Avoiding the Rollup battlefield, Connext chose to use the state channel to open up the Layer 2 “island”

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Connext originally developed a Layer 2 expansion solution based on state channel technology. However, under the premise that the Ethereum community is more focused on expansion solutions such as Rollup, they have changed their thinking in a timely manner. Instead of competing with these Rollups, they provide them with A set of fast transaction networks across Layer 2.

Written by: Pan Zhixiong

As the major Ethereum Layer 2 expansion networks are iterating and building ecosystems at a rapid rate, the problem of liquidity isolation between the various Layer 2 networks has gradually been exposed. How to easily transfer assets between different networks has become a very important special topic.

The Vector technology developed by the Connext team, which has been conquering state channel technology before, is currently the most important solution in this field. By building fast state channels between different Layer 2 networks, you can quickly migrate at very low cost. Assets, improve the efficiency of the network.

State channel is a special type of layer 2 network expansion solution. Bitcoin Lightning Network technology can also be summarized as state channel technology, which can usually be used to solve small payment scenarios and move high-frequency transactions to the chain for processing. Reduce the pressure on the chain.

The Connext team actually launched the state channel technology on the Ethereum mainnet very early, and launched version 2.0 in September 2019, but as for the adoption rate, there are actually few reports. According to the ecological illustration book compiled by the official before, it is mainly based on wallets, and the supported applications have not entered the vision of most people.

So Connext began to set foot in new product directions in 2020. Although they still use the state channel technology they are most familiar with, the entry point has changed. In August last year, Connext participated in the expansion challenge initiated by Reddit and launched the Spacefold solution to try to solve the high-frequency needs of social networking scenarios, which also laid the foundation for the subsequent Vector.

In November last year, Connext officially announced the launch of Vector technology, and launched the Ethereum testnet, and then launched the Ethereum mainnet in January this year, but the version number is 0.1.0, so it can be considered that it is still in the early stage, and the follow-up will be in the In the first quarter and the second quarter, a more complete version will be launched in stages.

Multiple Layer 2 networks may weaken Ethereum’s advantage

There is no doubt that Layer 2 will be the most important infrastructure of the Ethereum network this year, the “Great Leap Forward”. After all, Ethereum 2.0 is still a distant story (in the context of the cryptocurrency industry). With the blessing of Layer 2, each application can access more users in a faster and lower cost way.

At present, general-purpose Layer 2 networks such as Optimism, Matter Labs and Offchain Labs, which have ecological influence and are supported by leading venture capital institutions, are expected to achieve greater development this year. At the same time, some dedicated Layer 2 networks will also It may be possible to cut into some specific application scenarios to reduce the cost of transfer and transaction.

However, the simultaneous development of multiple Layer 2 networks has aggravated the liquidity fragmentation between various networks to a certain extent, and may weaken the overall consensus of Ethereum. Ordinary users may not only operate and trade in a Layer 2 network, so fast and efficient fund settlement across Layer 2 is a rigid need in the long run.

Avoiding the Rollup battlefield, Connext chose to use the state channel to open up the Layer 2 "island"

Of course, users can use Ethereum Layer 1 for cross-Layer 2 transactions. For example, users can withdraw Optimism assets to Layer 1, and then recharge to zkSync. However, this is very unfriendly to most users (the Gas is very high), and the settlement speed may also be affected (some Layer 2 networks have a few days to withdraw).

How Connext realizes rapid asset migration

Connext originally developed a Layer 2 expansion solution based on state channel technology. However, under the premise that the Ethereum community is more focused on expansion solutions such as Rollup, they have changed their thinking in a timely manner. Instead of competing with these Rollups, they provide them with A set of fast transaction networks across Layer 2.

Even according to the Connext team, the Vector routing network technology they developed can link various Layer 2, Ethereum 2.0 shards and other public chain networks. This also shows that their technology is suitable for larger scenarios, but under the current ecological development premise, satisfying the rapid transactions between Layer 2 networks is more needed by the community.

Since they are all state channel technologies, the implementation method can be compared with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. Deploying Connext smart contracts in different Layer 2 networks, users only need to submit assets to the Connext network through this contract, and then they can perform off-chain high-frequency transfers with some operators to continuously update the latest status. Finally, settlement can be done in the Layer 2 network.

The Connext team stated that this solution can even support non-EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible chains, but it may still require Turing completeness.

In order to realize the permissionless and trustless network, the state channel technology also needs a watchtower (Watchtower) facility, including Bitcoin’s Lightning Network also has such a mechanism. If the user is offline or there is any dispute about the status of the off-chain transaction, the watchtower can intervene in this dispute based on the previous observation data and provide the latest and accurate status data.

The follow-up still has to rely on the Layer 2 network progress

This month, Connext released version 0.1.0 of the Vector mainnet, but it is still in the very early stage 0. Vector has not yet connected to any other Layer 2 networks in the mainnet.

Avoiding the Rollup battlefield, Connext chose to use the state channel to open up the Layer 2 "island"

According to the current roadmap, the first phase will be launched in the first quarter of this year, supporting functions such as multi-hop transfers and centralized routing. Phase 2 will be launched in the second quarter of this year, and will eventually support functions such as peer-to-peer networks, decentralized messaging, and decentralized routing.

However, the more core issue is when will Connext be able to access and support the most important Layer 2 networks at the moment. Both Optimism and Offchain Labs networks plan to start a relatively large-scale mainnet public test around March, and Matic is also increasing Many applications have begun to be adopted, and the zkSync network may have to wait for official follow-up progress.

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