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If there is one thing that bothers cryptocurrency and blockchain developers and enthusiasts the most, it’s the scalability issues that haunt these platforms. Ethereum hasn’t been without its share of these issues. Speaking at a research forum on Saturday, founder Vitalik Buterin said that Ethereum could use zCash’s cryptographic mechanism to scale operations.
Going by the name zk-snarks, Vitalik believes that using this mechanism would enormously scale the ethereum platform “by a huge amount,” by processing up to 500 transactions per second without using layer-two scaling mechanisms such as Raiden or Plasma. The Ethereum founder posits that using this mechanism, ETH transactions could enormously scale ETH transaction and ERC-20 transfers up to 24X and 50X respectively.
“We can actually scale asset transfer transactions on ethereum by a huge amount, without using layer 2s that introduce liveness assumptions (eg. channels, plasma), by using zk-SNARKs to mass-validate transactions.“
Buterin also outlined a method that uses “relayer” nodes, which serve as computers or software performing transaction aggregation roles while receiving transaction fees in exchange. Though Vitalik clearly stated that using zk-snark to scale the platform would come with enormous challenges because of the intensive computation needed to make things work, he was hopeful there would be improvements in the future. These changes would help reduce or eliminate the pressure that Ethereum’s network is currently going through.
This pitch came at a good time for the Ethereum blockchain. While many enthusiasts and developers theorized the death of ETH (the asset) as a result of the recent price collapse, the Ethereum network itself seems to be doing great. What has been bothering the network, however, is the pressure put on the platform’s researchers to come up with a solution that will scale Ethereum as a platform. If this proposal is taken seriously, which would do because of whom it is coming from, we should see a significant boost to the Ethereum network in supporting the development of dApps and smart contracts.