EOS Scaling Issues and Their Impact on the Blockchain
The EOS blockchain seems to be encountering considerable scalability problems that are preventing its ability to securely host decentralised applications on the network. The issue is that the blockchain has actually grown so dramatically that only a handful of block manufacturers can afford to store the entire thing.
Since the majority of dApps connect solely to these producers, if they were to decrease as a result of financial or technical issues, or were to begin acting maliciously, the applications referencing them would also decrease. Such plainly centralised points of failure are definitely a concern for the project moving forward.
EOS and its 4TB Blockchain Problem
The EOS blockchain has actually constantly been marketed as the fastest blockchain in the cryptocurrency space. However, it is emerging that by optimising for speed in such a way, the reliability and security of the project could be a concern.
Including a brand-new block every one half second has meant that the EOS chain is now over 42 million blocks. This 4TB of overall information has been produced in just eight months of operation. Compare this to Bitcoin's blockchain, which is at 200GB after 10 years, and Ethereum's, which is 150GB after 3 months.
To collect and reference such a cumbersome blockchain is not cheap. This cost has triggered a lot of the block manufacturers that the EOS network depends on to opt out of saving the entire chain.
There are clearly just 5 block producers now saving the entire EOS blockchain: EOS Sweden, GreyMass, CryptoLions, EOSTribe, and EOS Canada. Just 2 of these, according to the Tweet below, are used to verify blocks, considering that the others are not considered to be among the 21 “top block manufacturers” utilized to verify transactions. A number of the others left when the chain rapidly grew from 1TB to 2TB at the end of last year.
The following video goes into more detail about the issue:
The EOS blockchain is pretty big. Like 4TB big, and growing rapidly. Out of 21 elected block producers, only 2 (10%) run a full node. Simply put, the economics of running a full node don't make sense for most BPs. As a result, the security of the network is put at risk.
— Corey Miller (@coreyj_miller) February 26, 2019
Work Being Done to Finance Storing the EOS Chain
According to reactions to this Tweet and referenced in the EOS Weekly video above, there is work being done to assist in diverting more funds to block producers so that they can pay for and store the entire chain.
One possible solution is to charge dApps for referencing the full blockchain history. Another is to use an execution of the sharding technology being pursued by Ethereum core developers. A last potential option referenced by EOS Weekly is to use the soon-to-be-released LiquidApps Network. This would involve moving the obligation for remembering the blockchain from the block manufacturers to nodes supporting the additional layer. They might then monetise their operation straight through staking agreements with those dApps requiring to access their storage.
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