Learn about Ethereum blockchain development
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In our previous article (Horizontal Scaling versus Vertical Scaling in Distributed Systems), we covered the differences between horizontal and vertical scaling in distributed systems.
In this article, we learn how to scale up Ethereum blockchain applications.
Like Bitcoin, the main reason for the Ethereum scalability problem is the network protocol that each node in the network has to process each transaction. Ethereum 1.x implements a slightly modified version of the Proof-of-Work(PoW) consensus mechanism. In Ethereum, miners have to race to find the nonce to meet the target difficulty. Every node needs to verify that the miners' work is valid and keep an accurate copy of the current network state. This greatly limits the transaction process capability and throughput of the Ethereum blockchain network. Currently it can only process 12-15 transactions per second.
First used by Vitalik Buterin, the scalability trilemma is a concept in blockchain regarding its capability to address scalability, decentralization, and security, without compromising any of them. The trilemma claims that it is almost impossible to achieve all three properties in a blockchain system:
The following diagram is an illustration of the scalability trilemma in the blockchain:
The key challenge of scalability is finding a way to achieve all three at the base layer. The design choices of Bitcoin and Ethereum favor decentralization and security, while making a sacrifice in scalability.
In our next article (Review of scaling solutions for Ethereum), we discuss different scaling solutions for Ethereum blockchain applications.
This article is written in collaboration with Brian Wu who is a leading author of “Learn Ethereum: Build your own decentralized applications with Ethereum and smart contracts” book. He has written 7 books on blockchain development.
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