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Confessions of a Sharding Skeptic

With ending preparations for the launch of Ethereum 2.0 soon to be underway, CoinDesk’s Christine Kim spoke to Cayman Nava, technical get up to at ChainSafe Systems and Alexey Akhunov, an independent researcher and software developer about the kinks in ETH’s evolution that alleviate need to be worked out.

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This part is sponsored by Crypto.comNexo.io and Elliptic.co.

The Ethereum blockchain processes about three to four times as many doings as Bitcoin. It’s still not enough, however, to meet rising user demand for the cryptocurrency and prevent network congestion.  

See also: DeFi Furor Drives Ethereum Transaction Fees to All-Time Highs

One of the most highly anticipated fixes to Ethereum’s transaction bottleneck and its require of scalability is an ambitious software upgrade called Ethereum 2.0. According to Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, Ethereum 2.0 when one pleases boost network speeds from around 15 transactions per second (TPS) to 100,000 TPS.  

How? The solution is sharding. Cayman Nava, mechanical lead at ChainSafe Systems, explains sharding as “a natural way to break things up.” 

“If you’re wanting to process a lot of data but you don’t want any one defender to be overloaded with that data, you can naturally think of breaking up your problem into smaller pieces,” articulate Nava. These “smaller pieces” Nava is referring to are called shards. In Ethereum 2.0, 64 shards will be framed to break up the transaction load of Ethereum. 

See also: Ethereum 2.0: How It Works and Why It Matters

While sharding sounds capable in theory, there are other Ethereum developers who are skeptical about the benefits of this technique in practice. 

“If I were to block out scaling [for Ethereum], first I would squeeze as much as possible out of Ethereum 1, which I think hasn’t been done yet, and then after that I last wishes a actually introduce sharding logically in order to see whether users would actually be able to use [sharding] effectively,” give the word delivered Alexey Akhunov, an independent researcher and software developer for Ethereum that has been contributing code to the network’s maturation since 2016. 

Sharding logically refers to breaking up data within the same blockchain as opposed to sharding physically, which necessitates the origin of multiple mini-blockchains. As mentioned, Ethereum 2.0 will spawn a physically sharded system of 64 linked databases. Optimizing the communication between shards in this locale, Akhunov goes on to explain, may pose an even greater challenge to network scalability than a transaction bottleneck.  

Nava acquiesce ins there are kinks and holes in the design of Ethereum 2.0 and its sharded system that need to be worked out. But in Nava’s rate, these problems that call for further detailing and research can be delayed in the short term while developers do callisthenics toward an upgrade launch. 

“I think we can delay these harder problems like how sharding should work or what it should look match. That can be pushed off a little bit so we can think about it and get it right. In the near term, we can get a lot of the benefits from the [Ethereum 2.0] draw up that we’ve been doing,” said Nava. 

To download or stream the full podcast episode with Akhunov and Nava you can go toApple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocketcasts, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Stitcher, RadioPublica, iHeartRadio or RSS.. For pioneer access to future CoinDesk Research podcast episodes, be sure to click “subscribe” on these channels. 

For more gen about Ethereum 2.0, you can download the free research report featuring additional developer commentary about the upgrade on the CoinDesk Into Hub. 


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