What is Ethereum Plasma?

What is Ethereum Plasma?

One of the biggest concerns that the Ethereum Blockchain network has is poor scalability. The limitations faced by the network in terms of capacity and speed prevent it from being adopted on a global scale.

ETH Plasma was suggested by the co-founder of the Ethereum coin, Vitalik Buterin, in partnership with Joseph Poon. The thought was born in August 2017 as a technical solution to the scalability problem in the Ethereum Blockchain network. Along with Thaddeus Dryja, Joseph Poon was also responsible for the Lightnin Network project, which like Plasma, is a scalability solution, proposed for Bitcoin in 2015.

Although Plasma and Lightning Network have the same concepts to solve scalability problems in Blockchain networks, each one of them has different mechanisms and peculiarities.

This article will briefly introduce the Ethereum Plasma, but keep in mind that Plasma itself is not a project, but rather an out-of-chain scalability technique or a framework for building scalable applications, which can be implemented in many ways by different research groups or companies.

How Does Plasma Work?

The main idea of ​​Ethereum Plasma is to establish a platform of side chains that will communicate and interact as moderately as possible with the main one (in this case, the Block Chain Ethereum).

Such a structure is being designed to operate as a tree of Blockchain, organized hierarchically so that numerous smaller chains can be created based on the main chain. These smaller chains are also known as Plasma Chains or Child Chains.

Plasma's framework is built using smart contracts and Merkle Trees, making it possible to create an unlimited number of children's chains — which are essentially smaller copies of their parent, the Ethereum Blockchain. On top of each child chain, more chains can be created and this is what creates a tree-like structure.

What is Ethereum Plasma?

In brief, each Plasma child chain is a customizable smart contract that can be designed to work uniquely to meet different needs.

This means that each stream can coexist and operate independently. Eventually, Plasma will make it possible for companies and business implement scalable solutions in many different ways, according to their specific areas and needs.

Therefore, if Plasma is successful in its development and implementation on the Ethereum network, the main chain is less likely to become congested because each child chain would be designed to work in different ways in an attempt to achieve specific goals — which are not always directly related to those in the main chain. As a result, child chains will have the power to alleviate the total workload of the main chain.

Anti-Fraud Test

Communication between the child chain and the main chains is guaranteed by checks anti fraud, as the main chain is responsible for keeping the network safe and punishing malicious agents.

Each child chain has its own lock validation mechanism and a particular anti-fraud implementation, which can be built on various consensus algorithms. The most common are the Proof of Stake, Proof of Work and Proof of Authority.

Anti-fraud evidence ensures that, in cases of malicious activity, users have a chance to report the rogue nodes, protect their funds and exit the transaction (which involves an interaction with the main chain). In other words, anti-fraud evidence is used as a mechanism by which Plasma child chains have a chance to file a complaint against their main chain.

MapReduce

White paper Plasma also features a very interesting application of the well-known calculus called MapReduce. Basically speaking, MapReduce is a very useful set of functions for organizing and computing data within various information centers.

MapReduce

 

In the Plasma context, these information centers are Blockchains, and the tree-like structures allow a MapReduce application as a way to facilitate data verification within that chain, which satisfactorily increases network efficiency.

Mass Exit Problem

One of Plasma's main points of concern is the Bulk Exit issue, which refers to a scenario where multiple users try to exit your Plasma chain simultaneously, causing overhead and congestion on the main network. This can be caused by fraudulent activities, network attacks, or critical failures that Plasma chains may experience.

Conclusion

Plasma is essentially an off-chain solution that seeks to significantly increase the overall performance of the Ethereum network by creating a tree-like structure with several smaller chains. These currents would relieve the load on the main current, which would be able to process more transactions per second.

A hierarchical model of interlocking block currents as proposed by Plasma has great potential and is currently being tested by several research groups. With proper development, Plasma will likely increase the efficiency of the Ethereum blockchain as well as provide a better development platform for decentralized applications.

Furthermore, the idea can be adapted and implemented by other cryptocurrency networks as a way to escape future scalability problems.

Ethereum (ETH) Plasma is an open project and public repository and can be found on GitHub. In addition to Ethereum, there are several other Cryptocurrencies and repositories that currently work with Plasma. OmiseGO, Loom Network and FourthStateLabs are some examples.

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