Is Plasma completely beaten into the cold? Why the Ethereum development community prefers Rollup technology

Although Plasma technology was initially hoped, developer interest seems to have faded. On January 27, Dragonfly researchers Ashwin Ramachandran and Haseeb Qureshi claimed in a post that Plasma was dead and noted that the Ethereum community is focusing on Optimistic Rollup technology. This news is in stark contrast to the Plasma Group's earlier claim that "Plasma technology is entering production."

History of Plasma technology

Regarding Plasma's technical solution, its original paper was released in August 2017 by Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, and Joseph Poon, author of the Lightning Network paper. The community serves as a guide. In theory, Plasma can transfer most of Ethereum's on-chain transactions off-chain to achieve a significant increase in scalability.

In essence, Plasma is the side chain of the Ethereum main chain. A common problem with side chains is the trust requirements of its operators, and Plasma tries to solve this problem by ensuring the safety of user funds.


But analysts explain that this method has significant practical problems. Users must constantly verify the sidechain, which is a computationally intensive task. In addition, if you need to “evacuate” the sidechain due to security issues, you need to publish its entire history on the Ethereum main chain. This can overload the network to an unmanageable level.

Later in 2018, developers made a series of proposals for improvements, such as the least feasible Plasma and Plasma Cash. But even if they solve some of the previous problems, they will introduce other equally serious problems.

By 2019, the Ethereum development community began exploring a new layer 2 solution and called it "rollup".

The first solution is zk-Rollups, which uses zero-knowledge proofs to ensure the correctness of all transactions on the sidechain. However, the computationally intensive encryption technology behind this solution and the problem of using smart contracts pose serious flaws.

The second iterative technique, called Optimistic Rollup, eliminates the need for zero-knowledge proofs by changing the principles behind consensus rules. The system only assumes that all transactions are valid, not verify every transaction.

According to Dragonfly researchers, this is a solution that the Ethereum community is currently exploring.

Plasma's Obituary

Throughout 2019, the pessimism of Plasma by the Ethereum developer community has generally been ignored by the public.

Back in June 2019, when the developer community transitioned to a rollup solution, Vitalik wrote in a blog post:

"Both scalability solutions have a bright future."

He was referring to Plasma and the sharding scheme.

However, by August 2019, Vitalik changed his mind. He expressed his concerns on Plasma on Twitter. He acknowledged the issues raised by Dragonfly and said that the issue of exiting the sidechain made Plasma available to the public. Words are unrealistic:

"When you can change an account without the consent of the recipient, Plasma exiting the game becomes more difficult because you cannot assume that honest users know their latest status. The channel does not support 'public interest objects' (like Uniswap) at all . "

Soon after, the content of this tweet from Vitalik was deleted.

On January 10 this year, the Plasma Group announced the end of its research on Plasma technology. This news is like a shock to most people in the Ethereum community.

At that time, the explanation given by the research team was that the research work had become unnecessary due to the ongoing implementation, which stated that:

"It's incredible to see so many capable teams pushing Plasma into practical use now. The shift from research to implementation means that our mission as a research institution must also change."

On January 15th, Plasma Group suddenly announced the establishment of a company and changed its name to Optimistic , and began to get involved in the implementation of Optimistic Rollup technology.

This development is a bit of a surprise.

As of now, it seems that the OmiseGo project is still advancing Plasma technology, and its more feasible Plasma implements some general concepts of Optimistic Rollup.

However, the Ethereum development community does not seem to be optimistic about Plasma anymore.

Regarding this issue, representatives of the Ethereum Foundation and Optimistic (formerly Plasma Group) did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Note: it will be updated when there is a response)