Scalability Still the Main Problem of Ethereum Network But Buterin Has a Solution

The founder of Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency in terms of market cap, Vitalik Buterin, during an OmiseGO AMA session explained that with second-layer solutions such as Sharding and Plasma, the Ethereum blockchain will be able to process roughly 1 million transactions per second. He added that it has the potential to even process over 100 million transactions per second.

Scalability Still the Main Problem of Ethereum Network

Ethereum, which is currently regarded as the leading public blockchain is still struggling with scalability issue. Buterin at various events has talked about the Ethereum blockchain protocol and decentralized blockchain networks, and its struggles with scalability.

In an interview September last year with venture capital investor Naval Ravikant, Buterin admitted that both Bitcoin and Ethereum have been processing just three to six transactions per second at peak capacity.

He added that for the networks to support mass adoption and compete with giants like Visa, NASDAQ, and the Internet of Things (IoT) networks, they will need to process hundreds of thousands of transactions per second.

Buterin stated that;

Bitcoin is currently processing a bit less than three transactions per second and if it goes close to four, it is already at peak capacity. Ethereum has been doing five per second and if it goes above six, then it is also at peak capacity. On the other hand, Uber on average does 12 rides per second, PayPal several hundred, Visa several thousand, major stock exchanges tens of thousands, and in IoT, you’re talking hundreds of thousands per second.

At the OmiseGO AMA session, Buterin revealed that the second-layer scaling solutions that are being tested on the Ethereum testnet have the ability to make the network support large-scale decentralized applications that have millions of users.

Buterin and Lightning Network co-founder, Joseph Poon, have developed Plasma, a network that works similarly to Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. Plasma has made it possible for Ethereum to process micropayments by creating sub-blockchain networks or the side-chains, within the main blockchain. This will allow it to process information faster, taking advantage of the security of the main Ethereum protocol and in the process not leaving the network vulnerable to potential attacks.

Buterin explained that;

The reason I think layer 1 and layer 2 [networks] are complementary is because ultimately if you look at the math, the scalability gains from the layer 1 improvements and layer 2 improvements do ultimately multiply with each other. If you have a Sharding solution, the Sharding solution itself might increase the scalability of Ethereum by a factor of 100, or eventually even more. But then, if you do Plasma on top of the scalability solution, then what that means is, you’re not just doing 100 times of the amount of activity but you are doing 100 times the amount of entrances, the number of exits, and despite resolutions.

1 million transactions per second

Diving further, Buterin explained that the connection between the 2 layers of solutions would increase the scalability of Ethereum by 10,000x. The increased stability will allow the network to process over a million transactions per second while also supporting most applications.

He added that;

So if you get a 100x from Sharding and a 100x from Plasma, those two basically give you a 10,000x scalability gain, which basically means blockchains will be powerful enough to handle most applications most people are trying to do with them.

Nicholas Holden

A chemical engineer who got obsessed with cryptocurrecnies. Holds small fortune in BTC, PVX and MIOTA. Nick's regular trading in the crypto space makes him come across exclusive news around the industry. Email: or email the editor at

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