Written by William Peaster
As the world’s premier smart contract platform, Ethereum blockspace is in extremely high demand lately. This has led to gas prices -- i.e. the ETH fee you pay to process Ethereum transactions -- becoming acutely painful for many users.
The answer? Layer-two (L2) scaling solutions that can facilitate rapid and affordable transactions off the Ethereum main chain, thereby giving users the option for superior transactional experiences and taking pressure off the demand for Ethereum L1 blockspace.
Ethereum’s Scaling Horizon
The Ethereum ecosystem is taking a variety of scaling approaches.
At the L1 level, Ethereum will eventually embrace sharding, a technique that will entail splitting Ethereum’s main chain activity across 64 shard chains. Yet sharding’s still several years away, which brings us to Ethereum’s blossoming L2 scaling solutions.
These L2 solutions come in five main varieties, which are as follows:
Rollups(i.e. Optimistic rollups, or ORUs, and Zk-rollups)
Plasma(e.g. Matic Network, OMG Network offer Plasma solutions)
State Channels (e.g. Connext)
Sidechains (e.g. xDai, Ronin)
Lastly, we’re starting to see the early makings of an L3 arena too. That’s because Connext recently launchedVector, a interoperability-focused “crosschain routing network for Ethereum, L2s, and Eth2 shards,” for example.
L2 Projects You Can Use Today
L2 scaling solutions are starting to arrive on the scene, so there’s more than a few L2 projects you can already test on in the here and now. These efforts span decentralized finance (DeFi) projects and non-fungible token (NFT) projects.
Loopring - a Zk-rollup DEX
Quickswap - a Uniswap fork on Matic Network (rebranded to Polygon)
Polymarket - decentralized predictions marketplace integrated with Matic
DeversiFi - a DEX based on StarkEx Validium tech
Fuel - L2 transactions and swaps protocol
L2 NFT Projects
OpenSea - just opened a new Matic-powered NFT marketplace
Aavegotchi - onboarded with Matic
Axie Infinity - just rolled out Ronin sidechain
These are just some of Ethereum’s more prominent dapps that have made L2 pivots, and this list is growing all the while as more projects take the leap to overcome painful gas fees and while more and more L2 projects are rolling out mainnet solutions.
These are still the early days of L2 scaling, of course, but as we know from the cryptoeconomy in general, things can move fast once initial traction is gained. We’re seeing this initial traction with Ethereum’s rising L2s now.
The Future Is Multi-Chain
What does the future look like for Ethereum scaling? Varied and interconnected.
For instance, this week we saw Ethereum L2 project Matic Network rebrand to Polygon. As part of the shift, Polygon is making a bid to become Ethereum’s “Internet of blockchains” by expanding beyond just Plasma and PoS chains into an all-out L2 hub offering ORUs, Zk-rollups, sidechain support, and more.
This, I think, offers a glimpse of the years ahead. All of these scaling solutions will cohabitate and interconnect, and thus projects like Polygon and Connext’s Vector will take on added importance going forward.
It’s like Ryan Sean Adams, the founder ofBanklessand one of Polygon’s newly-welcomed advisors, said on the news:
“I believe the future of crypto is a multi-chain world, but one where individual chains are secured by high value monetary networks like Ethereum. We cannot sacrifice decentralization in pursuit of scalability. This is why the community is rallying around technologies like Polygon. Polygon is the internet of chains vision done right, i.e. built on Ethereum.”
This post is published for Cryptowriter in association with Voice.