The Ethereum layer 2 ecosystem is expected to continue evolving with various technological approaches, according to co-founder Vitalik Buterin.
Buterin discussed the current landscape of Ethereum’s scaling ecosystem on his personal blog, highlighting different layer 2 protocols that aim to increase scaling capacity, lower costs, and enhance security.
He emphasized the improved security of Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) rollups, pioneered by projects like Arbitrum, Optimism, Scroll, Kakarot, and Taiko.
Different types of layer 2shttps://t.co/ry4VTtWhJ1
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) October 31, 2023
Polygon, a sidechain project, has also developed its own rollup solutions. Additionally, Buterin acknowledged other approaches like zkSync, Arbitrum Stylus, and Starknet.
Buterin believes that the trend of layer 2 projects becoming more heterogeneous will continue due to several reasons.
Furthermore, certain independent layer 1 projects are looking to integrate with the Ethereum ecosystem and potentially become layer 2s.
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However, this transition is challenging as it cannot be fully included in rollup technology at the moment. A delayed transition risks losing momentum and losing significance.
Buterin also mentions that some non-Ethereum projects seek blockchain-based solutions to enhance security. Rather than using “permissioned consortium chains,” they prefer a “halfway-house” level of decentralization.
“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.”
Non-financial applications like games and social media platforms, which do not require high levels of security, also contribute to the scaling technology. Buterin provides a use case of a social media application with different parts requiring varying levels of security.
“Rare and high-value activity like username registration and account recovery should be done on a rollup, but frequent and low-value activity like posts and votes need less security.”
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Buterin acknowledges that the costs associated with rollup fees may not be acceptable for non-blockchain users. Previous blockchain users are accustomed to paying higher prices for on-chain interactions.
The trade-offs between different rollup solutions and their varying scaling capabilities are also discussed by Buterin. The level of connectedness to Ethereum relies on the security of withdrawing to Ethereum from L2s and reading data from the Ethereum blockchain.
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According to Buterin, some applications require high security and tight connectedness, while others prioritize scalability and are willing to compromise on security.
In many cases, starting with something looser today, and moving to a tighter coupling over the next decade as technology improves, may well be optimal.”
Ethereum’s upcoming hard fork, EIP-4844 or “proto-dank sharding,” is expected to enhance the network’s data availability. Buterin also notes that advancements in data compression enable greater functionality.
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