In spite of what clever marketing might lead you to believe, blockchains do not, in fact, scale
. There will always be a tradeoff between speed and decentralization, each coming with its own set of problems and opportunities. Every protocol you can name simply offers us different tradeoffs and the same is true of Stacks.
In the case of the Stacks blockchain, very specific decisions to ensure security and decentralization were made, necessitating a tradeoff in speed and capacity. We won’t go into specifics of those decisions in this post, so I highly
recommend taking a look at this forum post by Muneeb Ali, Stacks Founder: Framework for Stacks Scalability
So with the network facing congestion at times in the past few weeks, what are we to do? Are we stuck with either slow or safe? Will you forever be frustrated trying to mint the latest NFT drop?!
No! The good news is that although individual blockchains can’t scale, networks most certainly can.
Better still, we can even allow developers to make their own
speed and security tradeoffs without dictating one set of options for the whole network. And better even still, a number of efforts in the Stacks ecosystem are already underway to give developers the tools to make their own decisions, while still benefiting from the features of Stacks and the security of Bitcoin settlement.
A simple idea to keep in mind while reading through the outlines below is that what’s ideal for one application might be terrible for another. For example, an appropriate tradeoff for a DEX may not be feasible for an NFT marketplace. The secure scaling solutions outlined below are coming together with modularity and choice as guiding principles thanks to Stacks core devs across the ecosystem.