Even though Ethereum has been around since 2015, the decentralized, open-source platform has faced a host of issues related to its transaction throughput capacity in recent times. This is primarily because, since 2016, Ethers’ native ecosystem has witnessed an unprecedented influx of active users and daily transactions— thus effectively exposing the limitations of Ethereum’s Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism.
In this regard, Justin Drake, one of the world’s top ETH researchers, mentioned at Devcon4 that while the present iteration of the ETH ecosystem has its share of scalability qualms, the upcoming ETH 2.0 update (dubbed as ‘Serenity’) could change everything.
Elaborating on his stance as to why Serenity promises to be a gamechanger, Drake was noted as saying:
“ [It] Contains various new radical ideas. Part of it is around a move from Proof of Stake (POS) away from POW. And the other big idea is sharding, so scalability — having a thousand shards compared to just one shard.”
At this point it is also worth briefly touching upon what ‘Sharding’ is and how it can be used to help scale up the ‘tx capacity’ of a decentralized network. In its core essence, sharding can be thought of as a technique where a block of information is split into an array of digital data sets (also referred to as “shards”). In relation to decentralized networks, it is believed that sharding can be used to make consensus mechanisms more efficient— thus allowing for better transactional efficiency and speed.
Justin Drake: “Ethereum’s Future Still Looks Promising”
Despite all of the negative press that ETH has been receiving over the past couple of months (partially thanks to its failed Constantinople upgrade), many crypto experts including Drake continue to remain optimistic about the long-term potential of the premier digital currency.
This is primarily due to the fact that all of the research being done in relation to Serenity has been chugging along right on schedule. Lastly, it is being said that some of the ongoing delays are being caused to the dev team planning to make Serenity backward-compatible with Ethereum 1.0.
Once we enter the ‘Serenity’ era, it is being projected that ETH could possibly move onto a pure PoS based consensus algorithm. If that were to happen, ETH users could be in for things such as
- Amazingly fast confirmation times (8-10 seconds)
- High degree of economic finality (10-20 minutes)
- Scalability Upside of 1,000x