Imagine if you’re wanting to go to work and there is a 1 highway lane. That highway is so backed up that you are now bumper to bumper and your usual 10 minute drive takes 3 hours. This is how Ethereum is currently, it has one lane. Imagine if they made 63 other highway lanes that went the exact same route, but this way WAY more cars could travel on the highway. This is what Sharding is, they are essentially creating 63 more highway lanes, so there are 64 total lanes…they all work together so that more cars can travel.
What is Sharding?
Sharding is actually a concept that comes from databases. See, databases usually hold a TON of information. Database engineers realized they needed to split the data up to store it safely, securely, and to make sure it fit on the equipment that they had. So they split the data up and stored it on many different pieces of hardware, called Sharding.
In terms of cryptocurrencies, sharding refers to splitting up blockchains into many different parts. In the case of Ethereum 2.0, the developers plan to create 64 different shards so that the information of the blockchain is split up. If you’re curious what Ethereum 2.0 is, or what features it is adding, you should check out our new video on the topic.
Main Benefit of Sharding a Blockchain
Right now, the Ethereum network is very congested, meaning a ton of people are wanting to do transactions on it. To give you an example, there can only be 15 transactions a second, and because of this, they use a bidding system to get your transactions through. A few weeks ago, the transaction fees reached a high of $50, which is crazy to think that just sending money using Ethereum costs $50.
To fix this, one of the plans they have had in mind for a long time is to implement sharding. This way there will be 64 blockchains that can accommodate a much higher transaction throughput.
One thing we want to introduce is the trilemma of blockchain scaling. In a blockchain, there are 3 main things to consider.