Plasma, a once-prominent Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solution, should be revisited by teams currently working on zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machines (EVMs), says Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin.
Invented in 2017, Plasma diverts data and calculations – except for deposits, withdrawals and Merkle roots – to an off-chain environment.
It was replaced by optimistic and zero-knowledge (ZK) rollups, because both solutions offered cheaper client-side data storage costs and security properties that “can’t be matched,” Buterin explained in an article X (Twitter) from November 14.
Release of games for EVM validiums: the return of Plasmahttps://t.co/QgyzXAl0wv
– vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) November 14, 2023
Buterin said that rollups remain the “gold standard,” but that Plasma is an “underappreciated design space” that should not be forgotten.
“Plasma can be an important security enhancement for chains that would otherwise be validiums.” Buterin added.
“The fact that ZK-EVMs are finally coming to fruition this year makes it a great opportunity to re-explore this design space and deliver even more efficient builds to simplify the developer experience and protect user funds.”
Like Plasma, validums move data and calculations off-chain but implement ZK proofs to validate transactions. Plasma, on the other hand, uses fraud proofs, which are much slower.
Buterin argued that improvements to ZK proofs, such as validity proofs, address past limitations of plasma, making it more viable as a scale-up solution.
Adapting Plasma to applications beyond payments also proved to be an Achilles heel for Plasma before ZK proofs entered the mainstream, Buterin acknowledged.
Buterin expects the layer 2 Ethereum ecosystem to evolve with various technological approaches.
Baby, wake up, Vitalik just relaunched Plasma
– sassal.eth (@sassal0x) November 14, 2023
Related: Has Ethereum silently abandoned plasma?
Minimal Viable Plasma, Plasma Cash and Plasma Cashflow are some of the iterations from Plasma.
Company Polygon Labs, focused on scaling Ethereum Layer 2, implemented Plasma in 2019, but has since implemented several other solutions.
Plasma’s abandonment has been partially attributed to Plasma Group, a non-profit research company which announced it would stop working on Ethereum-based scalability in January 2020.
OMG, the token of OMG Network – which uses Plasma – soared 28.6% to $0.78 in a three-hour window after Buterin’s release, according to CoinGecko. However, it has since fallen 14.3% to $0.67.
Review: ZK-rollups are “the end game” for scaling blockchains: Founder of Polygon Miden