Research Paper: 98% of XRP Transactions Don’t Result in Value Transfer

Blockchain was branded by many as a way to transfer value, but according to a new report, many top blockchains have failed to hold this characteristic.
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For the longest time, critics of cryptocurrencies have claimed that they don’t transfer value, arguing they’re nothing much more than vehicles for market speculation.

While this isn’t the case for Bitcoin and Ethereum, a research paper published by a number of academics found that transactions on well-known cryptocurrencies are largely non-economic in nature.

The irony is that the cryptocurrencies that exhibited this characteristic of not acting as a medium for economic throughput are based on “high-throughput” blockchains.

Researchers Find Top Blockchains Transactions Don’t Involve Value

Blockchain was branded by many as a way to transfer value, but according to a new report, many top blockchains have failed to hold this characteristic.

The paper, titled “We Know What They’ve Been Put Through: Revisiting High-scalability Blockchain Transaction,” found that three top blockchains — EOS, Tezos, and the XRP Ledger — have only a “small fraction of transactions used for value transfer purposes.”

The paper was written by Daniel Perez of Imperial College London, University College London Centre for Blockchain Technologies research associate Jiahua Xu, and Benjamin Livshits of Imperial College London and Brave Browser.

After compiling extensive data of transactions on the there aforementioned blockchains, making sure to obtain the metadata of each transaction, they found:

95% of the throughput on EOS was used for the airdrop of a valueless token, 82% of transactions on the Tezos blockchain were used to maintain consensus, and that only 2% of transactions on the XRP ledger resulted in value transfer.

Although this is to be somewhat expected as EOS, Tezos, and XRP were not promoted as monetary phenomena by their proponents, the authors found that the transactions on “EOS and XRP” are very reminiscent of “DoS attacks.”

It wasn’t made clear if there is some central party executing such suspicious DoS-like transactions, though this led them to the conclusion:

The bottom line is: the three blockchains studied in this paper demonstrate capacity to carry out high throughput; however, the massive potential of those blockchains has thus far not been fully realized for their intended purposes.

Bitcoin and Ethereum Are Standouts

Although the exact same analysis has not yet been done for Bitcoin and Ethereum, data has shown that these top two cryptocurrencies are largely more monetary than the assets analyzed by the writers of the paper.

As reported by Blockonomi on an earlier date, analysts at crypto data firm Messari found that both Ethereum and Bitcoin both transfer approximately $1.5 billion worth of tokens each and every day.

From transaction logs registered by Twitter bot “Whale Alert,” which tracks top blockchains, much of the value transferred on Bitcoin is from wallet-to-exchange or vice-versa, while Ethereum’s value-transfer metric can be attributed largely to stablecoins traded between exchanges and for DeFi.

For instance, Devin Walsh of Coinfund found on April 17th that the average on-chain volume of Ethereum-based stablecoin DAI is $95 million a day, which he attributed to “DeFi and dapps.”

Ethereum’s monetary prospects have been further corroborated by Adam Cochran, a partner at community-run venture fund Metacartel Ventures and an angel investor.

In his analysis on the top 10,000 Ethereum wallets, he found that 16.2 million ETH is in “active circulation, meaning in the last 90 days it passed through a payment processor, payment gateway or smart contract.” Cochran took this as a sign that “ETH is money.”


I am a writer who has been following the cryptocurrency space since 2013. My insights and interviews have been featured in leading publications in the industry such as LongHash, NewsBTC, and Decrypt. When I am not writing, I work as a team member of the EXODUS division of HTC, a Taiwanese electronics company. I own a small amount of Bitcoin. Contact

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