Scalability Issues - Distributed Nodes?

Having read through the white paper, it seems as though scalability would quickly become a big problem. As the size of the ethereum state grows, would it theoretically be possible to split this up, such that "distributed nodes" could share out the state/blockchain among a number of contributors who would only process the parts of transactions which can be completed on the portion they hold?

If the complete state were many terabytes in size, it would seem logical and perhaps more efficient if the work could be done in a distributed way (with contributors rewarded accordingly), as well as having the security of network consensus.

Comments

  • StephanTualStephanTual London, EnglandMember, Moderator Posts: 1,282 mod
    It's the #1 problem of blockchain technology. Case in point: bitcoin, which can process at the moment a maximum of ~7 transactions per second due to a block size limit of 1 MB.

    To put things in perspective, during the run up to Christmas VISA Europe alone processes approx. 10,000 transactions per second.

    Of course, one could just increase the bitcoin block size to say, 1.5 GB so that bitcoin could then process 10,000 TPS. However, this would also mean that each full node would require a few terabytes of space per day. In short, if you want to have the VISA network TPS on bitcoin, each full node needs to the be the size of the VISA datacenter. That's not going to happen.

    Ethereum is no stranger to this problem, in fact Vitalik wrote extensively about it on https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/Problems, a very interesting read that covers scalability, speed, 'useful' PoW, etc.

    There are of course, potential solutions such as microchains and sharding. These are the type of problems we intend our CCRG (Crypto Currency Research Group) to focus on, and something that I know Gav has already started working on. In the meantime, the theoretically TPS for ethereum is largely sufficient for our alpha-beta and even potentially v1 purpose.
  • percypugwashpercypugwash Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for your response and the link. Having been interested in blockchain technology for a while it's nice to be able to see something of the community aiming to harness its potential and mitigate its problems. Endless ill-informed speculation on price seems to be all that gets out into the media. It's frustrating because it completely misses the point!
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