I'm reading the white paper, more specific about scaling.

I'm stuck on the second strategy.

Second and more importantly, however, we will include an intermediate state tree root in the blockchain after processing each transaction. Even if block validation is centralized, as long as one honest verifying node exists, the centralization problem can be circumvented via a verification protocol. If a miner publishes an invalid block, that block must either be badly formatted, or the state S[n] is incorrect. Since S[0] is known to be correct, there must be some first state S[i] that is incorrect where S[i-1] is correct. The verifying node would provide the index i, along with a "proof of invalidity" consisting of the subset of Patricia tree nodes needing to process APPLY(S[i-1],TX[i]) -> S[i]. Nodes would be able to use those nodes to run that part of the computation, and see that the S[i] generated does not match the S[i] provided.

Is this the same as sharding?

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This is more similar to Truebit. Also, FMI see https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/Sharding-FAQ#how-does-plasma-state-channels-and-other-layer-2-technologies-fit-into-the-trilemma.

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