“Ethereum Sharding explained: All you need to know!” – Content:
- Why do we need Sharding?
- What is Ethereum Sharding?
- How does Sharding work?
- The Benefits of Sharding
- The Challenges of Sharding
- Ethereum Sharding Release Date
- “Ethereum Sharding” – Summarized:
Why do we need Ethereum Sharding?
We need Sharding because Ethereum has a scalability problem. The reason for that is because of proof of work becomes too expensive. So Sharding tries to solve blockchain trilemma. Blockchain networks can only meet two out of these three important criteria: scalable, secure and decentralized. But they need to meet all three criteria so that the broad industry can use this technology. With sharding, Ethereum tries to fix the scalability problem while keeping it secure and decentralized.
What is Ethereum Sharding?
Sharding merges a subset of nodes into a shard. These nodes perform transactions that are only intended for this specific shard. Sharding allows the network to validate transactions to be performed in parallel. As a result, Ethereum can increase transactions throughput significantly.
So it breaks the beacon chain into a lot of sub blockchains. They are all independent. These blockchains have the same security and consensus as the main chain. So you don’t have to worry about independent consensus on every single sub blockchain. Thus, these shards can scale better because they exist for a specific purpose.
So if you want to transfer a coin, you only have to watch this specific shard and not the entire network. As a result, you are not trying to do everything on one main chain as we do it currently with Ethereum.
How does Sharding work?
So every shard is just a kind of sub blockchain. Each shard will be connected to the beacon blockchain. Nodes are called now collators and they are similar to miners. The network randomly selects and tasks them with creating collations.
Each collation has a header that contains signatures from at least two-thirds of collators to ensure validity. The Headers contain information about the identity and the state of the shard before and after the transaction. Once a collation is proposed, a random selection of notary nodes checks it and sends it to the Beacon Chain. Hence, the beacon chain is like the heartbeat of sharding. It randomly selects collators, keeps time stamps and manages transactions.
Transactions are specific to each shard and take place between accounts originating from that Shard. So when a transaction has to be verified, the state of the network changes and also storage, assignment, account balance and everything else. If a transaction block needs to be verified, the pre-state root of the transaction block needs to match the shard root in the global state. If that is the case, the transaction block is valid and everything gets updated.
The Benefits of Sharding
This increased the throughput because the transaction volume is distributed and only certain nodes process transactions for certain shards. So instead of the entire blockchain carrying all the weight, they split the network into smaller working pieces. This doesn’t only increase the speed while lowering the size of processed data, but it also allows for a more decentralized system.
The Challenges of Sharding
The challenge of Sharding is making sure that each shard is secure on its own and capable of reconciling with the others in order to maintain a unified ledger. It also needs to ensure the overall integrity of the blockchain. So as this new solution is developing we are sure there will be a lot more challenges. But as long as we find solutions for these challenges, Ethereum has a bright future.
Ethereum Sharding Release Date
Vitalik and his team announced that basic sharding will be released during phase 1 of Ethereum 2.0. As a result, Sharding allows the network to process more transactions. They announced that the release date of Ethereum Sharding will at the beginning of 2021 if everything works as planned.
“Ethereum Sharding” – Summarized:
- Sharding can solve the scalability problem of Ethereum.
- It breaks the network in independent sub blockchain.
- They have the same security and consensus as for the main chain.
- So the nodes in the sub blockchain are collators.
- The network randomly selects and tasks them with creating collations.
- Thus, the challenge of Sharding is to ensure the security and integrity of each shard.