can be a time-consuming process. As a result, the more transactions that are happening on the network, the more difficult it becomes for the network to process them all in a timely manner. This can lead to a situation where the network becomes congested, bottlenecked, and transaction throughput (as well as user experience) suffers as a result.

Not only will Tezos' expected 1 million TPS milestone represent an impressive achievement for decentralized blockchains in general, but it's important to realize that this kind of throughput will actually surpass the likes of traditional payment processors like VISA and Mastercard. For comparison, VISA can process something in the range of 24,000 TPS, while Mastercard comes in at around 5,000.

With the capacity for greater numbers of transactions, blockchains are poised for mainstream, mass-market adoption. Many of the biggest complaints from non-technical users in the crypto world center on user experience. Slow transaction times, and overcomplicated, hard to use interfaces, compared to established, traditional financial products and services. But the tide is starting the change. If Tezos can successfully achieve upwards of 1 million TPS, it will make fiat currency giants like VISA look pedestrian in comparison.

What Does 1M TPS Make Possible?

1M+ TPS isn't just a big, impressive-looking number – with this kind of scalability ceiling, it would be possible for the Tezos blockchain to process all of the transactions that currently happen on all of today's payment processors; to host a stock market exchange, or a crypto exchange, or even a social media platform. A blockchain that was able to offer near instant responsiveness could handle the needs of millions of users at once.

In short, with 1 million+ TPS, blockchains could meet or exceed the demands of speed and efficiency currently offered by legacy systems, while boasting better security and all the advantages brought by decentralization.

Beyond 1M TPS – What's Next for Tezos?

On the heels of what has already been a tremendous year for Tezos in 2022, as we look forward to 2023 and 1M+ TPS, what will come next? Faster block times seems certain, but maybe also upgrades to Tenderbake, to achieve decreased finality? Perhaps we will see new features related to privacy and validity proofs (ZK Proofs), and Ethereum Virtual Machine compatibility, making it easier for Ethereum smart contracts and developers to migrate to Tezos?

Whatever is in store for Tezos next year, one thing is for certain: 1M+ TPS is just the beginning, and Tezos will continue to push the boundaries of innovation in blockchain technology.

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