A unique scaling solution
“Plasma is a class of blockchain scaling solutions that allow all data and computation, except for deposits, withdrawals, and Merkle roots, to be kept off-chain,” wrote Buterin. “This opens the door to very large scalability gains that are not bottlenecked by on-chain data availability.”
Originally launched in 2017, Plasma provided a pioneering layer 2 off-chain solution that maintains all data and computation except withdrawals, deposits, and Merkle roots. They are often considered “child chains” off of the primary Ethereum blockchain.
However, in recent years, rapid technological advancements have thrown Plasma to the wayside.
Other scaling solutions and rollups like Optimism, Arbitrum, and Mina have since largely overshadowed Plasma, causing the OMG token to have lost over 97% of its value. However, the momentary spike in OMG’s value following Buterin’s publication could be a promising signal for the technology’s future staying power.
In part, Buterin argues that Plasma’s unique underlying technology makes it quintessential to lowering costs and providing greater data availability.
“Plasma lets us completely sidestep the data availability question, greatly reducing transaction fees,” claimed Buterin.
Similarly, Buterin claims validity proofs, also known as (zk-SNARKS), can serve to further advance the technology.
“Plasma can be a significant security upgrade for chains that would otherwise be validiums,” wrote Buterin.
“Rollups remain the gold standard, and have security properties that cannot be matched,” the blockchain platform founder continued. “This is particularly true from the developer experience perspective: nothing can match the simplicity of an application developer not even having to think about ownership graphs and incentive flows within their application.”
With numerous ZK-EVMS in the works, the Ethereum founder believes now is an opportune time to rediscover Plasma technology.
“The fact that ZK-EVMs are finally coming to fruition this year makes it an excellent opportunity to re-explore this design space, and come up with even more effective constructions to simplify the developer experience and protect users’ funds,” Buterin stated.
Allegations of fraud
Buterin’s blog post touting the benefits of Plasma technology comes following a week of turbulent claims made against him by his former advisor, Steven Nerayoff.
Nerayoff released recordings from 2015 he had with Buterin, suggesting the Ethereum founder stole his ideas. Moreover, he is expected to file a lawsuit alleging fraud against Buterin.
Buterin has not publicly responded to the claims.