Scalability is one of the main roadblocks to the blockchain technology and has been so much-talked-about and hyped since cryptocurrencies become more and more mainstream. No matter if you are a blockchain expert, or a cryptocurrency enthusiast, you must have been alert with the term “scalability” or “scalable blockchain”.
In this case, scalability refers to the capacity of blockchain in processing transactions in the network. A scalable system is able to cater to more transaction and activity in the network without suffering from network stress.
Back in 2017, due to the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies, mainly Bitcoin (BTC), the network approached its current limitation in transaction per second. In other words, there were more people trying to use the network than it could handle. This caused an increase in the fees required to transfer BTC from one user to another. The only way that this can be improved is if they work on their scalability.
Notably, the problem of scalability comes packaged with blockchain value propositions; therefore, one cannot simply increase scalability by changing parameters in the blockchain.
Security vs. Decentralization vs. Scalability
Generally, there are three parameters that must be considered in developing blockchain: Security; Decentralization; and Scalability. However, a blockchain can only at most have two attributes and perhaps sacrifice an attribute.
Scalability of data and transactions per second are what actually everyone wants.
—Saranya Sriram, APAC Cloud Solution Architect Lead, Azure Partner
During a panel discussion at Blockshow Asia 2019, Saranya Sriram, APAC Cloud Solution Architect Lead, Azure Partner opinionated that “Scalability of data and transactions per second are what actually everyone wants”. While, Xinxi Wang, Co-Founder and Director at Litecoin Foundation discussed that decentralization and security of a blockchain must be focused on. He was quoted giving an example that Bitcoin and Litecoin are decentralized and secure.
As of today, the blockchain scalability is still an open problem without a perfect solution. Since scalability is nowhere near as a solved problem, we will definitely see many new scalable blockchain systems proposed in future.