Lightning for Ethereum

Lightning for Ethereum? Buterin & Poon Reveal Details Of Plasma Scaling Plan

Ethereum has one problem that is impossible to turn a blind eye to: it cannot provide support for a large number of users. In the past, developers have discussed this problem as a potential problem, now it affects real users. Recently, the second largest blockchain has shown an inability to provide high bandwidth, which leads to an increase in the cost of executing smart contracts, increases the time of transaction confirmation and does not allow effective ICO campaigns..

This is not to say that there are no projects that are designed to solve this problem, such as sharding, Raiden Network and Truebit. However, in this environment, the developers presented a new solution – Plasma, which can surpass all previous developments in efficiency. Its authors – Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Poon – have outstanding experience in the field of blockchain development, which few can dispute. Buterin is the founder of Ethereum, and Poon is the co-author of the white paper Lightning Network, which presents a roadmap for technology that is considered the best approach to increasing the throughput of the bitcoin blockchain..

Speaking to CoinDesk, Poon said: “People say it is impossible to run anything on the blockchain, but I’m sure it is possible.”.

He truly believes that Ethereum is destined to be the world’s computer that will “replace server farms” and overcome the challenges of scaling.

“For knowledgeable people, all these decentralized applications look like a hype, because a certain trajectory has not yet been set to achieve this goal.”.

However, he believes Plasma will set this trajectory..

In a nutshell, the Ethereum scaling problem can be described as follows: in order to access the history of Ethereum, users are forced to keep a copy of the entire blockchain – a complete register of all transactions and calculations. However, the world’s computer will work with a huge database that users simply cannot store on their devices. Therefore, Ethereum and other blockchains are looking for a way to reduce the amount of information stored on the blockchain directly..

Plasma intends to solve this problem by creating many child blockchains. The system connects the child blockchains with the main blockchain using so-called “fraud proofs”. In many ways, this idea repeats the Lightning Network project for Bitcoin, which was described by Poon a couple of years ago, which is a system of high-level interaction with the underlying blockchain..

However, the scope of the Lightning Network is limited to processing financial transactions, while Plasma develops this idea to more complex calculations, such as Ethereum smart contracts..

“Basically, you have to do math. Let’s say it’s a complex calculation that takes a long time and you ask someone to do it for you, ”says Poon. At this point, someone provides a solution in the form of a kind of monetary obligation, say, for $ 10, stating that the solution is correct. However, any user can say: “No, your decision is wrong, you made a mistake in the seventh step.” If the opponent provides evidence that the initial decision was wrong, other participants can calculate and determine the error. In addition, users can revert the computation back to the main blockchain if they suspect that there is some kind of fraud, resolving the dispute once and for all. Poon believes that since all participants will know that they can be caught and punished, they will not try to cheat the system..

However, some users are skeptical about the proposal. The technical details of the proposal are being actively discussed in a community that has already split into two camps: strong supporters and staunch opponents..

Any public blockchain will eventually hit the limit of its own scale. Bitcoin, the most popular blockchain today, was the first to face this problem, which has been discussed for several years..

Critics say that in the case of Ethereum, this problem will be many times more difficult to solve, because the world computer must operate with much larger amounts of data..

Vlad Zamfir, who implements proof-of-stake in Ethereum, criticized Plasma. The day before yesterday, he published a tweet in which he said that he was “not happy with the project” because he was developing such a solution in 2015 and already then became convinced of its insolvency.

However, Zamfir’s criticism did not convince Poon. She was not convinced either by Buterin, who stated that Plasma is an integral part of a large project to scale Ethereum. However, Poon admitted that his team still has a lot to do. The project will have to be tested for a long time before implementation. He compared Plasma to Lighting, whose developers have been able to achieve tremendous success in recent years, but never completed the project..

But Poon remains optimistic: “I think we will be able to demonstrate that this is all realizable.”.

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