The upgrade to ethereum 2.0 also known as serenity is expected to fix ethereum’s biggest problems and improve its efficiency. Lined up as part of this upgrade includes a switch to Proof of Stake (POS) consensus algorithm and implementation of the sharding technology to improve ethereum blockchains scalability.
In blockchain technology, a truly scalable blockchain system is able to maintain a flexible size amidst an ever-increasing data. A scalable blockchain is limitless in the amount of data it can carry. New and existing blockchain projects face this problem commonly as the struggle to achieve a truly infinite scalable blockchain is a tedious task.
Ethereum’s archival nodes currently sits at over five (5) terabytes (5Tb), the actual blockchain size well over a hundred (110) Gigabytes and each block adding two (2) Megabytes to this already huge figure. Ethereum blockchain according to critics ‘will never scale’, in 2019, Bloomberg reported that the Ethereum blockchain is ‘almost full’.
Scalability and memory friendliness are both very appealing features and are vital for mainstream adoption. Recently, ethereum blockchain’s gas price has risen very high and the cost of running transactions on the blockchain could get unbearable at some points.
Ethereum developers will implement the sharding technology on ethereum blockchain. The idea of blockchain sharding is to improve blockchain’s scalability and efficiency by partitioning it into lighter units. These ‘units’ of blockchains are known as ‘Shards’. Each shard stores different types of data and are independent of other shards. Sharding on ethereum will split the blockchain into 64shards. Shards could be considered as interconnected units that consist of a larger complete blockchain.
Blockchain projects using the sharding technique are adopting different strategies to create a competent communication between the shards. Ethereum blockchain will use the State sharding technology. Ethereum’s sharding mechanism will split the blockchain into the Beacon chain, the Merge chain and the Shard chain. The Merge unites the Beacon and Shard chains.
The Beacon chain went live as early as the last quarter of 2020 and the Merge chain is expected to go live next. The Shard chain will be the last phase of the sharding implementation. Ethereum developers have hinted on the possibility of the merge chain going live on August, citing positive developments from the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade.