Ethereum 2.0 kicked off, but Layer 2 is also the protagonist

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After many twists and turns, the Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 beacon chain officially launched the genesis block at 8 pm Beijing time on December 1.

For the Ethereum community, this is undoubtedly a crucial milestone: the curtain on the road of Ethereum 2.0 has officially opened, and the overall acceleration of Ethereum from PoW to PoS, and the expansion of dozens of times is further away.

However, Ethereum 2.0 is expected to have several years of landing cycle, several changes in the roadmap, and controversial migration costs. The market value of ETH + DeFi alone is already an economy of nearly 80 billion U.S. dollars, making this “reborn” The major upgrade is still facing heavy fog.

At the same time, a variety of Layer 2 solutions such as Rollup, Plasma, Validium, etc. have emerged in the Ethereum community. They may have more advantages in scalability than the main sharding concept of 2.0, or more in terms of implementation cycle. Can be expected, or more friendly in terms of engineering difficulty.

In a nutshell, at least in the short to medium term, Layer 2 seems to be a more attractive “mechanical skeleton” for Ethereum and the encryption industry, and may even become a long-term solution in the future evolution of Ethereum.

This article aims to clarify the necessity and value of Layer 2 in the context of Ethereum 2.0, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the Layer 2 solution and the current ecological situation.

Layer 2 may be transformed into “plug-in facilities ” of Ethereum infrastructure

For a long time, the community has generally regarded Layer 2 as a transition plan for a certain public chain to mature. It is a “plug-in” whose main chain performance is insufficient to support high concurrent transaction processing. However, PANews learned after the Ethereum community meeting on November 18 that the Ethereum core development team has confirmed that the priority of the Layer 2 solution Rollup should be higher than the original sharding idea. Vitalik clearly stated:

(1) The importance of Phase 2 will not be emphasized for the time being. Phase 1 is dedicated to implementing shard data for use in rollup mode; (2) The beacon chain will have an execution function, that is, after the Eth1-Eth2 merger, the beacon The chain block will directly contain transactions; (3) The three major tasks after Phase 0 implementation: light client support, data sharding, and merging will be advanced in parallel, and any module will be launched as soon as it is ready.

以太坊2.0拉开序幕,但Layer2也是主角

The road to Ethereum 2.0 is long, and important functions need to be added one by one | Source: Tokamak Network

This actually reflects the embarrassing status of the 2.0 core story “sharding”-as a project that is expected to take at least 2-3 years to land, it is currently expected to bring at most a 64-fold increase in the TPS of the Ethereum network. the existing scheme Rollup star Layer2 you can bring up to 100 times higher lifting effect, comparing the two, the strategic value of Layer2 Needless to say, this is the core reason for the aforementioned Ethernet Square route adjustments.

In addition to technical indicators, the design philosophy between Layer2-Layer1 is a key consideration for creating an important position of Layer2.

Vitalik once pointed out that a general idea in the blockchain field is to keep Layer 1 as simple as possible, and build more complex functions on it in the manner of Layer 2. Because changes at the infrastructure level (Layer1) are difficult and easily cause systemic harm. Therefore, he believes that in the short term, Ethereum needs to develop Layer 1 and Layer 2 in parallel, and in the long run, it needs to pay more attention to Layer 2.

If we put this design philosophy in the ETH2.0-Layer2 relationship, we may infer that Ethereum-Layer2 should maintain a long-term coexistence relationship rather than a short-term assistance, especially considering that many Layer2 have now been obtained Public support for important applications, such as Uniswap and Synthetix’s support for Optimistic Rollup, Tether’s support for Plasma-based OMG Network, and Curve’s support for ZK Rollup, are both the current flagship application of the Ethereum ecosystem and the future support. High-end and complex gameplay infrastructure, their attitude in fact determines the status of Layer 2 in the Ethereum ecosystem.

Kevin Jeong, CEO of Tokamak Network , who specializes in on-demand Layer 2 solutions, has a vivid analogy to this problem: “V italik compares Ethereum to a Swiss army knife he created for the blockchain industry. But even if it is a powerful And a variety of tool kits, but it’s definitely not enough for chefs to use Swiss knives in the kitchen. This is not to say that Swiss knives are not good, but Swiss knives are really not enough.”

以太坊2.0拉开序幕,但Layer2也是主角

The long-term value of Layer 2 to Ethereum is already clear, but what is their current development progress? Internal comparison of advantages and disadvantages and what are the use cases?

Layer2 has its own merits, Rollup has two flowers, and it is most likely to be widely adopted

PANews has previously pointed out that the most significant feature of Layer 2 is that it does not have tight coupling, that is, the effectiveness of the main chain (the “beacon chain” in Ethereum 2.0) is not inseparable from the effectiveness of the sub-chains. . In other words, the sub-chain block including the invalid main chain block and the main chain block including the invalid sub-chain block are not synchronized in definition.

At present, there are six main solutions for Ethereum Layer2, which are state channel, side chain, Plasma, Validium, ZKRollup and Optimistic Rollup. Different Layer 2 solutions are different in terms of whether they are custody, on-chain computing, on-chain storage, fraud proof or zero-knowledge proof, etc. PANews has made a detailed table for everyone to grasp.

以太坊2.0拉开序幕,但Layer2也是主角

It can be seen from the chart that different expansion solutions have their own advantages and disadvantages. For Ethereum-based DApp projects, under the circumstance that the ecological pattern of Layer 2 is undetermined, it may be correct to choose Layer 2 solutions according to the needs. Choose, or even use multiple solutions at the same time according to different needs in the same scenario. Tokamak Network also continues this concept. According to Kevin Jeong, “ The on-demand platform built by Tokamak Network can build a sustainable Layer 2 ecosystem . For blockchain projects, such on-demand configuration will also save a lot of time. Energy , let the solution maximize the value.”

For example, if a developer wants to create a social media DAPP, they need to choose a high-throughput and scalable Layer 2 bottom layer. After purchasing a Layer 2 platform token to build a service, they find that they need to enhance privacy, and they need to find a privacy-enhancing agreement such as Aztec , And then purchase Aztec tokens to continue to build, but only to use Aztec. The Tokamak Network makes decision-making more flexible. As an on-demand Layer 2 platform, Tokamak Network can choose and add features such as scalability, composability, privacy, or smart contracts, and there is no need to make different decisions repeatedly. Or buy tokens with different technical agreements.

From the current discussion in the Ethereum community, the Rollup series of solutions that are generally supported by large manufacturers (large applications), develop faster, and have ideal scalability are most likely to be the first to stand out and receive extensive support-the latest round of the Ethereum community The results of the meeting also confirmed this. Of particular note is that Optimistic Rollup is expected to receive more support, mainly due to the support of DeFi giants. Synthetix has made it clear that it will adopt the Optimistic Rollup solution and is advancing related integration work. DeFi “one brother” Uniswap has also opened the Dex demo of Unipig based on this solution on its official website for user experience. In addition, Chainlink, the leading oracle machine, is also expected to adopt Optimistic Rollup.

Optimistic Rollup roadmap and Synthextix adoption time point | Source: Optimism

Layer 2’s benign and orderly competition status and potential wide use cases are commendable, but in my opinion, this also brings a new big problem: DeFi’s composability will be greatly weakened . Take the highly praised Rollup as an example. The ZK and Op solutions are currently not interoperable, which means that the already fragmented liquidity will be further intensified. However, as for DeFi as a whole, Lego blocks are not only the foundation of the foundation, but also higher The integration of dimensions should be the meaning of Layer 2’s question. Imagine if Curve’s stable currency exchange advantage and Uniswap’s comprehensive liquidity advantage are connected, will the transaction volume of Dex reach a higher level?

All in all, the evolution of Ethereum 2.0 is undoubtedly a routine full of exploration and changes. I believe that the Ethereum community is still likely to continue to adjust the roadmap in subsequent meetings, but what is certain is that as the Ethereum ecosystem becomes more and more In a huge ecosystem, the lower the possibility of basic transformation, in this context, Layer 2 will be its long-term partner and infrastructure.