After a successful Ethereum merger, all eyes are on the next transition phase that would introduce key scalability solutions to the platform, including sharding. Market experts believe that sharding would be a game changer for the Ethereum network as it could solve the scalability trilemma.
In an exclusive conversation with Cointelegraph, Uphold’s head of research, Dr. Martin Hiesboeck, explained how sharding could pave the way for Ethereum to become a truly global network.
Hiesboeck believes that sharding could solve the long-standing scalability trilemma of blockchain networks. The scalability trilemma implies that in order to scale, blockchains usually sacrifice one of their three fundamental cornerstones: security or decentralization, and the third is scalability itself. Explained:
“Sharding is actually one of the most effective and universal ways to solve the so-called ‘scalability trilemma’. I’m not sure it’s enough to claim it as the only true scalability solution, but sharding is without a doubt one of the best we currently have”.
In simple terms, sharding would introduce parallel processing, allowing secure distribution of data storage requirements and facilitating the operation of nodes. In the current blockchain processing system, transactions are processed one block at a time, while with the introduction of sharding, the network can process multiple blocks of transactions simultaneously.
Using this mechanism, validators who verify certain blocks will publish signatures proving that they have done so. Meanwhile, everyone else will only have to verify 10,000 of those signatures instead of 100 full blocks, which is significantly less work.
Hiesboeck explained that sharding would not only increase Ethereum’s performance by multiples, but also reduce gas fees and make the network more energy efficient. He explained that the energy savings and scalability come from “smaller packets that need to be moved as sharding stores data sets in manageable blocks and allows additional requests to be executed at the same time.”
Earlier, Ethereum developers planned to release 64 shards that require approximately 8.4 million Ether (ETH) to participate in Eth2. However, there are already close to 13.8 million ETH staked as of now, so the number of initial shards may be even higher than that.
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The transition to PoS has also raised concerns about node centralization, particularly in the wake of US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) jurisdictional claims over ETH, as nearly 43% of nodes are clustered in the US . Hiesboeck said that the SEC’s claims about Ethereum. they are wrong He argued that the concentration of nodes can change overnight and explained:
“Ethereum nodes can appear anywhere in the world, and while almost 43% of them are centralized in the US right now (the second largest country is Germany with 11.8%), this can change anytime”.
Hiesboeck concluded by saying that the Ethereum developer community has a proven track record and has proven its resilience in the past that anything can be worked out, over time.