The next step on the ETH2.0 roadmap will be the merger event, which will introduce proof of stake and make the Ethereum blockchain a shard on the Ethereum network. But why does Ethereum need sharding, and what happens after multiple shards are finally launched?
We have talked about what sharding will bring before, but if we delve deeper into the reasons and methods, we will really see the level of scalability that this exciting upgrade may bring.
Today’s Ethereum chain is congested, and transaction costs are much higher than expected. The Ethereum network can process approximately 15-30 transactions per second, which is too low for the new NFT, DeFi, and all other interesting needs that are currently happening on the chain.
Almost every blockchain system faces a common trilemma called the DCS triangle, in which it is impossible to achieve decentralization, consistency, and scalability at the same time. There can only be two at a time, not all three.
The “D” in DCS, decentralization means that no single entity can fully control the network. Anyone can join this network, and can run the client on an ordinary device, such as an ordinary laptop or a small virtual server.
In the context of Ethereum, consistency requires all nodes to see the same data on the Ethereum chain at the same time. This can prevent problems such as double spending and prevent a transaction from being executed multiple times.
The main problem with Ethereum currently is. Since each node needs to know the same data as other nodes, Ethereum is actually limited by the speed of a single node. Currently, Ethereum can be classified as decentralized and consistent, because anyone can choose to run a node on the network while seeing the same data as everyone else. But this comes at the cost of scalability that cannot meet current needs.
Fragmentation is an attempt to solve this trilemma. In the database structure, fragmentation is already a common phenomenon, in which a large database is split into multiple smaller databases, which can run faster, and ultimately make the entire system more efficient and scalable.
In the context of databases, this is called facilitating horizontal scaling or scaling out, spreading the load by adding additional machines, facilitating more traffic and faster processing. If you use only one machine to host the database, and continue to upgrade this machine with additional processing power over time, it is called vertical scaling or upward scaling. However, such a system will eventually encounter limitations in terms of computing resources.
Using sharding in Ethereum means that a node may only focus on a subset of the network without having to track any transactions that occur in other parts of the network.
Merger means that the Ethereum chain as we know it will be “merged” with the beacon chain, ending the proof-of-work mechanism initiated by Ethereum and transitioning to proof of equity.
Sharding was originally planned to happen before the merge, but as layer 2 scaling solutions have become more popular recently, the priority has changed, allowing the merge to happen earlier.
Miners will soon be replaced by validators who will stake Ethereum, process transactions, and validate new blocks. It is no longer necessary for us to provide a large amount of computer power, and because of its low hardware requirements, the verifier node can eventually even run on a mobile phone.
Sharding cannot work with the proof-of-work system currently owned by Ethereum. In such a system, sharding will dilute the computing power required to destroy the entire network, and ultimately make it easier for malicious actors to take over the sharding.
For successful sharding, a large number of validators are required on the network, and this can be achieved with easy entry and low hardware requirements.
Although the introduction of Proof of Stake will significantly speed up Ethereum’s transaction throughput, there is no sign that the L2 solution will disappear anytime soon, even if sharding is launched at a later stage.
Sharding may be deployed in two iterations. “Version 1” will be the first shard chain to be deployed on the network. At first glance, it actually can’t do much for gas-hungry DeFi projects because they can’t handle transactions or contract interactions. However, they will be able to store data, which may be sufficient to solve the current gas crisis.
This is where L2, especially rollup, comes into play. At present, various dapps have used rollup to perform off-chain calculations, create an encrypted evidence, and then “roll up” a set of transaction data chains to save gas costs. This method of saving gas and transaction costs has been widely used on the Ethereum chain.
Once the shard is online on Ethereum, it will first start 64 shards, and each shard will run in parallel. Combining the fact that rollup and sharding can store data, various Ethereum pledgers believe that this may bring about 100,000 transactions per second to Ethereum, which will be about 30 transactions per second in Ethereum currently A major upgrade!
“Version 2” aims to add more features to shards, allowing them to handle transactions, account balances, and smart contracts. This additional feature has been on the roadmap, but since version 1 should be able to provide such high transaction throughput, the Ethereum community has been discussing whether version 2 is really needed.
In one case, additional functions may only introduce a few shards, and the remaining shards can only store data. However, since version 2 is still far away, this debate may continue for quite some time.
In the end, the various shards that make up Ethereum will be able to communicate with each other through the beacon chain, which has been launched on the Ethereum network since the end of 2020.
All in all, the beacon chain is used to monitor all the shards on the network and provide convenience to verifiers on the network. When a block in a shard is created, it is also called a shard block. This block is added to the beacon chain and contains any new information about the state (such as transactions) of the shard block.
Other shards will be able to retrieve this information through the beacon chain.
As part of Ethereum, there are still many things that need to be changed in the final look of sharding, and we still need a few years. At present, the delivery time of the sharding chain is expected to be sometime in 2023, a few years later than the initial expectation, but this may still be earlier or later, depending on how Ethereum switches to proof of stake after the merger. And the work progress afterwards.
The process of realizing ETH2.0 has already begun, but it will not happen overnight. The beacon chain has been launched to provide a basis for the merger of Ethereum, which will soon transition Ethereum to PoS. Initiating fragmentation will be the next focus, and the functionality of the fragmentation may be expanded later.
All in all, there are many things worth looking forward to (expanding) and learning. Ethereum.org regularly provides a good guide for ETH2.0 upgrades.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/eth2-0-break-fragmentation/
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