The creator of the open-source blockchain platform Ethereum is exploring ways to fix an innate issue with the technology – the inability for processing capacity to effectively scale.
And the Ethereum Foundation is seeking outside developers to help solve the scaling problem.
Ethereum and Hyperledger are the world’s leading blockchain platforms and the basis for a myriad number of applications, from cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum’s Ether to “smart” or self-executing online contracts.
While open and efficient because all transactions in the peer-to-peer distributed ledger technology can be seen in real time, one performance problem has been that every entry on a blockchain requires every node to process it. This has the potential to slow transactions such as payments.
Due to its chain nature, each new record inserted into a blockchain has to be serialized, which means that the rate of updates is slower than traditional databases, which can update data in parallel.
“This expensive and slow process is justifiable for a global network where all participants are potentially malicious,” Bharath Rao, founder of Ethereum exchange Leverj, said in an earlier interview with Computerworld. “In a corporate environment, where all participation is controlled, it does not make sense to spend a lot of energy and time for essentially no additional benefit.”
While requiring all nodes (servers) to process each transaction makes blockchain natively resilient to cyberattacks – as hundreds or thousands of nodes would have to be hacked to gain control of the network – it also slows transaction processing and, ultimately, its scalability.
Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin wrote in a blog this week that the blockchain network has reached one million transactions per day, and with both it and other blockchain projects frequently reaching their full transaction capacity, “the need for scaling progress is becoming more and more clear and urgent.”
[email protected], with this information:
- Official name of project, applicant and core developers
- Further information on the team, including previous activity if any in the Ethereum or blockchain space or distributed systems, mechanism design or cryptography;
- Proposal and impact on scalability;
- Estimated timeline for development milestones and completion, request for grant amount and estimated total overall budget.