The digital currency Ethereum is second only to Bitcoin in terms of popularity and market cap, but its complexity as a platform poses some unique challenges as it continues to grow. One of the biggest issues facing Ethereum right now? Scalability — meaning, how do you get more transactions onto the network at once, fast? There are several solutions being worked on to solve this problem, and they range from simple tweaks to the underlying system to entirely new concepts that fall outside of the Ethereum paradigm altogether. Here’s everything you need to know about the different scaling solutions for Ethereum which you should be aware of.
One of the primary scaling solutions being developed for Ethereum is sharding. In a nutshell, sharding is a way of splitting the Ethereum network into multiple smaller networks, or shards. This would allow each shard to process transactions more quickly since there would be fewer transactions overall. Sharding is still in the early stages of development, but it has the potential to greatly improve Ethereum’s scalability. A live testnet provides some insight into how sharding could work. The key challenge will be implementing this solution without compromising decentralization and security on the blockchain. Another challenge that comes with this approach is that it increases the amount of bandwidth required and could make it more difficult to reach consensus across shards because they don’t all have identical sets of data.
One popular solution for Ethereum scaling is Plasma. Plasma is a layer-2 scaling solution that uses child chains off of the main Ethereum blockchain. This can help improve speed and scalability while still maintaining security. Plasma also has the added benefit of being able to handle more complex applications than other solutions. However, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed before Plasma can be fully implemented. Issues like data availability for cross-child chain transactions and verification costs have been brought up. These issues may mean that we will see an implementation of both Layer 1 (Ethereum) and Layer 2 (Plasma) scaling solutions in the future.
There are various rollup solutions being worked on right now that could help with Ethereum’s scalability issues. A rollup is basically a second-layer solution that reduces the amount of data that needs to be stored on the main chain. This can be done by batching multiple transactions together and then sending a single message to the main chain. This way, only the final results need to be stored on the main chain, saving a lot of space. If implemented properly, this should make it easier for people who want to run a full node but don’t have enough storage or bandwidth available. The downside is that it would require some sort of coordination between the two chains: in order to send a transaction on one chain (i.e., blockchain), you would also have to know about all the other transactions happening on the other chain (i.e., off-chain). It might also take some time before nodes have synced up again after receiving new messages from both chains.
Casper is a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm that will allow Ethereum to scale without sacrificing security. The benefits of using Casper include reduced energy consumption, increased security, and faster transaction times. Here’s a rundown of how Casper works and what it means for the future of Ethereum scaling. Casper offers two major improvements over traditional proof-of-work algorithms: scalability and sustainability.
The other major advantage of Casper is that it takes significantly less time than PoW systems like Bitcoin.
One popular scaling solution for Ethereum is the Raiden Network. The Raiden Network is a decentralized off-chain scaling solution that enables near-instant, low-fee, and scalable payments. It does this by creating a network of so-called micropayment channels between participating nodes. These micropayment channels allow ERC20 tokens to be transferred off-chain, without needing to wait for block confirmations. Each channel comes with its own private key and can only be accessed by its participants. When someone wants to transfer money in a channel, they send an instant message to their counterparty indicating how much they want to send and what nonce they would like them to sign with. The counterparty then verifies the signature with the nonce before signing it themselves and broadcasting it on the blockchain. Once both parties have signed the transaction, it’s settled and cannot be reversed. That’s why you don’t need to spend gas or pay transaction fees – all of that happens within the Raiden Network itself. The Raiden Network will be deployed as a layer on top of the Ethereum blockchain and will also use smart contracts for security purposes.
One proposed solution for Ethereum scaling is Trubit. Trubit is a trustless, decentralized exchange that uses the trusted execution environment (TEE) provided by Intel processors. TEEs provide a secure area of memory that can not be accessed by malicious code. This means that users can trade directly with each other without having to trust a third party. Trubit also has a cross-chain trading feature that allows users to trade between different blockchains. For example, if one wanted to trade BTC for ETH on Trubit they would first need to convert their BTC into an ERC20 token like DGX. The user would then transfer their DGX tokens from their wallet onto the Trubit platform and swap them for ETH. To do this, there needs to be someone willing to give up their ETH in return for DGX. It will work similarly if one wants to go in the opposite direction; they will need someone willing to give up their DGX in return for ETH.
There are different solutions that aim to help the Ethereum scale. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to do your research before deciding which one is right for you. In the end, though, these solutions will help Ethereum grow and reach its full potential.