What is the ultimate scaling solution?

Cointelegraph follows the development of an entirely new blockchain from inception to mainnet and beyond through its Inside the Blockchain Developer’s Mind series, written by Andrew Levin the Koinos Group.

Scalability is a popular topic in the blockchain, but few ever explain what we mean by this term. When we talk about scaling at Koinos Group, we mean scaling to the masses. Creating a blockchain that anyone on earth can use. This means that the blockchain network must be able to support this level of load, which is what is usually meant when talking about scalability.

User experience matters

But what they talk about far less is the obvious implication that you must have one user experience that anyone on earth can find pleasant. Terrible user experiences are infinitely scalable because there aren’t any requirement for poor user experiences and the underlying network resources required to deliver them.

Related: Searching Deep: The Pursuit of Bitcoin Scalability Through Layer Two Protocols

This is evident from the fact that when most projects talk about scaling, they talk about technical implementations like sharding, proof-of-history or layer 2, which are the solutions that ether used to solve his scaling challenges.

These projects are responding to Ethereum’s scaling limitations by attempting to integrate these scaling solutions sooner, but fail to recognize that these solutions only make sense in the context of Ethereum, as it is not only the first general-purpose blockchain, but also the one with the most developer acceptance world.

Ethereum: The first mover

When Ethereum was released, there were developers for the first time ever, the ability to develop applications on a shared blockchain platform using a programming language very similar to those they were already using to build applications; a complete Turing programming language. Compared to the developer experience of building applications on other blockchains, building on Ethereum was a quantum leap, making it faster, easier, and cheaper to build decentralized applications. Thanks to this unprecedented user experience, Ethereum usage grew at a rapid pace. The demand for Ethereum’s resources has exceeded supply, which has led to an increase in gas demand and a corresponding increase in price, causing all Ether (ETH) owner very satisfied.


Ethereum developers and stakeholders do not want to eliminate or even necessarily reduce fees. That would be like oil producers trying to lower the price of oil. When there is excess demand for their network resources, they don’t care about creating a better user experience, they care about increasing supply (scaling). maintenance the existing user experience.

Related: Ethereum fees are skyrocketing – but traders have alternatives

But this is Ethereum! The £900 gorilla of general purpose blockchains with first mover advantage, incredible developer adoption and unfathomable capital investment. It’s a successful platform and their scaling plans make perfect sense ether. But they don’t make sense for platforms that have no usage and no developer adoption.

This is why we see so many projects pursuing labor intensive and risky endeavors like bridges to Ethereum to siphon off Ethereum users to trigger the growth they need to justify their scaling solutions!

Argumentation by analogy

But this is classical analogical thinking as opposed to first-principle thinking; Make decisions based on what everyone else is doing instead of focusing on the problem you want to solve and the most efficient way to develop a solution based on fundamental truths. Thinking that the way to scale a new blockchain is sharding because sharding is the way to scale Ethereum is a perfect example of analogy.

At Koinos Group, we tackle this problem from the ground up. Scaling to the masses isn’t about embedding some magical technology that supports everyone and their mother overnight. No technology platform ever goes from zero users to mass adoption overnight. Any platform or product that achieves mainstream adoption has only achieved it through exponential growth. I will repeat that. Any product or platform achieves mass adoption through exponential growth.


This means it doesn’t matter how many users or how many transactions your platform or application stack can handle on day one. That’s effectively irrelevant.

What’s most important is that your product has a unique value proposition that a small number of early adopters will love, even if the cost is relatively high. Koinos allows people to use decentralized applications for free simply by holding liquid KOIN tokens in their wallets. They don’t need to buy an account or consciously stake their tokens as each liquid KOIN token contains mana that is consumed as they use the blockchain. When an account’s mana is depleted, the tokens containing that mana are automatically locked for some time, incurring an opportunity cost instead of an explicit fee.

Video game experience

This gives the blockchain a video game-like user experience instead of the awkward UX of every other blockchain. This offers a fundamentally different and more enjoyable user experience, but it’s not like the whole world wants to use Koinos on day one. Ethereum’s fee-based model is still the dominant paradigm, only validated by its many imitators/competitors. It also has an army of developers, token holders, and institutional investors championing it (and by extension, its fee-based model).

Related: In the Mind of Blockchain Developers: Creating a Free-to-Use Social DApp

On day one, a relatively small group (hopefully not too small) of early adopters looking for the next best thing will start using Koinos. The mainnet must be able to give these people a pleasant user experience, but nothing more. If these people use the blockchain and find that it really offers a pleasant user experience, they will spread the word and the use of the blockchain will increase.

At a certain point, Koinos usage will become so high that a user’s locked token count will be very high and the new user experience may be unacceptable compared to the original user experience. This is what it looks like when Koinos hits its scaling limits. But remember, the user still doesn’t lose those tokens forever (a fee), they just sacrifice some opportunity cost, which is an infinitely better user experience.

Extensibility: The ultimate scaling solution

Koinos must be engineered to integrate the right scaling technologies at the right time as adoption increases. Because of this, Koinos is not optimized for a specific scaling solution, but for upgradeability in general, making it as easy as possible to add new technologies once they have proven themselves sufficiently in battle. This makes all other projects experimenting with scaling technologies prematurely fertile testing grounds for Koinos!

Scaling is not an end goal, but a process that extends over the lifetime of a platform, at least if the platform is sufficiently extensible. If the platform isn’t sufficiently extensible, you’ll have to choose the “right” scaling solutions on day one even if you don’t need them, but this is more a reflection of poor extensibility (and poor engineering) than anything else.

That’s why I like to say that upgradeability is the ultimate scaling solution.

This article does not contain any investment advice or recommendation. Every investment and trading move involves risk and readers should do their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Andrew Levin is CEO of Koinos Group, a team of industry veterans accelerating decentralization through accessible blockchain technology. Their core product is Koinos, a royalty-free and infinitely extensible blockchain with universal language support.