Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has posted a lengthy paper on the limits to blockchain scalability, criticizing claims made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
The article, published on Buterin’s personal blog on Sunday, emphasizes the trade-off between decentralization and scalability in architecting blockchain networks. The article comes in response to Elon Musk’s May 15 tweet asserting that Dogecoin will emerge as the leading chain if it moves to increase its block size by 900%:
“Ideally, Doge speeds up block time 10X, increases block size 10X & drops fee 100X. Then it wins hands down.”
Buterin challenged Musk’s proposition, emphasizing the challenge of seeking to achieve a sharp increase in scalability and throughput “without leading to extreme centralization and compromising the fundamental properties that make a blockchain what it is.”
Buterin stressed the need for decentralization to eliminate the risk of a network having a single point of failure and the protections that a widely distributed network enjoys against coordinated attacks. He added that decentralization cannot be achieved without regular users being freely able to run nodes.
“For a blockchain to be decentralized, it’s crucially important for regular users to be able to run a node, and to have a culture where running nodes is a common activity.”
Buterin also asserted that sharding can facilitate comparable scalability to that offered by many centralized chains. Based on the current state of the Ethereum network, Buterin predicts that a sharded Ethereum could “probably process one a million transactions per second with the full security of a blockchain.”
“But it’s going to take work to do this without sacrificing the decentralization that makes blockchains so valuable,” he added.
In March, the Ethereum co-founder suggested that rollups will be deployed on Ethereum before sharding ships with Ethereum 2.0.
UPDATE: Elon Musk responded to Buterin via a comment on this article on Twitter. The tweet is embedded below.