Vitalik Buterin: ‘Sharding Is Coming’


Dramatic improvements to Ethereum’s transaction processing throughput might be closer than previously thought, according to recent social media hints from Vitalik Buterin.

“Sharding is coming,” wrote Vitalik Buterin in a three-word tweet yesterday that received nearly 2,000 retweets and over 4,000 likes as of press time.

The creator of Ethereum included a hyperlink to a newly consolidated GitHub code repository containing proofs-of-concepts for sharding’s new fork choice rule, including research files containing four related Python implementation scripts. A fork choice rule is essentially a mechanism that lets nodes identify the canonical chain in the event of a fork.

The social media posting is Buterin’s latest in recent weeks to inform the ecosystem of forthcoming changes to the functionality of the Ethereum blockchain. Designed to massively improve transaction speeds, sharding uses “shard chains” – or blockchains attached to the main Ethereum chain – so that the main Ethereum chain can run faster.

As stated by the Ethereum developers, “the primary goal is a massive scalability improvement,” to which Buterin added yesterday in his informal – yet highly useful – tweet storm: “The overriding principle is ‘get maximally close to equivalent properties to a single chain.'”

Sharding is one of Ethereum’s oldest milestones still left uncrossed and was recognized as one of the most promising second layer solutions to scaling the blockchain.

“I would not say the spec is finalized at this point,” wrote Buterin, “though the ‘bag of ideas’ is [in my opinion] pretty well-established. The latest research consists of combining together existing ideas about scaling and latency (i.e., block time) reduction.

ETHNews will continue to monitor sharding developments.

Jordan Daniell is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews with a passionate interest in techno-social developments and cultural evolution. Jordan enjoys the outdoors, especially astronomy, and likes to play the bag pipes and explore southern California on foot in his spare time. Jordan lives in Los Angeles and holds value in Ether.

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