Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, believes that stacking rollups will not effectively scale Ethereum—but he does have some ideas about the future of Layer 3 scaling. Although Layer 2 platforms are still in their infancy, Vitalik Buterin is already considering Layer 3 scaling.
Buterin discussed how Layer 3 scaling solutions could help Ethereum process transactions more efficiently in a blog post titled “What kind of layer 3s make sense?”
The mainnet of Ethereum currently has a throughput of about 15 transactions per second. Users face network congestion and extremely high gas prices during periods of high activity because their transactions cannot fit into available block space. In November 2021, users paid up to $62.11 for a token swap, which costs about $1.36.
Layer 2 scaling solutions known as “rollups” were created to address this issue. Rollups offload a transaction’s computational data to another chain before delivering an easily verifiable cryptographic transaction proof to Ethereum’s mainnet. This enables transactions to be bundled together, resulting in significant savings in block space.
Rollups, according to Buterin, could help Ethereum reach a throughput of 100,000 transactions per second. Rollups include Arbitrum, Optimism, StarkNet, and zkSync.
Rollups do have some restrictions, though. Buterin claimed in his most recent blog post that data compression issues prevent rollups in their current form from being simply stacked on top of one another.
Data “can be compressed once, but it cannot be compressed again,” he claimed. According to him, the reasoning behind a second compressor can typically be applied to the first compressor if it offers an advantage.
Buterin promotes a novel strategy that uses a “batch verifier contract” with the specific purpose of validating those proofs. For these scaling solutions, this would significantly reduce gas prices without the need to set up a full EVM system as a middle layer. ZK-Rollups would effectively turn into Layer 3; Layer 3 wouldn’t need to be added on top of them.
Buterin added that Layer 3 solutions will permit sub-ecosystems to develop within Layer 2s regardless of how they are constructed.
In fact, cross-domain operations could take place without always going through Ethereum’s mainnet, making transactions much more affordable. For users of Ethereum, that would undoubtedly be good news.
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