Justin Drake, the Ethereum Foundation researcher spoke about Sharding– a much anticipated Ethereum scaling solution and the possibility of it being implemented as early as 2020 during the conference at TechCrunch.
According to reports, Ethereum researchers including Drake and co-creator Vitalik Buterin explained scaling solutions and the future of the project. Also, their specific goals and functions of upcoming new features.
While discussing about scaling Vitalik Buterin said, “There are a lot of people who are sending transactions and want those transactions to get onto the blockchain. The blockchain is popular enough and people are interested enough in using it that they basically have to compete to get those transactions included into the blocks.”
Ethereum Foundation researcher Justin Drake described two current priorities as Casper (the Proof-of-Stake fork) and sharding.
Drake said, “The idea of proof of stake is partly to provide a new superpower to blockchains which is called finality. The other idea of proof of stake is to reduce the cost of consensus.”
PoS initiative and sharding were developed separately. But now since they both share common infrastructure as well as adding beneficial network effects by being implemented together both are being combined.
Drake explained, “With sharding, you have all these different shards and they’re like parallel universes, pretty disconnected from each other and so you want to wait for the shards to be able to communicate with each other and we do that by what we call cross-links or checkpoints.”
He further explained that integrating Casper with sharding strengthened these checkpoints, allowing for increased security and scalability in one design. The new initiative is dubbed as “Ethereum 2.0,” by the team.
Drake revealed, “My expectation is that Casper will come first — possible next year, 2019. Then in sharding we’ve actually broken it down into two big phases. Phase one is actually the data layer, so coming to consensus as to what data is in the shards. Phase two is all about the state, giving meaning to that data and the notion of transaction.”
Drake strongly believes that the sharding phases one and two will come in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
What is Sharding?
Currently, every single node running the Ethereum network has to process every single transaction that goes through the network. This gives the blockchain a high amount of security because of how much validation goes into each block, but at the same time it means that an entire blockchain is only as fast as its individual nodes and not the sum of their parts. Currently, transactions on the EVM are not parallelizable, and every transaction is executed in sequence globally. The scalability problem then has to do with the idea that a blockchain can have at most 2 of these 3 properties:
The entire network will split up into many parts known as shards which contain its own independent piece of state and transaction history Higher amount of transactions are achieved in the same amount of time by allowing nodes to process transactions only for particular shards.
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