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Ethereum Sharding Explained

How Will Ethereum Scale?

How Will Ethereum Scale?

Like other public blockchains, ethereumintends to support as many users as it can. The problem is that, today, we don't really know the limits of theplatform. Because of a hard-coded limit on computation per block, the ethereum blockchain currently supports roughly 15 transactions per second compared to, say, the 45,000 processed by Visa. This limitation of ethereum and other blockchain systems has long been the subject of discussion by developers and academics. While ethereum developers might like to highlight how the flexible smart contract platform differs from bitcoin, for example, it isn't unique in regards to scalability. As disappointing as that might sound, there's hope in proposed solutions that havent made it into the official software yet. Ethereum and bitcoin use a combination of technical tricks and incentives to ensure that they accurately record who owns what without a central authority. The problem is, its tricky to preserve this balance while also growing the number of users (especially to the point where average people can use the system to purchase coffee or run applications). That's because ethereum depends on a network of 'nodes', each of which stores the entire ethereum transaction history and the current 'state'of account balances, contracts and storage. This is obviously a cumbersome task, especially since the total number of transactions is increasing approximately every 1012 seconds with each new block. The worry is that, if developers raise the size of each block to fit more transactions, the data that a node will need to store will grow larger effectively kicking people off the network. If each node grows large enough, only a few large companies will have the resources to run them. Despite the inconvenience, running a full node is the best w Continue reading >>

Blockchain - What Is A Shard? - Ethereum Stack Exchange

Blockchain - What Is A Shard? - Ethereum Stack Exchange

Proof of Stake brings new concepts to the Blockchain ecosystem. In the dictionary "Shard" is defined as "A broken piece or fragment, as of pottery or glass". Shard is a concept not so much related to the Proof-Of-Stake, but rather to the scalability improvement. The idea of 'sharding' is to split the space of possible accounts (contracts are accounts too) into subspaces, for example, based on first digits of their numerical addresses. Each shard gets its own set of validators (therefore PoS is a pre-requisite), and these validators will not normally need to validate all the shards. Messages (transactions) between the accounts within the same shard would work in the same way as they work today. Contracts wishing to communicate across multiple shards will need to employ some special techniques, based on the concept of transaction receipts. The crucial difference between calling a contract directly and verifying the receipts is that for direct call one needs to run the code of the contract you're calling, but for verifying a receipt you only need to be sure that receipt cannot be produced by anything else than the transaction you want. For example, if you want to accept a payment in tokens managed by a different shard, you would generate the payment ID, give it to the payer, ask the payer to pay in the remote shard (with payment ID), and 'bring you back' the receipt. Sharding allows scaling Ethereum further, because not all nodes of the network will have to execute all of the transactions. Here is the DEVCON1 talk given by Vitalik Buterin explaining this: In Ethereum, all miners are working on the same problem at the same time. (This is why people usually say: "Equate the Ethereum computer to a Commodore 64". It takes a lot to keep everything in sync.) My guess is that, w Continue reading >>

Will Vitaliks Sharding Proposal Fix Ethereums Scaling Problems?

Will Vitaliks Sharding Proposal Fix Ethereums Scaling Problems?

Will Vitaliks sharding proposal fix Ethereums scaling problems? Neeraj Murarka is CTO of Bluzelle. A software engineer and computer systems architect with over 20 years expertise in cutting... At Devcon last week, Vitalik Buterin presented a proposal to deal with the massive problem of scaling facing the network as adoption of Ethereum and the smart contracts system it supports gains increasing market share. His modest proposal for Ethereums future was timely and exciting. A problem common to all blockchains, but in particular Ethereum, specifically due to the explosive growth of the ICO market, is that the size of the database underlying the blockchain grows without bounds, and in direct proportion to the number of people using the blockchain. This translates to major overheads and challenges that are getting worse over time for the underlying infrastructure needed to run Ethereum. As a direct result, the Ethereum database has grown over the last few years from being under a gigabyte to tens of gigabytes today and it appears to be growing on an exponential trajectory. This is clearly not sustainable. The key technology Vitalik believes is the solution is sharding, where the data is sharded and the network is partitioned. He explained that sharding the Ethereum blockchain would involve allowing each node to store only a part of the complete network, while the nodes would be able to validate the network through the underlying mathematics and mutual communication. It is interesting to note that sharding is a term borrowed from database technology, which resonates particularly well with the team at Bluzelle, as the Bluzelle database was architected from the get-go to employ three key technologies, one of which is database sharding. Briefly, sharding consists of three step Continue reading >>

The Beginners Guide To Ethereums Roadmap

The Beginners Guide To Ethereums Roadmap

The Beginners Guide to Ethereums Roadmap Ethereums mission is to become a decentralized world computer that replaces server farms. Think of it as a single computer that the whole world can use. It cant be shut down or turned off. As an overview, heres a beginners guide to Ethereum and an explanation of how it technically works . If Ethereum is a computer, then each one of these updates can be looked at as an operating system (OS). Similar to Google launching Android Oreo or Apple launching iOS 10, Ethereum is launching in four stages. Each stage adds new features and improves the user friendliness and security of the platform, while allowing Ethereum to scale. Frontier (July 2015) First live release of the Ethereum network. It allowed developers to experiment, mine Ether, and begin building dApps and tools. Homestead (March 2016) First production release of Ethereum that brought many protocol improvements which lay the foundations to future upgrades and for speeding up transactions. Metropolis (Oct 2017) Lighter, faster and more secure Ethereum broken down into two releases: Byzantium (Oct 2017) and Constantinople (TBA) Serenity (TBA) Will bring us the long-awaited Proof of Stake using the Casper consensus algorithm. All of these updates will help Ethereum scale, which means faster transaction times and lower fees for everyone. As you can see, the Ethereum team has done a great job of scaling transactions. Metropolis promises to be a lighter, faster and more secure version of Etherem. It will also provide greater flexibility to smart contract developers. Metropolis will be split into two core releases: Byzantium and Constantinople. The first hard fork (Byzantium) took place in October . The second hard fork (Constantinople) does not have a set date yet but is expected Continue reading >>

Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin Deletes Tweet About Sharding, Community Buzzes

Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin Deletes Tweet About Sharding, Community Buzzes

Subscribe to the Bitsonline YouTube channel for great videos featuring industry insiders & experts With the specter of congestion on the Ethereum network growing, any updates or comments pertaining to sharding will unsurprisingly cause a stir. Thats precisely whats happened as Buterin just tweeted, and thereafter deleted, a new remark on a sharding testnet potentially being publicly available soon. In a threaded conversation about Twitter competitor leeroy.io, Buterin wrote: I hope they can participate in the sharding testnet soon when its ready; theyre one of the first apps that could easily benefit from it :) Buterin wasted little time in deleting the comment, though, for reasons not immediately clear. Presumably he retracted the statement to tamp down on any unrealistic hype around sharding, which is likely still a ways off. Conversely, it took little time for Ethereum forums like r/ethtrader to burst with users acknowledging theyd seen the tweet with their own eyes. More have heard of sharding than know what it is. Its important to note here that sharding is not some monolithic system, but rather a series of ideas that are being experimented with. As the GitHub Sharding FAQ explains, though, there is a general gist of what sharding could look like when completed: For example, a sharding scheme on Ethereum might put all addresses starting with 0x00 into one shard, all addresses starting with 0x01 into another shard, etc. In the simplest form of sharding, each shard also has its own transaction history, and the effect of transactions in some shard k are limited to the state of shard k. One simple example would be a multi-asset blockchain, where there are K shards and each shard stores the balances and processes the transactions associated with one particular asset. I Continue reading >>

How To Scale Ethereum: Sharding Explained

How To Scale Ethereum: Sharding Explained

rauljordan.com | Harvard University | Thiel Fellow | Blockchain Engineer | Ethereum Protocol Developer How to Scale Ethereum: Sharding Explained The scalability debate is at the front and center of the crypto community. With major occurrences such as the Cryptokitties debacle clogging up the entire Ethereum network over the span of a few days, it is well-known that the biggest, public blockchains in their current state do not scale. So what are the approaches the community has decided to take? The solution is two-fold. The first approach is to improve scaling through off-chain solutions, also known as layer-2 scaling, where some transactions are handled off the blockchain and only interact with it sparingly. The other approach is to modify the design of the protocol altogether to fix the fundamental problems with parallelizability the blockchain faces. Unfortunately, many of us protocol devs often look at these problems and instantly feel put off by the immense difficulty they pose. Although were still in the early stages of Ethereum, the community is filled with some of the smartest minds in tech, with so many innovations happening at breakneck speed. Its easy to feel that there are smarter devs out there that are probably way more qualified to tackle monumental problems such as scalability, but this feeling is whats holding us back. Truth is, the community is willing and ready to help anyone who wants to get involved, and yes that includes YOU! This post will break down the current approach the Ethereum core team is taking towards sharding and expose its current limitations and paths for improvement. By the end of this post, youll know enough to explore this problem on your own and who knows, maybe youll be the one to build the first sharding client! As the number of Continue reading >>

How Sharding-based Blockchains Could Handle More Transactions Than Visa

How Sharding-based Blockchains Could Handle More Transactions Than Visa

How Sharding-Based Blockchains Could Handle More Transactions Than Visa While Blockchain brings a paradigm shift to many businesses and applications, scalability still remains a problem. When it comes to facilitating transactions, advocates of Blockchain technology often point to the fact that transactions come with a built-in, fail-proof layer of security, thanks to the inherent nature of the ledger on which the transactions are recorded. Because of this, Blockchain is being heralded as the future of secure and efficient transactions, as it could eliminate the need of trust on any central party for validation and bookkeeping. While Blockchain certainly brings a paradigm shift to many businesses and applications, theres just one minor problem: scalability. This problem is nothing new. A quick Google search on the topic of Blockchain scalability produces hundreds of results from forums, websites, and blogs that all describe the same problem. While cryptocurrency is enjoying more and more mainstream adoption, it does not process transactions fast enough for it to be used on a massive, or even near massive, scale. As recently as June, Bitcoin , one of the most prominent cryptocurrencies so far, could only process a maximum of seven transactions per second (tps) under optimal conditions, with more realistic numbers looking like two to three, compared to PayPals 115 and VISAs 2,000 tps. As revolutionary as it has proven to be so far, if Blockchain technology is to re-shape our financial system at its core, it must be capable of scaling out and conducting at least as many transactions per second as networks like VISA do today. There are a number of promising projects that could help Ethereum scale to match the transaction rate of VISA , including Plasma and Raiden, but these Continue reading >>

Sharding Faq Ethereum/wiki Wiki Github

Sharding Faq Ethereum/wiki Wiki Github

Currently, in all blockchain protocols each node stores all states (account balances, contract code and storage, etc.) and processes all transactions. This provides a large amount of security, but greatly limits scalability: a blockchain cannot process more transactions than a single node can. In large part because of this, Bitcoin is limited to ~3-7 transactions per second, Ethereum to 7-15, etc. However, this poses a question: are there ways to create a new mechanism, where only small subset of nodes verifies each transaction? As long as there are sufficiently many nodes verifying each transaction that the system is still highly secure, but sufficiently few that the system can process many transactions in parallel, could we not use such a technique to greatly increase a blockchain's throughput? What are some trivial but flawed ways of solving the problem? There are three main categories of easy solutions. The first is to simply give up on scaling individual blockchains, and instead assume that users will be using many different altcoins. This greatly increases throughput, but comes at a cost of security: an N-factor increase in throughput using this method necessarily comes with an N-factor decrease in security. Hence, it is arguably non-viable for more than small values of N. The second is to simply increase the block size limit. This can work and in some situations may well be the correct prescription, as block sizes may well be constrained more by politics than by realistic technical considerations. But regardless of ones beliefs about any individual case such an approach inevitably has its limits: if one goes too far, then nodes running on consumer hardware will drop out, the network will start to rely exclusively on a very small number of supercomputers running Continue reading >>

Understanding Ethereum Sharding - A Simple Explanation : Ethtrader

Understanding Ethereum Sharding - A Simple Explanation : Ethtrader

Several of my IRL friends have been getting into crpyto recently mainly into Ethereum. Many of them have been struggling to understand certain concepts - like Sharding (and even PoS). So I thought I'd write a quick post using a simple analogy to explain Sharding. Hopefully this will help the newer folk ease into the community! The demand for scalability is becoming increasingly urgent. The Cryptokitties incident demonstrated how quickly the Ethereum network can clog-up. While many in the community are excited for Ethereums Sharding, there are just as many who struggle to understand how sharding will help Ethereum scale. In this post, I will attempt to explain Ethereums sharding using a simple analogy. One of the major problems of a blockchain is that an increase in the number of nodes reduces its scalability. This may seem counterintuitive to some people. More nodes = more power. So more speed, right? Not exactly. One of the reasons a blockchain has its level of security is because every single node must process every single transaction. This is like having your homework assignment checked by every single professor in the university. While this may ensure that your assignment is marked correctly, it will also take a really long time before you get your assignment back. Ethereum faces a similar problem. The nodes are your professors. Each transaction is your assignment. Sure, we can reduce the number of professors (nodes) until we are satisfied with the speed. But as the assignment (transaction) backlog increases, we will need to further decrease the number of professors. This will eventually lead us to rely on a few trusted group of professors. A centralized group. This defeats the ideology of blockchain decentralization. Its much easier to compromise/corrupt a smaller Continue reading >>

Ethereum Will Soon Test Sharding Tech To Fix Scaling Issues, Vitalik Buterin Hints

Ethereum Will Soon Test Sharding Tech To Fix Scaling Issues, Vitalik Buterin Hints

Vitalik Buterin has made it clear that designing more efficient scaling solutions is one of the biggest challenges for the Ethereum blockchain and it seems the company is gearing up take on this hurdle head-on. Buterin has indicated the company will soon begin testing its new scaling tech better known as sharding . Talking about the cryptocurrency scam epidemic on Twitter, the young co-founder strongly hinted that Ethereum is close to launching its sharding testnet. While Buterin did not offer a clear timeline, he said that Leeroy a decentralized Twitter rival will be a suitable candidate for the experiment. I hope they can participate in the sharding testnet soon when its ready, the founder responded to a comment asking about a verified Twitter on the blockchain. Buterin has since purged the tweet, but you can still see the full response here: Buterin and lead developer Nick Johnson have often stressed the central role sharding could play in Ethereums plan to move from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake system for verifying transactions on its network. During a talk in Taipei in November last year, Buterin laid out the companys intention to reach Visa levels of scalability within the next three to five years, as reported by Trustnodes. Sharding was painted as a crucial part towards accomplishing this goal. For context, Visa processes upward of 1,500 transactions per second, while Ethereum roughly handles between 10 and 30. The way Ethereum is currently setup requires that a transaction is verified by every single validator on the blockchain, which makes the network inherently more secure but also significantly slower. Sharding basically splits the network into small partitions known as shards, with each piece containing its own independent state and transaction history. Continue reading >>

Ethereum Makes Progress On Sharding

Ethereum Makes Progress On Sharding

It has been a wild few weeks for cryptocurrencies, particularly since the recent fall was not met by the sharp rally that many crypto enthusiasts have come to expect. Ethereum, however, has remained comparatively rather stable around the $1,000 mark, though this is still considerably below the all-time high of $1,400 that was achieved before the fall in prices. Despite this comparative stability, Ethereums developers are under pressure to scale the network. Towards the end of last year, this problem became evident when the popularity of the Cryptokitties game managed to severely hamper transaction speeds on the network. Consequently, some developers are turning to other blockchain platforms such as Cardano and Stella for their lower fees and scalability prospects. Vitalik Buterin , Ethereums founder and one of cryptocurrencies leading figureheads, recently announced that the platform is close to implementing a scaling solution. The solution is called sharding and basically splits the main Ethereum blockchain into smaller chains called shards that are validated by groups of nodes that can communicate with the main chain node. If that sounds complicated, well it is. Buterin said that phase one [of shardings implementation] is getting something like being already done; there are a further three phases. He expects the second phase to be completed in a little over a months time. Sharding is not the only Ethereum scaling solution that is currently in the works. The Raiden network, which is an off-chain solution for improving payment speeds across the network, is also under development. Raiden works by transacting parties having opening a payment channel with a specific smart contract, and deploying enough Raiden tokens in the channel to cover a the pre-agreed series of payme Continue reading >>

What Is Sharding? The Merkle

What Is Sharding? The Merkle

There are quite a few interesting aspects of the Ethereum ecosystem most people are still confused about. The Ethereum developers have been talking about sharding for quite some time now, yet few people even knowwhat this means. Now is a good time to look into this matter and try to make sense of the concept of sharding. It is quite an interesting way to go about validation portions of the Ethereum blockchain, to say the least. Sharding Will Change The Way The Blockchain is Validated Before we can explain what sharding is, one needs to know how the Ethereum blockchain is validated right now. In the current form, all nodes on the network store and process all transactions taking place on the network. This is quite a labor-intensive way of going about things, even though it adds additional security to the ecosystem as well. In terms of scaling, this way of validating the Ethereum blockchain leaves much to be desired, though. To combat this problem, the developers have come up with a way to alleviate these problems through an alternative form of validation. Referred to as sharding, a small subset of network nodes will validate every single transaction. This means the Ethereum blockchain will remain secure as it has always been, yet it will allowfor better scaling. There are quite a few different sharding proposals as well, although it is difficult to find one that checks all of the right boxes. To be more specific, sharding as part of the Ethereum ecosystem is designed to process thousands of transactions every second without forcing all nodes to store terabytes of state data. Achieving this goal is not easy by any means. After all, the developers want to make sure people can use both cheap and expensive hardware to validate transactions as node operators. By introducing Continue reading >>

Ethereum Sharding Explained Simply

Ethereum Sharding Explained Simply

By Shawn Dexter / February 14, 2018 Ethereum Sharding: The demand for scalability is becoming increasingly urgent. The Cryptokitties incident demonstrated how quickly the Ethereum network can clog-up. While many in the community are excited for Ethereums Sharding, there are just as many who struggle to understand how sharding will help Ethereum scale. In this post, I will attempt to explain Ethereums sharding using a simple analogy. One of the major problems of a blockchain is that an increase in the number of nodes reduces its scalability. This may seem counterintuitive to some people. More nodes = more power. So more speed, right? Not exactly. One of the reasons a blockchain has its level of security is because every single node must process every single transaction. This is like having your homework assignment checked by every single professor in the university. While this may ensure that your assignment is marked correctly, it will also take a really long time before you get your assignment back. Ethereum faces a similar problem. The nodes are your professors. Each transaction is your assignment. Sure, we can reduce the number of professors (nodes) until we are satisfied with the speed. But as the assignment (transaction) backlog increases, we will need to further decrease the number of professors. This will eventually lead us to rely on a few trusted group of professors. A centralized group. This defeats the ideology of blockchain decentralization. Its much easier to compromise/corrupt a smaller group of professors (nodes) than the entire university (the entire network). As a result, we sacrifice security in an effort to scale. To sum it up, blockchains must choose between Two of the Three following attributes: With the problem and limitations understood, we now p Continue reading >>

What Are Ethereum Nodes And Sharding?

What Are Ethereum Nodes And Sharding?

Angel Investors, Startups & Blockchain developers... In this guide, you will learnWhat are Ethereum Nodes And Sharding? If you have been active in one form or another in cryptocurrency for the last 1 year then you would know that there has been one issue which has plagued both bitcoin and Ethereum: Scalability. Bitcoin has somewhat addressed this issue by activating Segwit and by hard forking into Bitcoin Cash . Ethereum, however, is trying to solve this issue in a different way. One of the many protocols that they are looking to activate, as they go into the next phase of their growth, is sharding. Before we understand what that means, we need to have a thorough understanding of networks and nodes. What are nodes, networks, and parameters? Lets understand what the concept means by using simple day-to-day activities. (Before we begin, credit to 3dBuzz for the wonderful explanation.) This box takes in inputs, performs some sort of operations on them, and then gives an output. This box is a node. Keep in mind, nodes are not exactly boxes, we are just using a hypothetical case here. A network is a collection of these nodes which are interlinked to one another. Parameters are the rules that the nodes are bound by. That, in essence, is what nodes and networks are. Now lets check out some simple day-to-day activities explained via nodes and networks. Lets see how a simple paper shredder works. You are using three nodes: The paper the shredder and the.well shredded stuff. These three nodes make up the Shredding network. Lets have some more fun with this. Till now, we have assumed that nodes take in only one input. What if they take more than that? Lets take the example of a toaster. A toaster takes in two inputs: Remember one thing, a toaster cant work if even one of its inpu Continue reading >>

Buterin Lays Out Ethereum's Next 3-5 Years, Explains Sharding

Buterin Lays Out Ethereum's Next 3-5 Years, Explains Sharding

Buterin Lays Out Ethereum's Next 3-5 Years, Explains Sharding Vitalik Buterin, the founder of the Ethereum blockchain, recently discussed the platforms three-to-five-year plan, highlighting the strategy of increasing privacy and boosting scalability through sharding. On November 25, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin addressed a crowd at the conference Beyond Block Taipei, where he discussed many of the blockchain platform's goals for the next three to five years and described some of the ways that he and his colleagues intend to achieve them. He began his talk, entitled "Ethereum 2.0," by noting that the term does not refer to a specific set of updates, but rather to ongoing efforts to improve the platform's performance in areas including privacy and scalability. "Blockchains are public ledgers," he explained, a format which is advantageous in the sense that, "you have lots of nodes verifying data, but on the other hand, blockchains have lots of nodes seeing data." Developers have identified many avenues through which to resolve this paradox and ensure privacy, including "mixers," " state channels," and "some kind of higher-tech cryptographic alternatives." The recent Byzantium hard fork, he reported, enhanced Ethereum's ability to support cryptographic algorithms like "zero-knowledge proofs [and] ring signatures that don't fully solve the privacy problem on their own, but give us some very powerful tools on top of which we can start building the solutions." According to Buterin, the privacy issue is "3/4 of the way to being solved" on the base layer, while more work remains to be done on second layer blockchains. Another Ethereum shortcoming that the young founder acknowledged was proof-of-work mining's stunningly inefficient use of energy. PoW bitcoin mining currently Continue reading >>

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