Vitalik Buterin, co-creator of Ethereum (ETH), presented a new roadmap that will guide the development of this network. While work continues on version 2.0, the current network will focus on second-layer solutions to achieve more scalability.
Specifically, development efforts will focus on the rollup protocol, which allows smart contracts to be executed in a second layer. By doing this, the protection of the Ethereum network is not lost and its scalability is considerably increased. “You get 100x scalability, even without ETH 2.0,” said Buterin.
A quick recap of the short and medium term of Ethereum scaling.
1. Ultra-high scaling with sharding + rollups will be possible *in phase 1*
2. Sharding is NOT "cancelled"
3. Get on a rollup asap; you get 100x scaling even without eth2 pic.twitter.com/fXW0Q3iAxu
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) October 5, 2020
Currently, Ethereum supports up to 15 transactions per second. If there is the massive adoption of rollups, this number could rise to 3,000 and, if applied in Ethereum 2.0, 100,000 transactions per second could take place, according to Buterin’s theory.
With rollup, aggregators publish only the minimum information needed to execute a smart contract, without the need for testing. It is assumed that aggregators operate without committing fraud (which is why it is said to be an optimistic protocol) and reserve the tests for cases where malicious behavior is detected.
There is no other way to achieve scalability in Ethereum
Buterin, in his publication at the Ethereum Magicians forum, pointed out the importance and urgent need for this kind of progress. According to him, even in the early stages of Ethereum 2.0, scalability will not be possible if second-tier solutions like these are not implemented.
Vitalik Buterin, co-creator of Ethereum, said:
“The ETH 2.0 roadmap offers scalability and the stages prior to ETH 2.0 are rapidly approaching. But base-layer scalability for applications is only presented as the last important phase of ETH 2.0.”
In addition, he noted that currently “layer 1 is almost unusable for many kinds of applications and there is no route other than a second layer to bring us to scalability in the short and medium-term.”
It is worth clarifying that Ethereum already has second-layer solutions. Among these, we can mention Plasma, a version of Bitcoin’s Lightning network adapted to smart contracts. The Lightning Network was the first second layer solution in cryptocurrencies, proposed in 2015, and launched in January 2018.
The Sharding protocol for Ethereum is Still in Place
Buterin said this roadmap does not imply that the sharding protocol is canceled. Sharding proposes to solve network congestion by segmenting and splitting the validation of its transactions into different groups of nodes. The information is divided among these nodes and only after a certain number of blocks is it settled in the mainnet. Thus, the shard nodes do not need to store the complete blockchain.
A call to DeFi protocol developers
Buterin was hopeful that the developers of DeFi projects would join this work. “They have a great incentive to save fees and make sure their systems remain user-friendly; we can do a lot by relying on them as highly motivated early-adopters,” he wrote.
He considers using DeFi not only “valuable” but also “essential“. The co-creator of Ethereum considers projects like Uniswap or some stablecoins “extremely valuable“. However, he urged caution with other DeFi projects, such as yield farming protocols, which he described as unsustainable.
An inclusive roadmap
The co-creator of Ethereum hopes that this roadmap focused on second layer protocols will also serve to unite the community of developers. He intends that those who are already working on this kind of solution join their efforts together and do not continue advancing in an isolated way.
Some second layer projects in Ethereum are Matic Network, which aims to achieve fast and cheap transactions without losing security; Machinomy, which seeks to specialize in micro-payments; and Counterfactual that seeks to facilitate interaction with the world outside the blockchain in decentralized applications. There is also StarkWare, which uses Zk-Rollups to scale Ethereum with its StarkEx product.
“The most creative researchers and developers often want to be in a position of great influence on their own small island and not in a position of little influence discussing with everyone else the future of Ethereum,” Vitalik Buterin wrote.