What is Blockchain Sharding?

What is Blockchain Sharding

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Sharding is a technique used in computer science to horizontally partition a database or other data store across multiple servers, or “shards.” Sharding aims to spread data across multiple servers so each server can handle a smaller amount of data, making the system more scalable and performant.

In the context of blockchain technology, sharding refers to breaking up the network of nodes that maintain the blockchain into smaller, more manageable “shards.” Each shard would maintain its subset of the blockchain and be responsible for processing a subset of the transactions on the network.

The idea behind crypto-sharding is to improve the scalability of the blockchain network. Transactions can happen in parallel in different shards, so the total number of transactions per second (TPS) that the blockchain network can process is multiplied by the number of shards. This way, the blockchain network can sustain more users in terms of TPS.

For crypto-sharding to work, the blockchain protocol must be modified to include a mechanism for selecting which transactions are processed by which shards, as well as a mechanism for coordinating the work of the different shards and ensuring the consistency of the blockchain. This mechanism is complex and an active research area, but several teams and startups are working on it and experimenting with different solutions.

Crypto Projects that are Implementing Sharding

Several blockchain and cryptocurrency projects are currently experimenting with or planning to implement sharding technology to improve their scalability and performance. Here are a few examples:

  • Ethereum: Ethereum, the second largest blockchain platform, has been researching and developing sharding as a solution for its scalability problems for a few years. Ethereum’s proposed sharding solution would create multiple “shard chains” that would run in parallel with the existing Ethereum blockchain. Each shard chain would be responsible for processing a subset of the transactions on the network, and the existing Ethereum blockchain would coordinate the work of the different shards.
  • Zilliqa: Zilliqa is a high-throughput public blockchain platform that uses sharding to improve its scalability. It uses a technique called “network sharding” to divide the network of nodes that maintain the blockchain into smaller “shards,” each of which is responsible for processing a subset of the transactions on the network.
  • Solana: Solana, it’s a layer-1 blockchain protocol that uses sharding to scale its transaction processing capacity. Solana’s sharding solution is based on a concept called “Tower BFT,” which allows the network to process multiple transactions in parallel and in a secure way.
  • Near Protocol: NEAR is an open-source, decentralized application platform that uses sharding to improve its scalability and performance. NEAR’s sharding solution is based on a concept called “Chains of Chunks” to maintain the blockchain’s consistency.

Other projects, like Algorand, Avalanche, and Dfinity, also have ideas for implementing sharding on their network. However, sharding implementation is still in its early stages, and the details of each project’s sharding solution may be subject to change.


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Sharding technology is still in its infancy in blockchain and crypto networks. Its main goal is to scale the network and improve its performance, but most of the networks that implement it are still in the testing phases, so it’s not fully implemented yet.

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