The Bitcoin block size and scaling debate has been one of the most highly anticipated discussions amongst cryptocurrency enthusaists since early 2015. Now, the next second best thing in the crypto industry is Ethereum. Ethereum is another crypto-platform for creating blockchain-based applications and smart contracts. Even though Ethereum was not originally designed to be a currency, it has become one due to an increase in its demand, causing its value to soar. Compared to Bitcoin, Ethereum is still in its early stages, but given the kind of interest among the crypto community, it stands a fair chance to grow big.
Bitcoin’s scaling issues are well-known. The blockchain is overloaded due to small block size and increased transaction rate. The community is still trying to come up with a mutually agreeable solution to scale the network. They have not had much luck in that department yet, due to lack of consensus among the community. We learn from the mistakes (both our own and those committed by others) so, it makes sense for Ethereum to start thinking along the lines of – “How Not to Become Another Bitcoin”.
The crypto community has mixed views about the future of Ethereum. Some believe that Ethereum doesn’t stand a chance against bitcoin (but Ethereum is not competing with bitcoin). There are speculations of Ethereum facing challenges similar to the ones currently faced by bitcoin as the platform gets bigger. These speculations were further reinforced by a recent tweet by the well-known technologist and consultant in the Cryptocurrency circles – Andreas Antonopoulos. His tweet earlier today states that Ethereum will start exhibiting same scaling and governance problems as Bitcoin in the future. There is a ring of caution on it as he ends it stating that it is too early to know about it for sure.
The community, however, argues that Ethereum by design is capable of avoiding certain issues regarding block size and network overload. According to the community, Ethereum can be easily scaled by switching to Proof of Stake temporarily and later include validators to work without running full validation nodes. Other suggested non-POS related scaling options include Sharding and State Channels which are similar to Lightening Network in Bitcoin.
Unlike other cryptocurrencies, the block size in Ethereum is not fixed and the size of each block can be voted upon by miners. So far, during the testing phase, the network was able to support a rush of transactions. The network can adapt itself to an extent when there are more transactions making it possible to include an unlimited number of transactions into each block until the gas limit is reached. The gas limit – which is a measure of the computational effort the network has to put in to execute an operation. Currently, the block gas limit per block on Ethereum network is set at 3,141,592 (pi million).
The community believes that all these factors will make sure that Ethereum will not go the bitcoin way when it comes to scalability issues. In terms of governance, the Ethereum community has faith in Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum platform. He is known among the community for exceptional managerial and innovation skills. It is another advantage as the creators are working closely with the development community, unlike Bitcoin where no one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is.
Ethereum still has a long way to go before it reaches the crossroads where issues of scalability and governance will arise. Hopefully, by then there will be solutions available to overcome the scalability issues.
Ref: Ethereum Yellow Paper | EIP-105 Serenity Disclaimer:The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of NewsBTC