Friday, 8 December 2023

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Ethereum layer 2’s will continue to have diverse approaches to scaling

Ethereum layer 2’s will continue to have diverse approaches to scaling

The Ethereum layer 2 ecosystem is likely to continue evolving with diverse technological approaches, according to co-founder Vitalik Buterin.

The co-founder of the smart contract blockchain unpacked the current landscape of Ethereum’s scaling ecosystem on his personal blog, with a number of layer 2 protocols differing in their approaches to bring greater scaling capacity, lower costs and increased security.

As Buterin highlighted, Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) rollups that have been pioneered by Arbitrum, Optimism, Scroll and more recently Kakarot and Taiko have drastically improved the respective security of their solutions.

Meanwhile “sidechain projects” like Polygon have also developed their own rollup solutions. Buterin also highlights “almost-EVMs” like zkSync, extensions like Arbitrum Stylus and zero-knowledge proof pioneers Starknet as important players driving scaling technology for the ecosystem:

“One of the inevitable consequences of this is that we are seeing a trend of layer 2 projects becoming more heterogeneous. I expect this trend to continue, for a few key reasons.”

Buterin notes that some projects that currently exist as independent layer 1 are looking to bring themselves closer to the Ethereum ecosystem and potentially become ecosystem layer 2s.

Related: Polygon’s ‘holy grail’ Ethereum-scaling zkEVM beta hits mainnet

This type of transition remains difficult, as an “all at once” approach would cause a decrease in usability given that technology is not at a stage where it can be completely included in rollup technology. Meanwhile postponing such a transition runs the risk of “sacrificing momentum and being too late to be meaningful”.

Buterin also notes that some centralized, non-Ethereum projects want to give users greater security assurances and are looking to blockchain-based solutions. Historically, these types of projects would have looked to “permissioned consortium chains” to achieve this:

“Realistically, they probably only need a “halfway-house” level of decentralization. Additionally, their often very high level of throughput makes them unsuitable even for rollups, at least in the short term.”

Lastly, Buterin considers non-financial applications like games and social media platforms that want to be decentralized but do not need high levels of security. Highlighting a social media use case, Buterin notes…

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