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Web speed

Users can interact with dapps on the Internet Computer (IC) with speeds comparable to traditional web applications. Developers can therefore build a much broader range of fully on-chain dapps without relying on cloud services and risking single points of failure.

Concretely, query (read) calls are answered in ~100 milliseconds, and update (write) calls in ~2 seconds.

How It Works

Read vs Write calls

Common practice in computer science and databases is to separate tasks into read tasks and write tasks. As the former are less 'expensive' in terms of time, categorizing types of calls can substantially help to increase the efficiency of a program. As a blockchain partly acts as a distributed database, it is useful to consider this separation of tasks in this case too. Following this line of thinking, the Internet Computer facilitates two type of transactions, query calls (read-only) and update (write) calls.

As of May 24, 2022, The Internet Computer can handle more than 1 million queries per second and more than 20 thousand update calls per second. This is shown in performance tests

Chain Key Cryptography

The main advantage of using a blockchain or decentralized protocol is that the central point of trust is removed. This advantage comes at a cost; trust is not removed, it's decentralized which means that multiple people (or machines or nodes) need to agree on the 'truth' at a given point in time. For multiple people/nodes to agree, they each sign their version of the truth, and each verify all of the others' signatures.

In most blockchain protocols, this is the large source of inefficiency as verifying many individual signatures can be slow. One of the key innovations of the IC is the introduction of Chain Key (CK) Cryptography which allows IC signatures to be verified with a single public key, hence reducing friction for all types of devices (node machines, laptops, mobile phones) that want to efficiently interact with a blockchain with similar speed and security of Web2, but without the centralization.

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