Japanese Crypto Influencer Calls Ethereum Improvement Proposal 4844 a ‘Layer 1 Middle Ground’

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According to Mai Fujimoto, a Japanese crypto influencer and co-founder of Intmax, the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 4844 – also known as proto-danksharding – have emerged as a solid solution for addressing the Ethereum network’s scalability challenges.


The EIP 4844 is also significant for scaling solutions such as zero-knowledge rollups (zkrollups) and Layer 2 chains like Optimistic because it reduces the storage task of nodes and lowers the fees.

‘Layer 1 Middle Ground’

In her responses to Bitcoin.com News, Fujimoto said she also views proto-danksharding as a “Layer 1 middle ground.” From being a large block in the short term, the blob can also function as a small block over a long period, the Intmax co-founder explained. Despite being a breakthrough solution, Fujimoto argued that the EIP 4844 may not remain as effective if the rollup becomes widely used.

Regarding the assertion that zkrollups are the future of Ethereum Layer 2 scaling, Fujimoto agreed and claimed that these can make typical decentralized finance (defi) platforms like Uniswap scalable. Elsewhere in her responses sent via Telegram, Fujimoto also discussed data availability attacks and how stateless architecture helps decentralized applications (dapps) overcome such attacks.

Below are Fujimoto’s responses to all the questions posed.

Bitcoin.com News (BCN): You have been in the crypto space since 2011, having spent over a decade generating awareness about Bitcoin and crypto. What originally got you into crypto and now more than a decade later launch Intmax?

Mai Fujimoto (MF): As I vividly remember, Roger Ver at a dinner party in 2011 introduced me to the concept of Bitcoin. His words clearly indicated how this new digital currency could change the definition of money and the future of payments. I was all ears as I was facing issues with expensive cross border fiat remittances for my donation platform for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan in 2011, and this idea came to me as a rescue.

I would happily call myself orange-pilled but as Bitcoin’s popularity soared, the network congestion became a perennial issue, and with that came high transaction fees. In Bitcoin, there is already an amazing mechanism called Lightning Network in progress, which allows for almost zero gas fees.

However, on Ethereum, there hasn’t been a solution yet that can provide gas fees close to zero like Lightning Network. Ethereum was facing similar scalability issues and needed a more robust solution as it wasn’t just a store of value like Bitcoin but a Turing-complete blockchain where programmers could build decentralized apps. This was enough of a push for me to co-found Intmax along with Leona Hioki, aiming to create a solution to Ethereum’s limitations.

BCN: Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has been a vocal advocate of Plasma as a solution to challenges in blockchain scalability and privacy. Could you briefly touch on how the new Plasma solves Ethereum’s scaling problems?

MF: I think Plasma was introduced as one of the most efficient off-chain scaling that drastically reduced Ethereum’s gas fees and one of the biggest problems with Plasma was the necessity of running nodes to be safe. Now, Plasma Next takes a perfect middle ground, combining the features of client-side ZK and Plasma.

The unique selling proposition of Plasma Next is that it’s completely stateless and free from data cost, also referred to as Data Availability (DA), and at the same time eliminates the necessity of running nodes, something that the engineering people call “exit game”. To make a practical Plasma, this part is not inevitable since not all people can set up a node. Engineers in the team said Plasma Next is the complete version of Plasma. I heard there were many types of Plasma in 2018 proposed by super wise people but there was no Plasma without a node running on the user side.

I believe that our long-term research work on addressing the limitations of Plasma was unquestionably one of the reasons for Vitalik to post the blog “Return of Plasma,” and the Ethereum co-founder even mentioned Intmax in the context of privacy. In that blog, “exit games for EVM validiums” was the main topic, but Plasma Next does not do exit games. When I hear that from my colleagues, I feel it’s going the right and safe way since the nodes and games sound too complex for me.

BCN: Intmax has just launched Plasma Next. Can you briefly touch on this and why developers should care about it?

FJ: What is crazy about Plasma Next is that the fee can be stable regardless of the number of users in the network, and this is the meaning of stateless. You can have stability in all situations and privacy at the same time, so I believe this would be the most efficient payment solution. Developers can build stateless applications on Plasma Next, and I hope this will lead to a new genre of dapps. Of course, stateless applications will be really scalable and confidential from the beginning.

From a product perspective, this can be a “payment revolution” by open source. So it’s actually not a product or a network but an open-source free software for everyone who wants to make the best payment system. We published this with MIT & Apache License, but this free software is like Apache itself.

BCN: Why are zero-knowledge (zk) rollups viewed as the future of Ethereum’s Layer 2 scaling? What are your views on their utility for developers?

MF: Zkrollups are great for scaling smart contracts and defi. And this movement made today’s ZKP space as far as I heard. We are using ZKP technology for Plasma, so we are not focusing on Zkrollup now, but I think Zkrollup is the mainstream of scaling Ethereum because this can make usual defi like Uniswap scalable. At a later stage, we’ll connect Plasma Next free software to the stateless Zkrollup of Intmax. I’m looking forward to seeing that as well.

BCN: Could you elaborate on stateful versus stateless architecture? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each for developers and what does a stateless Zkrollup offer that ordinary Zkrollups do not?

MF: Literally, stateful architectures maintain the traditional robustness of the blockchain by keeping all account information, like balances and contract data on-chain. It’s possible for developers to access current states in a flash, although it might be slower due to the heavy data load that can turn out to be a scalability bottleneck. And like we also discussed earlier, traditional Zkrollups make transaction processing off-chain, bundle them and use Zk-proofs to validate them.

In stateless architecture, there’s no need to store the state on-chain, and ultimately there’s less weight on the blockchain resulting in more scalability and greater efficiency.

BCN: The Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 4844, also known as proto-danksharding, is another major step in enhancing the scalability of the Ethereum network. What does the EIP4844 mean for the rollups, both optimistic and ZK?

MF: Within the Ethereum community, scalability discussions are endless! The advent of blobs with Proto-Danksharding has been a solid step for solving Ethereum’s scalability issues. Quoting this, one can say that it is also very exciting for both the Optimistic and the Zkrollups.

It’s a temporary storage, and nodes will erase this after several weeks. So, it lightens the storaging task of nodes and lowers the fees. By the way, in 2017, I was really interested in the small block vs big block war in the Bitcoin space called UASF. I was close to the small block party but met and interviewed Jihan Wu as well for being neutral. At that time, people thought there’s only two ways, big block or small block, but I think that this blob solution as L1 is a middle ground, the temporal big block and also small block for a long time.

BCN: What are Data Availability Attacks and can a stateless architecture help decentralized applications (dapps) resist such attacks?

MF: Data Availability Attacks can ruin Rollups and all the funds on them could get frozen or stolen. In Rollups, I heard that there’s no good way to avoid that efficiently and the EIP4844 is a good way to take the middle ground. Without transaction history, databases including users’ funds can get lost, so Rollups are putting that data on cheap blobs. But cheap blobs are temporary then somebody who wants to maintain rollup keeps it.

Blobs are not infinite, so if a lot of people come to a Rollup, it leads to a high gas fee again. It’s not for a billion people. A stateless architecture can avoid this problem since it does not use DA basically and it’s free from the number of users. This can accommodate almost all people on this planet.

What are your thoughts about this interview? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

Source: news.bitcoin.com.