Let’s briefly explain these three elements to explain Blockchain Trilemma:
Decentralization: In blockchain, decentralization refers to the transfer of control and decision-making from a centralized entity (individual, organization, or group thereof) to a distributed network. Decentralized networks strive to reduce the level of trust that participants must place in one another, and deter their ability to exert authority or control over one another in ways that degrade the functionality of the network.
Benefits of decentralization; Provides a trustless environment, Improves data reconciliation, reduces points of weakness, optimizes resource distribution (https://aws.amazon.com/tr/blockchain/decentralization-in-blockchain/)
Scalability: Scalability in regards to a blockchain protocol refers to its ability to support high transactional throughput and future growth. This means that as use cases expand and adoption of blockchain tech accelerates, the performance of a scalable blockchain won’t suffer. Blockchains that perform poorly as adoption increases are said to lack scalability. The blockchain trilemma tells us that greater scalability is possible, but security, decentralization, or both will suffer as a consequence. Scalability is the only way for blockchain networks to reasonably compete with legacy, centralized platforms whose network settlement times and usability are, at this point, far superior. While many blockchain platforms have established decentralization and security, achieving scalability remains the major challenge for today’s leading decentralized networks. (https://www.gemini.com/cryptopedia/blockchain-trilemma-decentralization-scalability-definition#section-what-is-scalability)
Security:To increase network throughput on a blockchain network, there’s an incentive to reduce the distribution of blockchain nodes either geographically, in number, or both. However, this pivot towards greater centralization reduces security on Proof-of-Work (PoW) networks. When consensus is achieved on an open network with limited nodal distribution, a 51% attack is more likely to occur as hackers can amass hashing power with greater ease. By overwhelming a network, hackers can hijack the network and manipulate transactions for financial gain. For example: in August 2020, the Ethereum Classic (ETC) blockchain — which is unrelated to Ethereum itself — suffered three 51% attacks that reorganized over 4,000 blocks, thus allowing the perpetrators to manipulate data and double spend its ETC currency, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in value on the network. Blockchain security is a critical network aspect that cannot be compromised.(https://www.gemini.com/cryptopedia/blockchain-trilemma-decentralization-scalability-definition#section-what-is-blockchain-security)
What is the blockchain trilemma?
Plain and simple, the blockchain trilemma is a concept coined by Vitalik Buterin that proposes a set of three main issues that developers encounter when building blockchains. More often than not, creators are forced to sacrifice one ‘aspect’ for the sake of the other two.
- Decentralization. Rather than being managed by a single entity, blockchains distribute control over the network equally to all participants.
- Security. Blockchain networks should have ironclad defenses that prevent malicious entities from taking over.
- Scalability. Blockchains should support an enormous number of transactions and users without faltering by increasing fees and transaction times.
For some in the industry, achieving all three aspects is an impossible feat that will never be done, at least in the near future. However, there are still ambitious developers who believe that blockchain networks can have all three and then some.
How does Ethereum 2.0 solve the blockchain trilemma?
Is the blockchain trilemma really such a big of a deal? Well, it will not be for long. With advanced solutions like Proof of Stake (PoS), sharding, and side chains coming to our stores soon, crypto enthusiasts will have the chance to see how a perfect blockchain network looks like.
Precisely, these solutions will arrive with the launch of Ethereum 2.0. The upgraded network incorporates all of the aforementioned features for the sake of creating a Proof-of-Stake blockchain that is decentralized, scalable, and secure.
Ethereum 2.0 is already here, but sadly, we still have to wait at least a year for Vitalik Buterin and the team to integrate sharding and side chains. They will come in schedule roll-ups throughout the year that will slowly scale Ethereum. Until then, the new PoS network will work side-by-side with the old PoW blockchain.
Once all updates have been implemented, the old network that we have known for years will disappear. To put it more accurately, Ethereum (PoW) will become one of Ethereum 2.0’s 64 sidechains, which enables the project’s continuity.
But again, Ethereum’s envisioned future is still a concept. We still have to see whether Proof of Stake and sharding work in theory and have the ability to support a large workload. For now, we can all hope and wait while paying $50 in fees on decentralized exchanges.
The blockchain trilemma is an important topic for all of the industry’s hardworking developers. Projects like Bitcoin and Ethereum have already done so much for the world. But in order to reach a level where blockchain can revolutionize everyone’s world, and not just the one of our small community, the trilemma must be solved.
While we have projects that use PoS and sharding, none of them had the chance to prove to the world that they are capable of supporting a large user base. Ethereum is the market’s second-largest project by market cap, so if Vitalik Buterin can do it, we will finally know that the blockchain trilemma is no longer an issue.
After finding out the answer to the question “What is the blockchain trilemma,” we wholeheartedly recommend that you read our guide to Ethereum 2.0. By doing so, you will better understand how the network upgrade helps developers with the challenges that they, at the moment, face.(https://academy.shrimpy.io/post/what-is-the-blockchain-trilemma)