In a surprise appearance at the EthCC Ethereum Community Conference in Paris on Friday, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin presented a scaling solution for the plasma, a smart contract system he is looking to increase the computing potential of the world’s second largest blockchain.
Created by Buterin and Bitcoin Lightning Network co-creator Joseph Poon last year, the scaling solution is one of many development courses that aims to strengthen the capacity of Ethereum, specifically working on the creation of a layer of smart contracts that can interact with the main blockchain.
Buterin has described a way to limit this to a handful of data points.
“The main benefit here is that basically the amount of data that clients need to process goes down by a lot,” Buterin explained.
Rather than having to download the history of the plasma, users would be able to generate “plasma coins” by sending a deposit to the contract. So, instead of downloading everything and verifying it, users can simply track their tokens
“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 said.
Created by Buterin and the developers, Dan Robinson and Karl Floersch, the idea has not been tested yet. However, according to Buterin, this minimized system will be able to protect cryptocurrency exchanges from large-scale hacks.
Rather than dealing directly with the user’s funds, the vision is that exchanges could provide order book functionality and insure losses through plasma contracts.
“Hopefully when the next multi-billion dollar exchange written by a totally incompetent developer is hacked, no one will lose money,” Buterin said.
And crucially, the discovery could help accelerate scaling efforts at a time where the platform is under pressure to keep up with the demands of an expanding user base.
In a nod to this, Buterin said: