A few months ago, we touched upon the concept of sharding as part of the Ethereum ecosystem. This particular concept will be introducing some major changes to Ethereum as we know it today. It will help scale the network, which is still a major challenge. A test version of Ethereum with sharding is currently undergoing testing. This is a pretty big development for all Ethereum supporters.
Sharding May Be Coming to Ethereum Sooner Than Expected
It is good to see the Ethereum team provide a long-awaited update on the future of sharding. Making Ethereum scale is of the utmost importance since the network suffers from quite a few issues that need addressing. This, however, is much easier said than done. Sharding may be the best solution for Ethereum in its current state, although it may take a lot of time until we see the real benefits of this technology.
There is still a lot of testing to be done before sharding can be implemented as a part of the Ethereum protocol. For the time being, it appears a test has been going on in connection with a slightly modified version of Ethereum with sharding. It appears this project was written in Python. The question now becomes whether or not this project will be capable of handling more transactions per second compared to what the current network can process.
Vitalik on Wechat: We have started developing a test version of Ethereum with sharding using python. pic.twitter.com/adfCBmQ2jP
— cnLedger (@cnLedger) August 1, 2017
Sharding is not the end-all, be-all solution that will allow Ethereum to scale to new levels. Several improvements will be made to Ethereum over the coming months and years. The upcoming Metropolis hard fork as well as Casper — which introduces Proof of Stake — are just two other intermediary steps needed before sharding can become a factor. How long this process will take remains to be determined.
Considering how the Metropolis hard fork and Casper are not completed yet, it is hard to put a timeline on all of these developments. We do know the ongoing test regarding Ethereum and sharding is underway, which seemingly hints at this implementation coming to fruition a lot sooner than people anticipated at first. According to the roadmap, we should see sharding well after Ethereum has switched to Proof of Stake, which could be another 18 months away or more.
That being said, the opinions in the Ethereum community are somewhat divided on this front. Many users feel sharding will not take that long and could happen as early as 2020. It is good to see major steps being undertaken to advance Ethereum to new levels. Scaling is a big problem for virtually any cryptocurrency these days.
Considering all of the above, things will soon be getting very interesting for Ethereum. How all of those developments will play out remains to be seen, though things are definitely looking up. We will keep an eye out for more information regarding the sharding test and see how things look in a few weeks. Given the lack of detail surrounding this test, it is impossible to predict what will happen next.