The Ethereum ecosystem is scheduled to undergo some big changes over the coming months. The first part of the Metropolis hard fork is scheduled to go into effect in a few weeks from now. Additionally, the Raiden scaling solution is now available on one of the testnets. This is another major step in the right direction for Ethereum, as there is growing demand for a better-scaling network.
Raiden Goes Through Extensive Testing
We touched upon Raiden quite some time ago. Similar to Bitcoin and Litecoin, Ethereum needs its own scaling solutions to allow for more transaction throughput and less blockchain bloat. For Ethereum, that solution is called Raiden, a protocol which has been in development for quite some time now. It appears the developers are ready to take things to the next level, as Raiden is now available through one of Ethereum ecosystem’s test networks. This test will provide critical data before Raiden is brought to the main network.
Depending how the testing of Raiden goes, we may see the Ethereum protocol handle millions of inquiries per second in the near future. Raiden allows for micropayments, similar to how the Lightning Network will operate with both Bitcoin and Litecoin. Moreover, the scaling solution introduces lower transaction fees and virtually instant settlements. All of these developments are intriguing for Ethereum.
Many people feel the potential of Ethereum has yet to be fully unlocked. Although the ecosystem has been around for a few years now, there is still a fair bit of room for future improvement. That is the case with all cryptocurrency protocols in existence today, but it appears these changes will be introduced in Ethereum much quicker compared to other currencies. Focusing on a growing amount of transaction throughput requires a proper scaling solution, and Raiden seems to provide exactly that at this point in time.
Although Raiden is only just now on the testnet, the expectations for this scaling solution are pretty high. Ever since the launch of cryptocurrency ICOs on the Ethereum network, the ledger has been bogged down by an influx of new transactions. They even virtually crippled the Ethereum blockchain on more than one occasion, although things smoothed out eventually. Allowing for faster transactions and an increased throughput will bring major improvements to Ethereum as a whole.
Raiden introduces off-chain transactions through state channels. These state channels are built using Ethereum executable distributed code contracts, more commonly known as smart contracts. There will be dedicated nodes for the Raiden protocol, which will be more-than-welcome additions. Those nodes will communicate with other Raiden nodes yet still run alongside regular Ethereum nodes moving forward.
Vitalik Buterin has commented in the past on the importance of state channels. They have the potential to “greatly improve the scalability and privacy of blockchain applications.” Considering how the Ethereum developers are currently working on the integration of zk-SNARKS, the launch of Raiden will help pave the way. State channels are a vital part of achieving the properties that mainstream users expect and deserve. A lot of people are looking forward to seeing what this protocol is capable of.