Large banks of cheap, fast, non-volatile, energy efficient, scalable solid-state memories are an increasingly essential component for today's data intensive computing. Conductive-bridge random access memory (CBRAM)-which involves voltage driven formation and dissolution of Cu or Ag filaments in a Cu (or Ag) anode/dielectric (HfO2 or Al2O3)/inert cathode device-possesses the necessary attributes to fit the requirements. Cu and Ag are, however, fast diffusers and known contaminants in silicon microelectronics. Herein, employing a criterion for electrode metal selection applicable to cationic filamentary devices and using first principles calculations for estimating diffusion barriers in HfO2, we identify tin (Sn) as a rational, silicon CMOS compatible replacement for Cu and Ag anodes in CBRAM devices. We then experimentally fabricate Sn based CBRAM devices and demonstrate very fast, steep-slope memory switching as well as threshold switching, comparable to Cu or Ag based devices. Furthermore, time evolution of the cationic filament formation along with the switching mechanism is discussed based on time domain measurements (I vs. t) carried out under constant voltage stress. The time to threshold is shown to be a function of both the voltage stress (Vstress) as well as the initial leakage current (I0) through the device. © 2018 The Royal Society of Chemistry.