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Blockchain FAQ #3: What is Sharding in the Blockchain?

May 5, 2018 · 5 min read
  • Sia network enables anyone with excess storage to put up their computer for rent on the cloud, which can potentially disrupt cloud computing giants like Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM.
  • Nebula Genomics, Encrypgen, Luna DNA, and Zenome are giving the consumers the control of their DNA testing data, something that the current healthcare providers don’t allow.

Sharding: a solution to the scalability, latency and transaction throughput issues

Sharding is a concept that’s widely used in databases, to make them more efficient. A shard is a horizontal portion of a database, with each shard stored in a separate server instance. This spreads the load and makes the database more efficient.

  • Since there’s no mining, expensive special-purpose hardware isn’t needed, besides the energy requirements are lower;
  • It’s easy to identify validators with high loyalty, simply pick the ones who have staked a higher number of crypto tokens and a longer duration.
    A blockchain that implements sharding identifies stakers in each shard, who take the transaction validation responsibility. Since transaction validation is being done by loyal stakers, security of the blockchain is still very high.

Usage of sharding in the blockchain, and what’s next:

Sharding is a relatively new concept in the blockchain. Some projects have incorporated this concept, for e.g. Shard Coin (SHARD). Telegram Open Network (TON), a potentially very important project, currently in private token sale phase, has plans of using sharding to ensure speedy transactions. TON is being developed by Telegram, the well-known encrypted messaging app, and their cryptocurrency GRAM will enable users to send funds across borders without worrying about remittance fees.
Wider adoption of sharding requires the blockchain and crypto developers to work on an important area. While communication between nodes within a shard is smooth, inter-shard communication is currently not easy and requires the development of a separate protocol. Addressing this key requirement will potentially result into a wider adoption of sharding, and that’ll help blockchain more scalable with higher transaction throughput.


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