According to news coming out of the ethereum hackathon ethBerlin this week, blockchain researcher Vlad Zamfir claimed to have coded an effective proof-of-concept that demonstrates that distinct ethereum shards could be able to communicate on the blockchain eventually.
With the help of a number of other developers such as Tim Beiko and John Marling, Zamfir admitted that the proof-of-concept is “not even close” at the moment to being ready for production, but he does believe that the code contained within will prove intrinsic to its implementation on Ethereum.
Reducing the strain on the network
Sharding is an exploratory scaling solution that has been suggested as a method to help reduce the strain on a continually growing network by dividing the blockchain up into smaller, more manageable elements known as shards.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Vlad Zamfir commented that “It’s really a proof-of-concept of the most core component in my sharding roadmap.”
“It prevents the cross-shard atomicity failure, or more specifically, it prevents finalization of cross-shard atomicity failure, so it will never be that a ‘send’ is finalized and a ‘not received’ is finalized.”
“We’re still working on the integration but check back in a week, and it should be something where we have instructions, and you can follow the instructions and get it running on your computer.”
Essentially, Vlad Zamfir and his fellow developers were able to demonstrate that Ethereum’s form of cryptocurrency, ETH, can be sent securely across a sharded blockchain.
Seeing software can be compelling
The proof-of-concept code was written at the hackathon, but Zamfir confirmed that most of it had been developed prior to the event, commenting that “the specification was pretty much already 100 percent done, for the most part. I didn’t have to do any research at the hackathon, I was just implementing stuff.”
Zamfir continued to say that the actual implementation of the code was done on an educational basis, providing people with something more than just research to look at –
“There’s a lot of people who can’t look at research, especially when we don’t have research published in the way that we’re really happy with. And so seeing software is something that some people find compelling.”
As Zamfir mentions, the process is still in an early stage at present and is missing a system to accommodate transaction fees and routing messages from one shard to another.
“We have no real routing protocol.”
“All it is doing is demonstrating the cross-shard message passing in the way that it works with the fork choice rule.”
“For me, it’s all trying to use the correct-by-construction methodology, and all of my sharding stuff is very much squarely within that framework.”
Lover of all things crypto, blockchain and AI, professional tech scribe & part of the editorial team at Crypto Disrupt.