Vitalik Buterin: Sharding and Plasma Could Scale Ethereum by 10,000x

Vitalik Buterin has shed some light on the subjects of Sharding and Plasma while essentially suggesting that Ethereum’s network will ultimately be capable of supporting tens of thousands of transactions per second.

OmiseGO (OMG) held a holiday special AMA on May 30, which featured Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin. While the entire session was filled with interesting insight, what definitely caught the attention of most viewers were Buterin’s thoughts on Sharding and Plasma — two major improvements to the Ethereum blockchain which are currently under development.

As it stands currently, Ethereum’s blockchain can — according to Buterin — support up to 15 transactions per second (TPS). Recognizing that this has become widely inefficient and, for what it’s worth, insufficient, Buterin explained that the team’s concentrated efforts have been to handle what could be a major roadblock for Ethereum’s further development.

Layer #1 — Sharding

Vitalik explained that Sharding is a layer one scalability solution, which is designed to directly improve the existing blockchain — essentially making it work a lot better.

Currently, every node running on the Ethereum network needs to process every transaction going through it. While this validation provides for a high amount of security, it also suggests that the blockchain itself can be only as fast as its individual nodes — disregarding the sum of their parts.

Sharding, on the other hand, describes a condition of the blockchain where the network is split into smaller partitions called shards, which contain independent transaction history. In this scenario, individual nodes would only have to process transactions for certain shards, hence allowing the overall transactional throughput — in total — to be greater as a single node wouldn’t have to do all the work.

Layer #2 — Plasma

Plasma, on the other hand, is designated to be a layer two scalability solution — which doesn’t improve the blockchain itself. Instead, it takes an existing blockchain, creates a special construction which is connected to it, and thus provides a much higher throughput.

Plasma, in its essence, is referred to as a solution for conducting off-chain transactions. Still, it relies on the underlying blockchain of Ethereum to guarantee its security.

Plasma may be regarded as a “child-chain” which could run entire applications featuring thousands of users with minimal interaction between it and the main-chain of Ethereum…

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