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Can BCH Help Ethereum Scale?

ETH 2.0 is just around the corner — or at least that’s what many imagined. But waiting for Ethereum to scale is a bit like waiting for Godot, and Vitalik Buterin has an idea to scale network capabilities right now.

Setting aside tribal loyalties, the Ethereum co-founder recently suggested using the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain as a data layer for the Ethereum Virtual Machine, expanding the reach of the smart-contract blockchain before the next version is fully functional. The Ethereum blockchain would then run with two layers; a non-scaling layer for computations and the temporary BCH layer, capable of scaling and handling growing data demands.

Buterin explains on the Research Sharding sub-forum: “In the longer term (1+ year out) the scalable data layer is going to be ethereum 2.0, because its planned 10 MB/sec data throughput is much higher than that of any existing blockchain.

Distributed applications frequently face transaction bottlenecks on Ethereum, which is limited to only 15 transactions per second.  By using another blockchain, Buterin proposes that dApps will be able to store and access data without the unpredictable fees of the main Ethereum chain. Bitcoin Cash fits the bill, according to Buterin, due to its extremely low transaction fees and 32-MB blocks. 

Enabling this layer would be a relatively trivial task as the “machinery” is already in place, Buterin wrote. [T]hanks to http://btcrelay.org/ ; we just need to repoint it to the BCH chain and turn it back on.

The fact that the BCH community welcomes others to use their chain as long as they pay transaction fees makes it an even better match, he added.


Oh, Those Slow Block Times…

One possible complication is the fact that Bitcoin Cash, like BTC, has a ten-minute blocktime; Ethereum’s miners process a block approximately every fifteen seconds. Technologies like zero-confirmation capabilities and Avalanche Pre-Consensus could help integrate the two blockchains, but Buterin admits that this might prove too complex.

The Ethereum founder also considered Ethereum Classic, but dismissed it due to its “lower scalability.” But with a few changes to gas costs and the addition of “flyclient support”, he says, ETC could increase its data rate and handle the job.


Security, Shmecurity

Some critics chimed in to question the security of adding a second blockchain to the mix, particularly one that does not have the same level of security as Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum do.

Because Bitcoin Cash is more susceptible to 51% attacks, using it for data storage could harm the thousands of applications currently building on the Ethereum network. Adding a secondary blockchain could also increase the possibilities of systematic failures due to the added complexity of such a move.

Following the proposal, some respondents also proposed a number of competing blockchains that could provide greater security advantages and faster block times, including DASH, DigiByte, STEEM, and Factom. 

 

 

 

 

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