The crypto circle, until now, has witnessed:
- Traditional blockchains or peer-to-peer blockchain systems like Bitcoin and Ethereum that validate transactions, provide computation, and storage using all peers involved.
- Sharding blockchains such as Ethereum 2.0 and Zilliqa that share transactions, storage, and computation.
Now, the community is eagerly awaiting a high-performance, next-gen, permissionless blockchain that can scale decentralized applications.
While sharding technologies allow for unlimited and sustainable scalability of blockchains, many crypto enthusiasts and developers believe that sharding has reached its breaking point. But is that the truth? We must first understand the significance of sharding in blockchain systems.
Today, people use the Internet for many purposes, such as payments, web searches, streaming videos, etc. The enormous work gets split harmoniously among peers involved in a P2P system. This partitioning of work is called sharding.
An unpredictable P2P network gets compensated for its uncertainty as multiple blockchain communications, based on assumptions, allow only a constant number of validations and storage copies. This restricts blockchain’s ability to scale, as the system can either undercompensate and be vulnerable to external attacks, or overcompensate and restrict scaling.
Now, developers are looking at the possibility of P2P systems to be flexible and predictable. This means that in an ideal situation, a P2P network needs one storage copy and validation. However, if the peers involved drift from ideal behavior, then the number of storage copies and validations can increase accordingly.
Internet connection issues, data loss, electricity cuts, free entry, and exit from the network, data inconsistencies and malicious are some of the problems shards face in a P2P system. The unpredictable nature of the P2P network is the culprit here as it decreases computation, storage, and validation performance.
Due to these inconsistencies in a P2P system, a self-healing network has been developed.
Case I: Conventional blockchains in which all N nodes in the system compute/store/validate transactions in the system.
Case II: An ideal P2P network that consists only of good peers that don’t deviate from ideal nature. Every transaction arriving at the system gets validated, stored, and computed by one peer.
Case III: Sharded P2P networks that aren’t ideal and, therefore, based on certain assumptions and maximum possible deviations from an ideal network, a mathematical formula is derived. It fixes the number of validations/storage/computations possible to a constant, depending on the protocol of the blockchain.
Case IV: The above cases are extreme scenarios. In self-healing P2P networks, the level of deviation from ideal behavior determines the number of computations/storage/transactions. It’s denoted by the formula, N/x(c), where ‘c’ signifies the chaoticity of the system.
Chaoticity is a function of electricity, data availability, internet bandwidth, etc. of the network. So, in the event of any deviation, whether negative or positive, the network can self-heal by pursuing countermeasures.
Unlike traditional, sharded, and ideal blockchains, self-healing blockchains can last for a long time. These networks maintain true decentralization while achieving scalability close to centralized networks. Since there exists high scalability, peers can build any centralized application on them.
The application of artificial intelligence to the process of creating self-healing blockchain can improve their performance, its ability to predict a deviation before its occurrence, and make it faster. Self-healing P2P networks are the only way to proceed to create a truly decentralized world.