What is "sharding"?

What is "sharding"? - sharding crypto 1024x538Ethereum is the second largest blockchain in the world and was designed to make it easy to build decentralized applications that would give users more control over their finances and online data, among other expected benefits.

The idea is that these decentralized alternatives will spread, offering an alternative to centralized apps. Ethereum (quotation ETH) would therefore serve as a "world computer", open to all, which cannot be turned off.

However, in order to offer viable alternatives to existing apps, Ethereum will need to be able to store huge amounts of data. At the moment, however, Ethereum is far from being able to store data efficiently.

In fact, Ethereum has historically suffered from performance dips that block the platform. Sharding is a possible way to allow Ethereum to store more data, a step it must take before the process of running decentralized apps, or "dapps", can become mainstream.

Where is Ethereum data stored?

Ethereum consists of a global network of nodes managed by Ethereum users and companies. Each node stores the entire history of Ethereum. This means that it stores all the data - which person sent a transaction, on what date and how much money they sent - as well as smart contracts and code written to administer those funds with certain rules.

As you can guess, this is a lot of data. Why should each node store its entire history? Because this is what makes Ethereum decentralized, able to create applications that “nobody can remove”, as the Ethereum website states.

If only a few people were able to run these nodes due to their size, for example, the network would be easier for individuals or groups to manipulate. That is why the easier it is to run these nodes, the less likely this scenario is to occur because control is in the hands of multiple users. The problem is that these nodes typically require large storage space and are complex to run and maintain.

Why does Ethereum need sharding?

Sharding could make it easier for these full nodes to run. According to Etherscan, Ethereum's full nodes already take up at least five terabytes of space, which is about 10 times what an average computer can hold.

And the nodes will get bigger and harder to execute over time and as more users join the platform. If sharding were implemented correctly in Ethereum, each user could only store a portion of the database history and not all history, which is how a blockchain normally works.

When will Ethereum sharding be available?

Sharding has been an idea since Ethereum's inception in 2013. It is not yet clear if it will work. It is also unclear when it will be added to Ethereum. Sharding is included in Ethereum 2.0, a series of updates to the Ethereum blockchain that officially started working on December 1, 2020. Sharding is more likely to be incorporated in later stages of the update due to its potential dangers and complexity. .