On August 9th, the OmiseGo (OMG) project sent the following tweet:
Still in working draft phase, the Plasma whitepaper outlines what authors Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum) and Joseph Poon (co-creator of the Lightning Network) believe to be a viable scaling solution for the Ethereum project. Scaling first became an issue for Ethereum earlier this year when there was so much traffic from ICO funding that for the first time Ethereum users experienced real network congestion. In Ethereum terms, a few minutes is a long time, since, contrasted with Bitcoin at least, transactions get into Ethereum blocks very quickly.
The whitepaper seems cognizant of this fact, and also speaks to the fundamental scaling war that took place in the Bitcoin world with passages like the following:
We propose a method for decentralized autonomous applications to scale to process not only financial activity, but also construct economic incentives for globally persistent data services, which may produce an alternative to centralized server farms.
One of the big issues of contention in the Bitcoin scaling war was the fact that the larger blocks became, the more expensive and dedicated equipment would have to become in order to be a full participant in the Bitcoin network. Scaling solutions which avoid this are following the old adage: a smart man learns from his mistakes; a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
As to how Plasma intends to get the job done, well, that’s really outside the scope of one article, so you should read the paper yourself. However, in the abstract they tell us:
The greatest complexity around global enforcement of non-global data revolves around data availability and block withholding attacks, Plasma has mitigations for this issue by allowing for exiting faulty chains while also creating mechanisms to incentivize and enforce continued correct execution of data. […] As only merkleized commitments are broadcast periodically to the root blockchain (i.e. Ethereum) during non-faulty states, this can allow for incredibly scalable, low cost transactions and computation. Plasma enables persistently operating decentralized applications at high scale.
The Spectre of OmiseGo
OmiseGo is a payment system built on Ethereum. According to themselves, they are already aiming to be compliant with the Plasma scaling proposals. Buterin has a close relationship with the development of OMG, so it would seem to be a legitimate expectation that this project will indeed deliver the goods.
OMG has seen crazy trading over the past two weeks, rising from less than $2 to now over $8 per token:
Asset prices are all over the place, but OMG now has the second highest market capitalization of all Ethereum assets.
Could this be Vitalik Buterin’s move away from Ethereum, as he said he would eventually? Certainly, that would increase confidence in the OMG platform all the more. The man has a delayed midas touch when it comes to cryptocurrency technology.