Polkadot and Ethereum are both blockchain platforms, but they serve fundamentally different roles and have different architectures:
- Ethereum is a general-purpose blockchain that hosts the Ethereum Virtual Machine, an environment for executing smart contracts.
- Ethereum is not specialized nor optimized for any particular application, rather its primary focus is the Ethereum Virtual Machine for executing smart contracts.
- Ethereum looks to provide services on a large financial scale. It can be used to send transactions to anyone, anywhere.
- The development team is extremely focused on the scalability of this process, aiming to provide fast and efficient transactions between anyone with Ethereum 2.0.
- Polkadot is a heterogeneous sharded, multi-chain protocol that hosts multiple chains and provides a way for them to partake in a shared security model.
- Polkadot acts as a meta-protocol that allows for multiple protocols to coexist and work together.
- Each shard is usually specialized towards a specific focus and optimized towards that goal.
- Polkadot provides shared security and consensus to these shards through the Polkadot relay chain.
- Polkadot is a multichain network that can process transactions across parallel chains or parachains.
- Over 100 chains are linked to the network, allowing for up to 1,000,000 transactions to be processed per second.
In terms of scalability and sharding, the way Ethereum and Polkadot deal with these issues is quite different. Polkadot aims to be a sharded multichain network, allowing for interoperability between different blockchains. As part of Ethereum’s roadmap, the previously dubbed “shard chains” have been forgone in favor of rollup-based approach for scaling transaction throughput.
In terms of smart contracts, both Ethereum and Polkadot offer smart contracts on their respective chains. They both operate very similarly, but Polkadot is more creativity-driven while Ethereum aims to provide scalability.
It’s important to note that the comparison here refers to what was previously known as “Eth2” or “Ethereum 2.0” for Ethereum.