3.5 Upgrading and Future Needs


Upgrading to the beacon chain will take place during “the merge”. Currently the beacon chain and the main net are run parallel to each other so that the beacon chain can be fully tested without putting the main net at risk. During the merge, no transactions will be lost because the transition from POW on the main net to POS on the beacon chain will be seamless. The entire history of the POW main net will be stored in the POS beacon chain.

After the merge, sharding is the next big upgrade for Ethereum and one that will improve the scalability of Ethereum much further. Sharding is when there are multiple blocks that can share the system’s load. Ethereum is aiming for 64 shards.

Learning Objectives

  • Know the difference between the beacon chain and the mainnet.

  • Be able to describe a hard fork.

  • Learn the hardware requirements and what it means for decentralization.

  • Become familiar with the path that Ethereum will take to upgrade. PoW -> EIP-1559 -> PoS -> Sharding

Reading List

Key Points

Review Questions

  • How many shards is Ethereum aiming for?

  • What are some other chains that use sharding?

  • What are some short term solutions for the increase in hardware requirements?

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