Sunday, September 25, 2022

Buterin’s Proof of Concept Shows Simplified Sharding Is Nigh

Buterin’s Proof of Concept Shows Simplified Sharding Is Nigh

Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin has published a Proof of Concept detailing how a simplified form of sharding — part of Ethereum’s scaling triumvirate, alongside Casper and Plasma — could be “bolted on top of the current ethereum main chain.” Buterin noted that a preliminary sharding beacon chain would “just be merged into the main chain” when “phase 4, aka full casper” is reached. 

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‘Sharding Is Coming,’ Says Buterin

Buterin’s been alluding to the arrival of sharding for some time. Now, with the publication of a PoC for a preliminary sharding implementation, Ethereum’s resident technical wizards have brought the technology one step closer to fruition.

In a new tweet, Buterin linked to the PoC on GitHub and announced unambiguously that “Sharding is coming”:

A Deeper Explanation on r/Ethereum

In short order, Buterin made his way over to the Ethereum community’s subreddit to offer a technical roundup regarding what the sharding PoC could offer:

“This is a proof of concept of (part of) a fork choice rule-based mechanism for how sharding can be bolted on top of the current ethereum main chain, with a specialized random beacon and shard block times of <10 seconds. The basic idea is based on a concept of dependent fork choice rules. First, there is a proof of stake beacon chain (in phase 4, aka full casper, this will just be merged into the main chain), which is tied to the main chain; every beacon chain block must specify a recent main chain block, and that beacon chain block being part of the canonical chain is conditional on the referenced main chain block being part of the canonical main chain.”

In other words, this original implementation is just a start and can be structurally contrasted with sharding’s proposed future form, i.e. a proof of stake beacon chain being merged into, not pegged atop of, Ethereum’s main chain.

Minimum Staking Amount 32 ETH?

Once Ethereum moves fully to a Proof of Stake model via Casper FFG, it will no longer be miners but ETH stakers who will validate blocks.

A long-standing question in the cryptoverse has regarded Ethereum’s minimum staking amount — what will it be? Numbers as high as 1,500 have been floated, but Buterin’s aforementioned Reddit comment suggested the final minimum deposit amount may be as low as 32:

“The feature where all notarizations of any shard simultaneously double as votes in a global Casper FFG cycle, increasing Casper FFG scalability and allowing its min deposits and finality times to both be reduced (perhaps min deposits to 32 ETH and finality times to ~6 minutes).”

It’s possible that figure will change in the coming months, but Buterin’s new remarks suggest 1,500 may be quite far off from the final result.

What’s your take? How do you feel about Ethereum’s tripartite scaling roadmap? Sound off in the comments below. 

Images via Spoon Graphics, Hacked

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