With the increasing concern for the Ethereum blockchain’s ability to scale for the reality of widespread use (and handle the occasional congestion of virtual cats), the Ethereum Foundation is seeking to incentivize and support development of proposed solutions with two subsidy programs.

Vitalik Buterin announced the programs on the Ethereum blog Tuesday, stressing that scaling the network is “the single most important key technical challenge” of Ethereum’s growth.  

The two main areas of scaling research for the Ethereum network are sharding and layer-two solutions. Sharding eliminates the need for every node of the network to keep a complete copy of the blockchain ledger, partitioning the verification of transactions to fewer nodes. In theory, this model would allow more transaction throughput in the network. Layer-two protocols involve transactions taking place off-chain and verified later on-chain in order to reduce the number of operations.

While some of the best minds in the space are working on researching, developing, and implementing these solutions, the Ethereum Foundation and the core developers are looking to bring more talent and expertise aboard with grants ranging from $50,000 to $1,000,000.

Buterin’s post outlines some of the requirements of projects and endeavors who may seek to apply for the grants, including the absolute necessity of an open-source approach.

With the number of users and transactions increasing steadily and competition with other programmable blockchain networks in development, these grants are a gesture to the community to join in making Ethereum a viable blockchain environment for mass-adoption.

When a single project like CryptoKitties is able to drastically affect the performance of a global virtual computer, future-proofing the platform does become a number priority.

 

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