I have been looking up scaling issues associated with Ethereum. I have not found any resources that give an easy to understand definition of the problem. I am aware that there are efforts like Raiden, Plasma and Casper itself that are in progress to solve the scaling problem. But what exactly is the problem.

If the network were to handle the number of transactions that say Visa processes or more (think IoT), each node will need to process north of a few GBs per second. This will lead to centralization and also potentially clog the network. To the best of my understanding this is the biggest scaling problem we are facing.

Is there something more to the scaling problem? Can you also help me by diving deeper into the problems i mentioned above?

Also, how will the move to proof of stake solve the problem and to what extent will it be able to solve the problem?


As you said, bigger blocks would centralize the network. There is long debates about what size should a block have. This is even one of the most debated question regarding the blockchain bitcoin, which lead, as you might now, last summer, to a hard fork from the bitcoin cash team.

Another point about scalability is the fact that the bigger your blocks, the biggest your infrastructure has to be as your blockchain will be quite heavy.

The main point of this game is to be able to have reasonable blocks size that can be distributed to the network in a reasonable time ( that's why for example blocks are emitted around every 15 seconds on the network, so to ensure the nodes have time to download data, verify integrity of the blocks and keep synchronized ) with improving the number of transactions in a same amount of time.

About moving to Proof of Stake, this is not really related to scalability. The point of Proof of Stake is to avoid power consumption by the network like PoW does ( e.g Bitcoin ).

PoS in itself won't change the problem of blocksize and/or transactionnal capacity over the same time as we have now, it'll just move the necessity to have huge computational resources to be able to mine a block to the necessity to have huge interest in the network to be able to mine a block ( staking ).

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  • Note that the switch to PoS may help with scaling, but not by how much we need and it's really hard to know how much it'll help by. The reason block gas limit hasn't changed since cryptokitties is because the uncle rate is so high, which means miners are wasting money mining orphaned blocks. PoS will make orphan mining a non-issue, and miners may be able to (if they want) increase the gas limit. – flygoing Jan 25 '18 at 20:12

The problem is that, today, we don't really know the limits of the platform.

Because of a hard-coded limit on computation per block, the ethereum blockchain currently supports roughly 15 transactions per second compared to, say, the 45,000 processed by Visa.

This limitation of ethereum and other blockchain systems has long been the subject of discussion by developers and academics.

While ethereum developers might like to highlight how the flexible smart contract platform differs from bitcoin, for example, it isn't unique in regards to scalability.

As disappointing as that might sound, there's hope in proposed solutions that haven’t made it into the official software yet.

This link


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  • There is no hard-coded limit on computation per block. There is a limit, but it's not hard coded. The limit can be changed every block by the miner of the block, and what's hard-coded is how much the miner can change the block limit by. – flygoing Jan 25 '18 at 20:08

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