"Sharding and Instacart: Lessons in Scalability and Entrepreneurship"


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 10, 2023

3 min read


"Sharding and Instacart: Lessons in Scalability and Entrepreneurship"


In the world of technology and entrepreneurship, two seemingly unrelated topics come together to shed light on the challenges and opportunities that exist. Sharding, a concept in blockchain technology, offers a solution to the scalability trilemma, while Instacart, a successful on-demand grocery delivery platform, exemplifies the journey of a determined entrepreneur. This article aims to explore the technical properties of sharding and the entrepreneurial lessons learned from Apoorva Mehta, the founder of Instacart.

Sharding: A Solution to the Scalability Trilemma

The scalability trilemma suggests that a blockchain can only achieve two out of three properties: scalability, decentralization, and security. Traditional blockchains prioritize decentralization and security but lack scalability. On the other hand, high-TPS chains offer scalability but compromise decentralization. Sharding, a technique that randomly splits up the verification process, emerges as a solution that combines all three properties. By assigning validators to specific blocks, sharding prevents concentration of power and improves scalability. However, sharded systems still face challenges such as adaptive adversaries and weaker accountability.

Improving Sharding with Better Security Models

To replicate the security properties of traditional blockchains, sharding research focuses on validating computation and data availability. Validating data availability presents a challenge, as distinguishing between honest and malicious participants becomes impossible. The near-term plan for Ethereum sharding involves making sharded blocks data-only and relying on layer-2 rollups for transaction processing. While sharding offers promising security features, it introduces new risks such as timing assumptions and increased data transfer requirements.

Why Sharding is Great for Blockchain Scalability

Sharding holds immense potential for the future of Ethereum scalability. With the ability to process thousands of transactions per second, sharding enables widespread adoption of blockchain technology at an affordable cost. By addressing the scalability trilemma, sharding paves the way for decentralized and secure blockchain ecosystems.

Lessons in Entrepreneurship from Apoorva Mehta

Apoorva Mehta, the founder of Instacart, learned valuable lessons from his 20 failed start-ups before achieving success. Mehta emphasizes the importance of starting a company to bring about meaningful change rather than simply starting a company for the sake of it. He believes in solving real problems that one genuinely cares about. Mehta's journey taught him that a lack of passion for a product can hinder its success. He learned the significance of challenging oneself and constantly seeking growth.

Instacart: The Journey of a Determined Entrepreneur

Instacart, an on-demand grocery delivery platform, emerged as a successful venture after Mehta's numerous failures. Mehta's determination and passion led him to develop an app that revolutionized the way people order groceries. By coding a crude version of the app himself, he demonstrated his commitment to solving a problem he deeply cared about. Instacart's success can be attributed to Mehta's unwavering belief in the idea and his relentless pursuit of building a product that truly made a difference.

Actionable Advice for Scalability and Entrepreneurship:

  • 1. Embrace Sharding: If you are working on blockchain technology, consider incorporating sharding to achieve scalability, decentralization, and security. Explore the potential of random sampling and committee-based verification to distribute the workload effectively.
  • 2. Solve Real Problems: As an entrepreneur, focus on solving real problems that you genuinely care about. Passion and belief in your product will drive your success and help you overcome obstacles.
  • 3. Stay Committed and Challenged: Like Apoorva Mehta, stay committed to your vision and continuously challenge yourself. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity and never lose sight of the change you want to bring to the world.


Sharding offers a solution to the scalability trilemma in blockchain technology, enabling decentralized, secure, and scalable ecosystems. The journey of Apoorva Mehta and Instacart exemplifies the importance of passion, problem-solving, and determination in entrepreneurial success. By incorporating sharding in blockchain development and embracing the lessons from Instacart's journey, we can pave the way for a more scalable and innovative future.

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