Two days ago, Ethereum’s (ETH) creator, Vitalik Buterin announced that Sharding will be available on the Ethereum platform.
Sharding in blockchain technology, divides the mining network into smaller shards each capable of processing transactions in parallel. Instead of having one single node having to go through the entire transaction history on the Ethereum blockchain, sharding allows distribution of transactions amongst the shards, optimizing the process, and increasing the amount of transactions processed per second as the network grows.
The Ethereum platform is limited to around 7 – 15 transactions per second and this can be disrupted when users flood the network with requests. This then becomes a case similar to when Crypto-kitties flooded the Ethereum network, causing delays and frustration amongst traders. When the Crypto-Kitties were launched back in December, they took up 12% of the transaction volume on the network. This then led to mining prices been increased to allow for the congestion to reduce.
If sharding was available then, the users would not even notice there was congestion on the network.
According to Buterin, the fundamental idea of the current version of Sharding’s proof of concept surrounds the implementation of a proof-of-stake beacon chain or full Casper, that is merged into the main Ethereum blockchain network. He says:
“The basic idea is based on a concept of dependent fork choice rules. First, there is a proof of stake beacon chain (in phase 4, aka full casper, this will just be merged into the main chain), which is tied to the main chain; every beacon chain block must specify a recent main chain block, and that beacon chain block being part of the canonical chain is conditional on the referenced main chain block being part of the canonical main chain.”
Scaling on the Ethereum network has been a topic for concern over the years and as cryptocurrencies and smart contract applications became popular. This then prompted projects such as Zilliqa (ZIL) to propose and use sharding that is written using the new programming language known as Scilla.
This annoucement by Buterin puts Ethereum back into contention of retaining its title as the prefered platform for ICOs and smart contracts. This announcement is particularly strategic and timely, given that other projects such as Zilliqa are tackling the scalability issue effeciently.
Also, projects such as EOS, TRON and Cardano are in the final stages of releasing Main Net versions of their platforms that are all geared at changing the crypto-verse as we know it. EOS has been emphatically declared a potential Etheruem killer with Tron being a very popular project in the crypto-verse with its vision of decentralizing the web. Cardano is also slated as changing the blockchain industry as we know it with its smart contract capability.
All this is exciting news and confirmation that cryptocurrencies are making major moves amidst welcome competition from other projects within the crypto-verse. This means that real life adoption is also accelerating.