Ethereum’s path forward: Buterin advocates rollups, Rethinks Plasma

Ethereum's path forward: Buterin advocates rollups, Rethinks Plasma

In a recent statement, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin praised the once-underappreciated Ethereum scaling solution, Plasma, calling it “underrated” and a “significant security upgrade” for chains that would otherwise adopt validiums.

Originally introduced in 2017, Plasma directs data and computation off-chain, excluding deposits, withdrawals, and Merkle roots. Despite being surpassed by optimistic and ZK-rollups due to their cost-effectiveness and unmatched security properties, Buterin suggested that teams working on zero-knowledge (ZK) Ethereum Virtual Machines (EVMs) should reconsider Plasma.

While acknowledging rollups as the “gold standard,” Buterin believes Plasma still holds potential in the design space, emphasizing its potential as a security enhancement for chains that might opt for validiums.

With the emergence of ZK-EVMs this year, Buterin sees an opportunity to explore the Plasma design space further and develop more effective constructions for simplified developer experiences and enhanced user fund protection.

Noting that improvements in ZK-proofs address past limitations of Plasma, Buterin highlighted the potential viability of Plasma as a scaling solution, especially for applications beyond payments.

The Ethereum layer-2 ecosystem, according to Buterin, will continue evolving with diverse technological approaches. Various iterations, such as Minimal Viable Plasma, Plasma Cash, and Plasma Cashflow, have emerged from the original Plasma concept.

Polygon Labs, a firm focusing on Ethereum layer-2 scaling, implemented Plasma in 2019 but has since incorporated other solutions. The shift away from Plasma was partly attributed to Plasma Group, a nonprofit research firm, announcing its cessation of Ethereum-based scalability work in January 2020.

Notably, after Buterin’s endorsement, the token of the OMG Network (which uses Plasma), experienced a 28.6% spike to $0.78 within a three-hour window, according to CoinGecko. However, it subsequently dropped 14.3% to $0.67. This reaction underscores the market’s responsiveness to discussions surrounding Ethereum scaling solutions.

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