Plasma Slows Down; SNARKs Becomes New Scaling Solution for Ethereum

Scaling Ethereum has become more diverse as solutions meet one roadblock after the other due to Blockchain’s continuous growth.

Meanwhile, a concept extensively proclaimed as Ethereum’s answer to short-term scaling spearheads this transition. Enter Plasma. Developers behind the technology have already created five different versions of the protocol. However, it appears that development is not progressing as initially planned as very few actionable codes have been built more than a year after the project was initiated.

But now that Plasma is slowing down, attention shifts to zk-SNARKs, a type of cryptography led by privacy-focused digital currency Zcash. As a matter of fact, startups are already welcoming the technology, which permits developers to merge transactions into batches, as they attempt to scale the network amid other efforts to expand, upgrade, and increase Ethereum.

For instance, prediction market platform Gnosis is now exploring zk-SNARKs in order to boost a decentralized exchange called “Snapp” (snark dapp). Meanwhile, barryWhiteHat has also utilized the technology in developing a “roll-up,” another snapp which can eventually be applied to scale Ethereum more extensively.

Even the creator of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin has written about the promise of such an approach, saying that it can be used to obtain 500 transactions per second in the short-term.

Remarkably, as progress on Ethereum’s longer term, high-performance rewrite Serenity (sometimes referred to as Shasper or Ethereum 2.0) ensues, developers have been suggesting that the switch is still two more years away. Because of this, developers are now eyeing more immediate alternatives to address the increase in the volume of users on the network.

This is quite evident during Ethereum’s annual gathering of developers, the Devcon4, where a conspicuous sense of anticipation revolves around zk-SNARKs and its applications.

Devcon4 featured seven tracks devoted to the tech and other associated systems. During the event, decentralized exchange OmiseGo plasma researcher Kelvin Fichter even dubbed the hype as “snark-nado.”

For his part, Stefan George, the chief technology officer of Gnosis, clarifies that what is so attractive about the approach is not only does it have the capacity to be more decentralized than plasma, but it is also ready for release in the “near-term.” He adds that it is also a “great scalability tool,” which Ethereum is missing. He continues that everyone can use it immediately without having to wait.