When Vitalik Buterin released Ethereum with its blockchain platform and cryptocurrency, it held the distinction of being the fastest blockchain network with some of the quickest transaction processing times and lowest transaction fees as compared to its counterparts.
It held that distinction for some time, and for a while, it seemed like it had provided a resolution to the scalability issues that Bitcoin users had been facing for a while. However, those dreams fell flat with the network’s growing popularity as not just a cryptocurrency platform, but also as a blockchain-building solution started to come to play.
With more and more startups using Ethereum to develop their new tokens and networks, coupled with more users utilizing the cryptocurrency, the Ethereum network started to face the same issues as Bitcoin – even if they were not that severe in capacity – and it noticed a hike in its transaction times and transaction fees.
The situation caused Ethereum’s supporters to feel disappointed and its naysayers to gloat in a mood of “told you so”; however, the network was quick to offer solutions to resolve its scalability problems, one of which was the Sharding roadmap that when implemented, would work towards resolving the scalability issues significantly. It plans to operate by segregating the network’s data into more manageable sections.
While most of those plans currently remain on-paper and in the pipeline, it was recently revealed by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s developer and chief scientist, that part one of the sharding roadmap was now completed.
The next phase of Sharding might be completed by March 2018
In a developer meeting, Buterin explained that the sharding specifications available on Github are a good theoretical example of what “minimal sharding is going to look like.”
He further mentioned that the next phase of the roadmap would be completed in less than two months from now, or at least, that is what the initial pace of development points towards.
Elaborating on the development plans, Buterin explained that the update would first be tested on specific applications such as “stateless clients.” Then, once it is ready for deployment, it will be analyzed on test networks.
In the meantime, potential users are moving to other platforms
While it is understandable that the development of an intricate protocol or update cannot be rushed as it is always better to offer a healthy solution than a half-baked product to any segment of users, it cannot be denied that the scalability issues with Ethereum’s network have been causing some of its users – both developers of new solutions and users of everyday cryptocurrency functions – to move away from the network in favor of newer blockchain platforms such as the 0x protocol.
It will only be beneficial for Ethereum if it can roll out the updates soon that are not just there for the sake of availability but also address the ongoing issues with the network, as that would help the network retain its existing user-base while also increasing the chances of new users going with its platform rather than its competitors.