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What Is Blockchain Sharding?

WikiBit 2022-05-09 11:35

Abstract:Scalability is a constant issue in the world of crypto, and sharding could be the answer.

  The Bitcoin business is enormous and sophisticated, with hundreds of little cogs working together to run a well-oiled machine. There are several activities that may be done on or inside a blockchain, but blockchains can also be divided into various segments. This is known as sharding. But how precisely does blockchain sharding function, and what is its purpose?

  Many of us envision a blockchain as a lengthy line or chain of information. So, let us use this concept to better understand sharding. A typical blockchain is made up of one chain of blocks and acts as a standalone network that stores data in a decentralised manner. While this is not a perfect system, the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies and blockchains poses a severe concern for autonomous organisations: scalability constraints.

  As the number of transactions on a blockchain rises, a backlog of un-validated blocks forms. This is a major issue on the Bitcoin blockchain, as users must wait an excruciatingly long time for their transactions to be processed.

  Bitcoin's scalability challenges stem partially from its tiny block sizes, as well as the fact that the Bitcoin network is so popular that developers and miners simply cannot keep up with the massive transaction traffic. As a result, blockchain organisations are increasingly seeking for scalability solutions in order to better serve their consumers and give a more pleasant experience. And, when it comes to scalability, sharding may undoubtedly help.

  Sharding is the process of dividing a blockchain into many “shards.” The method itself consists of several processes, including the horizontal division of databases, which allows each blockchain to be assigned its own duty or purpose. For example, one blockchain may be used to store data about a specific coin, whilst another may be used for network governance.

  It's vital to understand that sharding is not the same as a hard or soft fork since no protocol changes occur when the blockchain is split. Instead, each blockchain shard follows the same protocol while processing and storing its own distinct data, which may still be shared with other nodes. By distributing data storage among blockchains in this manner, efficiency levels may be significantly increased.

Concerns Surrounding Sharding

  While sharding appears to be a brilliant answer to the scalability problem, it does represent a security concern. The possibility of one shard corrupting and taking over another is an issue that might have disastrous effects for any particular blockchain and its users.

  Furthermore, there are some issues with consensus procedures in any network that employs blockchain shards. Consensus is essential in any blockchain because it makes the decentralised ledger safe and immutable. However, when a blockchain is divided into multiples, not every node is required to authenticate every transaction. Instead, only nodes on a single blockchain shard will be required to validate transactions taking place on that shard.

  As a result, the entire network is not decentralised in this scenario. Rather, each blockchain shard is. A normal blockchain does not have this problem and is more clearly aligned with the concept of decentralisation overall.

  Though blockchain sharding has several limitations, a lot of large corporations are either utilising it or contemplating it to boost scalability. So, which large brands have or will accept network sharding?

Which Cryptos Use Blockchain Sharding?

  Sharding will be used by Ethereum, the world's most popular blockchain for constructing decentralised applications, to boost the number of transactions handled every second. This massive update will take many phases, with the first blockchain shards expected to debut in 2023.

  However, other blockchains, such as Zilliqa, are already implementing sharding. One of Zilliqa's primary features is its ability to enable scalability via the sharding process. Zilliqa currently has four distinct blockchain shards, with each transaction inside the network confirmed by nodes in one of these shards.

  Because of its scalability, Zilliqa is a rival to Ethereum, albeit Ethereum's decision to implement sharding will cement its position as the most popular smart contract blockchain for the foreseeable future.

Sharding May Soon Become Commonplace in The Crypto Industry

  With scalability constraints being one of the most serious issues in the decentralised world, it's no wonder that many businesses are exploring sharding to prevent delay. While sharding has inherent hazards, it may provide networks with the capacity to cut transaction times and boost user happiness, which is a win-win for both businesses and customers!

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