Monolithic to Modular — Solving the Scalability Trilemma

Even if you have a beginner-level knowledge of blockchain technology, it is likely that you have heard of the word “scalability” and how every new blockchain startup is claiming to offer high levels of it.

Scalability issues have persisted ever since the advent of technology. With every new technology that has emerged, scalability problems have almost always come alongside it. Blockchain technology, unfortunately, is not immune to the dilemma.

To put it into layman’s terms, scalability refers to the measure of a system’s capability to adapt to unexpected changes or increased workload. Higher scalability means competitive advantage and an increased level of performance even in a high-stress environment.

The Scalability Trilemma

In a blockchain, several factors determine scalability, including cost and capacity, networking, and throughput. However, maintaining scalability has been a challenge ever since the technology first emerged to support the popular Bitcoin network in 2009.

With new use cases of the technology surfacing every day, such as smart contracts, NFTs, GameFi, DAO, and more, blockchain developers are even more so facing the “scalability trilemma”, a term coined by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin describing the act of balancing decentralization, security, and scalability when building a blockchain architecture.

(Source: https://vitalik.ca/general/2021/04/07/sharding.html)

While blockchain engineers and developers have tried several ways to address the issue, such as sharding, increasing block size, or hiking network fees, multiple experts believe that it will be difficult to see real results unless there is a massive shift in the fundamental monolithic architecture of a blockchain.

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Originally published at https://bitscrunch.com on May 25, 2022.

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