Vitalik Introduces New Idea for Plasma Scaling

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin presented a scaling solution for Plasma during his surprise appearance at the Ethereum community conference (EthCC) in Paris on Friday. 

Plasma is a system of smart contracts that aims to increase Ethereum’s computational potential. The scaling solution was developed by Buterin together with Bitcoin Lightning Network co-creator Joseph Poon last year. It is among the multiple under construction that seeks to boost the capacity of Ethereum, explicitly working by building a layer of smart contracts that can interact with the main blockchain.

With the present iteration of the prototype that requires users to validate and download smart contracts in the Plasma system, the Ethereum founder described a way to minimize this to a couple of data points.

“The main benefit here is that basically the amount of data that clients need to process goes down by a lot,” Vitalik said.

It would enable users to generate “Plasma coins” by sending a deposit to the contract instead of downloading the whole Plasma history. Meaning, users could merely track the tokens they have developed throughout that system.

“Now users only have to verify the availability and correctness of the Plasma chain only at the specific index that they want to spend, or the specific index of any coins that they own and coins that they care about,” Buterin stated.

The idea was developed by Buterin and developers Karl Floersch and Dan Robinson and is yet to undergo testing. However, this minimized system could have some significant use cases such as protecting digital currency exchanges from large-scale hacks, as per Buterin.

The vision is to enable exchanges to insure losses and offer order book functionality using Plasma contracts.

“Hopefully when the next multi-billion dollar exchange written by a totally incompetent developer gets hacked, no one will lose any money,” the Ethereum founder said.

More importantly, the discovery could help boost scaling efforts when the platform needs to meet the demands of a growing user base.

“It’s just one simple way to make plasma more scalable and vastly reduce its usage requirements for regular users,” Buterin said.