Today we’ll talk about the technology called Plasma – with its help Ethereum is going to solve the scalability problems of its blockchain.
Before talking about the problems of Ethereum, first we’ll try to understand how the process of transferring funds on the blockchain occurs. Whatever transaction the user sends, it must pass a check, after which it is added to the block chain.
The blockchain consists entirely of nodes that can be located anywhere in the world. Each such node contains a certain number of transactions that are consistent and not subject to change. The Ethereum network consists of one blockchain. This means that for each transaction, the entire network of nodes must agree that the transaction is valid.
Because of this, Ethereum can only perform 13 operations per second, which is quite a bit. They intend to solve this problem with the help of plasma technology.
What is Ethereum Plasma
The essence of the technology is the separation of the main blockchain – this can significantly increase throughput. Instead of one central blockchain, it is divided into two subsidiary ones that can communicate with the original network.
They can be merged again into one blockchain or you can divide additional networks again and thus get the main blockchain and four subsidiaries. There is no limit to this separation, that is, theoretically, Ethereum can have the potential of infinite scaling with the help of Plasma.
Child chains can have varying complexity. They can have their own matching mechanisms, their own block sizes and their own confirmation time – the design is very flexible with respect to each application.
At first glance, there are many potential holes that make plasma unsafe. Like state channels, Plasma uses the Ethereum blockchain as an arbitrage layer. In the event of an offense, users can always return to the original chain as a reliable source.
The Ethereum parent network and child chains are connected to each other through “root contracts,” which are simply smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain and contain rules that govern each child chain. Thus, the basis is a blockchain that sends small pieces of information about the status of a child blockchain to the root chain.
This does not require consensus changes – only the rules for matching the current state with a smart contract.
How Plasma Technology Subsidiaries Work
The technology is based on the use of smart contracts and the Merkle tree (hash tree), which allows you to create an infinite number of child chains that are no different from the main network, except for size. Each chain performs certain functions, coexisting and working independently. Others can be created at the top of each branch – this is what creates the tree structure.
Replenishment and withdrawal of funds from the plasma chain is provided by fraudulent evidence. This provides the ability to exchange, and also allows you to process more transactions with less data loading on the underlying platform. Any user can send funds to another, and money transfers can be paid and withdrawn in the coin of the native platform.
The connection between the branches and the root chain is provided by evidence of fraud (Fraud proofs). Each child chain uses personalized methods to verify operations and a fraud-proof implementation that is built around consensus algorithms. The most common are PoS, PoW, and PoA.
Fraud proofs guarantee that in case of illegal actions, users can report dishonest nodes, protect their assets and exit the process (when interacting with the main blockchain).
That is, evidence of fraud is used as a mechanism by which a Plasma child chain lodges a complaint with its parent or root chain. This evidence uses an interactive withdrawal protocol. To withdraw a certain amount, you need time and confirmation through the UTXO model.
If the event seems to be wrong, it is considered fraudulent, and the confirmation is canceled, and participants can quickly get out of the wrong plasma chain.
An off-chain plasma scaling solution can bring a whole new level of transaction speed to existing Ethereum blockchain systems, which now have many limitations. At the moment, the technology is still under development and testing, but its implementation in the future will become a new word in the cryptocurrency community.