What exactly is Sharding?
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What exactly is Sharding? Now, as blockchain technology approaches mainstream adoption, it must find a way to provide all three elements simultaneously. Ongoing blockchain innovation focuses on finding solutions to the classic trilemma. Developers have proposed Layer-1 and Layer-2 scaling solutions, ZK scrolling, Sharding, plasma chains and other solutions.
Sharding is one of several practical approaches that developers are experimenting with to increase the transaction speed and overall scalability of the blockchain. But what is sharding and why is it so important in cryptocurrencies? Let’s explore.
The idea of sharding is to distribute processing power horizontally, instead of adding it to a single blockchain indefinitely. What exactly is Sharding? Sharding is a database partitioning technique used by blockchain companies to increase scalability by allowing them to process more transactions per second. Sharding allows the entire blockchain network to be divided into smaller sections known as shards. Each shard has its own set of data. This is what sets it apart from other shards.
Blockchain is a peer-to-peer (P2P) network consisting of a number of perfect nodes (computers), each of which stores a copy of the blockchain’s history. What exactly is Sharding? Sharing allows the nodes to function without having to maintain all data at the same time. Dividing the blockchain network into different shards can reduce network latency or slowness. This allows the network to process more transactions faster.
How does sharing work?
Most blockchains, including Ethereum, are moving to a more environmentally friendly and energy efficient Proof-of-Stake (Pos) consensus mechanism. PoS, unlike PoW, only requires nodes to invest the blockchain in the original cryptocurrency network. The blockchain recognizes these stakeholders as participants, and they become validators of the online event. This reduces the amount of computing power required. Sharing is typically done on Proof-of-Stake (PoS) networks rather than Proof-of-Work (POW) networks.
It is achieved by splitting the databases horizontally and dividing them into rows. Shards are sub-chains built on top of the primary blockchain. They can be compared to the branches of a tree; every time a new unit is added, the tree grows larger. Each shard acts as a mini-blockchain with its own nodes and processing power. For example, one shard may be responsible for storing the state and transaction history of a particular type of address. In addition, shards can be divided according to the digital assets they hold. Combining shards can enable transactions involving this digital asset.
As a result, a sharded blockchain decodes and executes all the underlying protocols more efficiently, acting as a decentralized distributed ledger. This happens when the main chain data is fragmented and distributed among the shards. The required computing power is reduced even more, because the nodes no longer have to access all the information of the main chain. This speeds up the processing of each shard.
The information of each shard can be further shared with other shards. It ensures the survival of a critical part of blockchain technology: the distributed ledger. Users can still access accounting and view all transactions, in other words.
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Sharding is gaining traction as a way to promote the development of the crypto world. Ethereum is testing sharding as a possible solution to latency and scalability issues. Ethereum plans to launch 64 new shard chains after “The Merge” event, where the Ethereum Mainnet will “merge” with the Beacon Chain Proof of Stake system.