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Ethereum Close to Sharding?

September 14, 2018


With Coindesk’s most recent article hinting at a breakthrough in sharding, it seemed like we had finally gotten closer to improving the scaling capability of the Ethereum network.


As you may or may not know, Vlad Zamfir is usually credited as Vitalik Buterin’s right hand man in terms of tirelessly working to increase the efficiency as well as the overall potential of the Ethereum network.


One of the specific projects that he is most closely tied to is working on implementing sharding with Ethereum.


If you do not already know, sharding is a concept that has been around since long before the Blockchain rose to popularity in its current state. In a nutshell, sharding may be defined as a special way to horizontally partition data inside of a database.


In the context of Blockchain technology, it arguably becomes a much more important concept. To quickly recap, because of the way that Ethereum is structured, all nodes are essentially the same and must therefore all validate and hold copies of the Ethereum Blockchain. Because this is true, as user numbers increase quickly and almost exponentially, the network’s consensus method stays the same. Everyone still has to agree on and validate every block, which as the network grows, causes it to experience slow downs. In Ethereum’s case, these are becoming somewhat legendary in the industry.


Due to the fact that all of this is true, Zamfir, Buterin, and others have been working on giving the Ethereum network the ability to shard, which manifests itself in an interesting way on a Blockchain network.


A quote by Buterin actually explains this quite well when he suggests that you can think of Ethereum as a sort of continent now, but if sharding were implemented, then it would function as a series of separate islands. These islands would be effectively like smaller Ethereum’s with the ability to use any of the network’s features as well as validate and store data on their own. The kicker would be that if these islands wanted to connect in some way, then some sort of protocol or something akin to a token bridge would have to be built for them to do so.


Now that the general context of what sharding is, is understood, it is easy to jump back to the current state of the issue. In Coindesk’s most recent piece on the subject, as mentioned above, they hint at a breakthrough being made this week on the subject of sharding. In truth, what occurred is a step in the right direction, which is not quite on the level of a breakthrough but still important.


To explain further, as of today, Coindesk published an article for which they interviewed Zamfir on the current state of sharding with Ethereum. In it, Zamfir revealed that the team that is working on the issue has just reached a proof of concept on one of the core parts of sharding. In effect, what this means is that they basically proved with a reasonable degree of certainty that sharding can be an effective solution with Ethereum.


Now, only one question remains: when will it actually go live?



By: BGN Editorial Staff


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