The Mega City - The Daily Gwei #351

Ethereum is scaling in more ways than one.


Ethereum is a bustling mega-city of economic activity that is always on, spans the globe, and allows anyone to access it. Unfortunately, Ethereum has been suffering from its own success and has priced many users out due to its high transaction costs. But never fear - scaling is here - and it’s not just coming in the form of the much-talked about layer 2’s - Ethereum is scaling on many different fronts.

An analogy that I love to use is to think of vertical scaling (layer 2’s) as how a city scales by building high-rise buildings. If all a city consisted of was 1 story buildings, it’d either need to scale out massively at the ground floor (layer 1) which is still very limiting and expensive or it’d cap its growth and only cater to those who could afford to live there. That’s exactly the position that Ethereum layer 1 is in right now and is basically the entire reason we’re building out scaling technologies such as rollups, Validiums and even sidechains!

On the layer 1 front - which is referred to as horizontal scaling - scale will come in the form of data sharding which gives extra capacity to layer 2’s (this is analogous to building more high-rises on new plots of land). So instead of only being able to build enough high-rises (layer 2 capacity) to service 10,000 people, we can build enough to service millions of them. And just like you can optimize a high-rise’s capacity and optimize the layout of a city, you can do the same thing with Ethereum’s layer 1 and its layer 2 ecosystem - on both the hardware and software front. I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but we’re really just at the beginning of the modular blockchain paradigm.

Finally, and something that isn’t spoken about as much, is how Ethereum scales its social layer or, in other words, how Ethereum scales as its community grows larger and larger. Personally, I believe that Ethereum scales this by embracing the ethos of decentralization which means there is no top-down approach to how the community builds itself out. There’s no rule book, no guidelines, no set of laws (besides the code - though that’s what I’d call a ‘soft law’) and there’s certainly no rulers in the Ethereum city. Instead, Ethereum operates more like a ‘bazaar’ where - as Ben Edgington puts it - “it is noisy and seemingly chaotic, but immensely productive and energising — and, crucially, results in better outcomes [for open source software development]”.

As you can see, Ethereum is very nicely positioned to scale across all of the most important fronts. I’d actually argue that social scalability is the most important thing for a crypto-network because without it, you basically just have a centralized network that is owned by a small group of people - exactly the kind of thing that we’re trying to disrupt with this technology!

So let’s keep scaling the wonderful mega-city that is Ethereum - and let’s make sure we keep it decentralized.

Have a great day everyone,
Anthony Sassano


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