Revisiting Blockchain Scalability and the Fate of Adoption in a Bear Market

6 min readJun 2, 2022

As the market continues in its long ride with the bears, it is imperative we recount our objectives and laser-focus our vision; building an adoption-worthy blockchain.

Even more so with the recent shock following the depeg of a stablecoin, which reverberated across the entire cryptosphere, down to its foundations.

Blockchain, as an emerging new-age technology, has attracted myriad traction from cryptocurrency enthusiasts, business owners and countless companies around the world, even outside the world of finance.

Its innovative lights are shining brightly as many people keep discovering on a daily basis new means to engage and utilize the technology outside its already existing benefits: decentralization, transparency, asset tokenization, autonomy, immutability and information auditing.

Countries like Norway and Brazil are trying to incorporate the technology into their democratic electoral processes. Certainly, as it seems, no one can predict for sure the next innovation blockchain might bring to the table.

One of the biggest benefits of blockchain technology is decentralization. In the case of centralized systems, transactions between individuals and corporations are moderated by a third-party, whether a bank, corporate office or a credit card provider, that charges high fees for each successful transaction.

These third-party players control, secure and manage the transaction process, thereby making them custodial owners of all of their consumer’s data.

In contrast, blockchain combines cryptography, peer-to-peer networking, consensus-based mechanism, and a data-processing apparatus to create a kind of an immutable decentralized public ledger for storing and validating the transfer of digital assets.

This not only eliminates the duties of third-party souvenirs but also hands over custodial ownership of a user’s data to the user which consequently builds trust among these users.

Regardless of its innovative potentials, there seems to be a backlash: just as the popularity of the technology stretches far and beyond, so do certain issues arise. And the most notable of these issues is the lack of scalability.

The blockchain trilemma, a concept initiated by Vitalik Buterin, refers to the inability of a blockchain network to be perfectly decentralized, secure and scalable at the same time.

The trilemma has posed a grappling challenge to blockchain developers. Since every blockchain, according to the trilemma, can only achieve two aspects; scalability, security and decentralization.

While the trilemma seems to hold water, developers, solution providers and innovators are putting out their best foot to crack the puzzle. The major challenge however, is building a scalable blockchain network.

Since every block or node must underpass algorithmic computations to achieve validation based on two most important performance measures: throughput and latency, there’s a need for blockchain to have large storage power, high transaction speed and internet connectivity.

Why Should Blockchain Be Scalable?

There is every need to build a scalable blockchain. For one thing, the tech world is known for its fast-paced marathon. With respect to adoption, if a blockchain-powered solution must replace its counterpart in the traditional world, then it must be at least as fast as that counterpart.

To put it in light, Visa, a payment protocol processes up to 1,700 transactions per second while Bitcoin could only boast as far as 7 transactions in a second. This clearly shows that the margin for a reasonable competition is high.

Secondly, Ethereum, at the time of writing, the second most successful cryptocurrency, comes down with sluggish throughput and unaffordable gas fees when immersed in a very high traffic.

A scalable blockchain technology is one that can sustain a large number of transactions at a time without any glitch.

While the challenge has remained clench-fisted over the years, there are pockets of innovative solutions sparking by day.

How to Make Blockchain Scalable?

There’s no mistaking that scalability can help put blockchain networks planets away from traditional or centralized systems. And its lack is a notable hurdle to the mainstream adoption of Blockchain.

There are solution-based ideas and protocols being brought to the fore. And we will engage these solutions through three categories: Layer-1 solutions, Layer-2 solutions, and consensus mechanisms solutions.

Layer-1 Scalability Solutions

First layer solutions, also known as on-chain scalability solutions, are the first and commonest step towards making blockchain scalable. This refers to a range of changes that ought to be made to the foundational software of the blockchain network such as shortening the block’s verification time or scrapping limitations in block size. Some of layer-1 scalability solutions include sharding and segregated witness (SEGWIT).


Sharding is a popular layer-1 scalability phenomenon. The technique hinges on transforming the blockchain network into smaller, manageable sizes known as shards. As shards, blockchain networks can execute their transaction’s process without having to worry about the performance measures of individual blocks, and can also create a sufficiently nurtured environment to achieve efficient and high-speed transaction outcome.

SEGWIT: Segregated Witness

This is one of the notable first layer scaling options represented in Bitcoin, a popular utilizer of the blockchain technology. It’s an enhancement protocol that supports the restructuring of blockchain’s storage capacity.

Not only does it aim towards canceling out signature data that accompany each transaction but frees up spaces for other oncoming transactions. Recent research studies acknowledge that digital transaction signatures occupy 70% of the cumulative space in a network.

Therefore, in introspect, scrubbing off data signatures can help create the needed space for additional transactions.

Layer-2 Scalability Solutions

While first layer scaling options are subservient to alterations made to the foundational aspect of the blockchain network, second layer scaling options (also known as off-chain scaling methods) are additional systems that can be utilized to offload heavy demand of transactions from the main chain.

It combats the issues of network traffic and low storage capacity. Layer-2 scalability options include off-side chains and state channels.

Off-side Chains

Off-chain protocols are one of the well known layer-2 scalability solutions that helps to contextualize or pinpoint the scalability issues in any blockchain network of one’s choice. It focuses on creating a transactional chainlink during batches of transactions, especially big ones, by using alternative consensus work systems.

State Channels

Transactions can be taken off chain and submitted back to the mainnet for validation. This greatly helps to minimize the demand on the primary network. It could be utilized when the participants of the state channel are known. Consider an election process that is conducted offchain but sent back to the main chain upon complication for validation.

Through the help of smart contracts, state channels can be used as an efficient scaling solution for decentralized protocols.

Consensus Mechanisms Scalability Options

These proffer easier, more efficient techniques that can be used to streamline how consensus can be achieved, which in turn sponsors blockchain transaction throughput and scalability.

Some of these consensus mechanisms’ scalability solutions are the democratic Proof-of-Stake and Proof-of-Authority model where the network users get to choose the validator of the transactions and the validator is chosen on the basis of the person’s reputation respectively.

Another reliable protocol is the Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus mechanism that supports the importance of forwarding transactions, regardless of opposing network users.

The Bullet Point

The growing need for blockchain technologies has also grown its need to be scalable. The lack of blockchain scalability might not only reduce its performance during transactions but also prevent the nascent technology from entering mainstream usage.

Without doubt, the goal is to solve scalability and offer users a seamless experience and hitch-free experience, especially in a time when the traditional economy is begging for a decentralized shift.

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