Optimistic Rollups - they’ve been the talk of the town in Ethereum for a while now and, as I wrote about the other day, we’re finally seeing implementations of this layer 2 scaling technology go live. Today, Vitalik published a post that outlines what a “rollup-centric Ethereum roadmap” would look like which was a very interesting read for a number of reasons.
I highly suggest giving the actual post a full read but the tl;dr is this: Vitalik is basically suggesting that we can fulfill the vision of a scalable Proof of Stake network in eth2 at phase 1.5 (the eth1 <> eth2 merger phase) instead of phase 2. We can achieve this by utilizing shard chains as data availability layers and using rollups as the execution environments (instead of the shards).
The main reasoning Vitalik gives for focusing our energy on this rollout plan instead of on getting to phase 2 is he believes that by the time phase 2 rolls around, we’ll already have a bustling layer 2 ecosystem which optimistic rollups will be a big part of. Basically, the network effects will be too strong and we may have wasted research and development effort on phase 2 instead of focusing on phase 1 and 1.5. This would be akin to basically trying to build an “Ethereum killer” - not an easy feat!
Personally I’m a big fan of this proposal. I’ve been saying for a while that I believe Ethereum will become the global financial settlement layer for the world and a rollup-centric design fits right into that. Imagine that the base-layer of Ethereum becomes an ultra-decentralized and ultra-secure layer for these layer 2 constructions to settle on while end-users get to experience similar security guarantees but with ultra-low fees and near-instant transactions on layer 2.
You may be thinking, isn’t this similar to the path Bitcoin is taking with its scaling approach? Well in a way, yes, but the key difference here is that because Ethereum’s layer 1 is much more expressive than Bitcoin (it can execute smart contracts), we can do much more complex transactions and host advanced scaling technologies like rollups. On top of this, Ethereum’s design and economic properties will, in theory, be much better when EIP-1559 and Proof of Stake are implemented which will hopefully make it the most secure settlement layer on the planet - even more secure than Bitcoin.
You can also watch Vitalik speak in more detail about this proposal on his ETHOnline talk today by heading here.
Have a great weekend everyone,
All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.