Ethereum Scalability: Sharding Explained
The biggest challenge we have with blockchains nowadays is scalability. But why? Well, that’s because it’s hard to improve this area without crippling other aspects, namely security and decentralization. To overcome such a challenge, the great minds behind Ethereum decided to borrow a popular concept from other computer science fields: sharding.
As I’ve briefly explained in a previous post, sharding is a partitioning technique used to distribute data across multiple partitions to spread the load. But how can this architecture be implemented in a system like a blockchain? The Ethereum way to do so is to create new interconnected chains, called shards, that will help to balance the load and avoid network congestion.
The current problem with most blockchains is that they sequentially process transactions, and each node has to keep the entire state of the network. Shards, by contrast, validate transactions in parallel and only retain a portion of the blockchain state. This execution model enables the system to increase its TPS (transactions per second) count.
Ultimately, sharding strikes a good balance between scalability and decentralization. It also aims to lower the hardware requirements to run a validator node. All of this opens up new possibilities, enabling anyone to become a node of the network on a budget, even using systems with lower computational power like laptops and phones!
Are you excited about the future of Ethereum? Let me know in the comments below!