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Why Blockchains Need to Shrink to Grow

  • 10 mths ago

Blockchains have a problem — they’re growing too fast.

Not in the sense that they’re been adopted too quickly or that they’re becoming increasingly useful, but in the literal sense — they are simply getting larger in terms of their digital footprint.

As a complete archive of all the transactions that have ever taken place on the network, most popular blockchains of today grow at a rate that is proportional to the activity of the network. And with the activity of most major blockchains exploding in recent years, so too has their rate of growth.

Take the Bitcoin blockchain as an example. In the last year alone it has swelled from 288 GB to more than 350 GB as of writing — an increase of 21.5% in 12 months. Ethereum is even bigger. The fully synced Ethereum blockchain now stands at a whopping 862 GB — more than doubling in a year.

This is a major problem. The rampant usage of popular blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum is making it increasingly difficult for regular users to actively participate in securing and maintaining the network by operating a full node. After all, since the full blockchain must be downloaded to operate a full node, few people are able or willing to spare hundreds of gigabytes of storage space to take part.

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