After the successful Ethereum Merge transition, all eyes now turn to the next phase that will introduce key scalability solutions to the platform. This would include sharding. Experts believe that sharding could be a game-changer for the Ethereum network, as it could solve the scalability dilemma.
In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph Dr. Martin Hiesboeck from Uphold, the head of research explained how sharding could help Ethereum become a truly global network.
Hiesboeck believes that sharding can solve the long-standing scalability problem of blockchain networks. The scaleability dilemma means that blockchains must sacrifice one of three cornerstones in order to scale — security or decentralization. The third is scalability. He explained:
“Sharding is a universal and effective way to solve the so-called “scalability dilemma”. Although it is not the only solution to scaling, sharding is certainly one of the most effective and universal solutions we currently have.”
Sharding, in layman’s terms would allow parallel processing. This will enable secure storage and make nodes more efficient. The current blockchain processing system processes transactions one by one. However, sharding will allow the network to process multiple blocks at once.
Validators who verify blocks will be able to publish signatures attesting that they have done so. Everyone else will need to verify 10,000 signatures, instead of 100 blocks. This is a significant reduction in work.
Illustration of an Ethereum Sharded Version. Source: Quantstamp.
Hiesboeck explained how sharding would increase Ethereum’s throughput multifold, lower gas fees, and make it more efficient. Hiesboeck explained that sharding reduces the amount of data that must be transferred and increases the network’s scalability. He said that sharding stores the datasets in manageable blocks, which allows for additional requests to be executed simultaneously.
Ethereum developers had planned to launch 64 new shards. These shards will require approximately 8.4 million Ether (ETH), to be staked in Eth2. There are nearly 13.8million ETH staked, so there is a possibility that the initial shards could be higher.
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PoS’s transition has raised concerns about node centralization, particularly in light of jurisdiction claims by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over ETH. Nearly 43% of U.S. nodes are clustered there. Hiesboeck stated that the SEC’s assertions regarding Ethereum are incorrect. Hiesboeck argued that nodes concentration can change in an instant and provided the following explanation:
“Ethereum nodes are able to pop up anywhere on the planet, and although nearly 43% of them are centralized in the U.S. at the moment (the second-biggest being Germany with 11.8%), this could change in a split second.”
Hiesboeck concluded his remarks by stating that the Ethereum developer community has a track record of success and has shown its resilience in the past, so anything is possible.