“Sharding” is a proposed method of splitting the infrastructure of Ethereum into smaller pieces with the goal of scaling the platform so it can support many more users than it currently does.
Ethereum is the second-largest blockchain and was designed to make it easier to build decentralized applications that would give users more control over their finances and online data, among other envisioned benefits. The idea is these decentralized alternatives will spread, offering an alternative to apps – such as Robinhood or Twitter – that have a centralized point of control. Ethereum would thus serve as a “world computer,” open to all, that cannot be shut down.
However, in order to be able to offer strong alternatives to existing apps, Ethereum will need to be able to store massive amounts of data. For traditional apps, services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) store petabytes of data from thousands of applications. Right now, though, Ethereum is far from being able to store data as efficiently as a centralized web service like AWS. In fact, Ethereum has historically suffered platform-stopping performance lapses due to a single app taxing the network.
Sharding is one possible method of enabling Ethereum to store more data, a step it needs to take before its method of running decentralized apps, or “dapps,” will be able to go mainstream.
Where is Ethereum data stored?
If you replace intermediary services for applications, where is all the data stored?
Under the hood, Ethereum is made up of a global network of nodes run by Ethereum users and companies. Each node stores Ethereum’s entire history. That means it stores all the data – which person sent a transaction on which date and how much money they sent – as well as smart contracts, code written to administer those funds with certain rules.
As you can imagine, this is a lot of data.
Why do multiple nodes need to store this entire elephant-sized history? This is what makes Ethereum decentralized, able to…