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Vitalik Buterin Admits Ethereum is Getting Full, Calls for Scalability

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August 19, 2019 | 

Darryn Pollock |  0 Comments| 

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On of the most pressing issues for blockchain adoption has, ironically, been its ability to scale with more and more interest coming from mass adoption. When blockchain's first came out and were used by a smaller number of people, it was easy to manage and control transactions. 

However, by their very nature, and design, it takes a lot longer for a blockchain network to do its duties when there is a mass of transactions. This has been seen before with CryptoKitties on the Ethereum blockchain, which slowed the network greatly. 

For this reason, blockchain’s have often been criticized for their ability to scale up while maintaining decentralisation and security, in fact, it could well be something that is halting their next level of adoption.

Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, spoke with a Canadian online news site about the bottleneck that is being created in Ethereum at the moment and its impact. 

Breaking the bottleneck

In regards to barrier to adoption, Buterin was quick to call out blockchain’s battle with scalability.

“Scalability is a big bottleneck because the Ethereum blockchain is almost full. If you’re a bigger organization, the calculus is that if we join, it will not only be more full but we will be competing with everyone for transaction space. It’s already expensive and it will be even five times more expensive because of us. There is pressure to keep people from joining, but improvements in scalability can do a lot in improving that,” Buterin said

He went further to pinpoint the issue of total validation of transactions across the network. Tis was something that worked fine with smaller networks, but is the reason for slow adoption now.

“The main problem with the current blockchain is this idea that every computer has to verify every transaction. If we can move to networks where every computer on average verifies only a small portion of transactions then it can be done better. There would be a sacrifice in security, but it would be fairly modest,” said the co-founder.

More than just scalability

However, Buterin was not one to put all the issues of blockchain adoption in one basket, he added that there are still other challenges that need to be addressed, and getting people to use the technology is still a point of concern.

“Scalability is not the only problem. There are still challenges with usability, with account security and privacy that are improving. It’s also improving from a technical point of view, but even if the tech is there — how do you turn it into something people will use?” he asked

Ethereum is looking at increasing its performance with a key upgrade on the horizon, Istanbul. This hard fork will see Ethereum move towards being a proof-of-stake protocol from a proof-of-work, which should help with the speed and cost of transaction on the blockchain 

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