Without any prior announcement, Vitalik dropped us a pretty nice bomb this week.
He tweeted out
a white paper for Plasma
, co-authored with Joseph Poon
Joseph is best know for his work in ideating Lightning Network
(which today announced feature freeze towards a quick release of version 1 🎉).
For the uninitiated, LN is a tool that basically transforms BTC into an actually usable payment method, by recording transactions in lightning channels that get reconciled to the main blockchain once in a while, instead of having to write every single tx to the mainnet.
Think of it like micro-payments for Bitcoin.
But Ethereum already has a Lightning Network-like protocol, Raiden
, which implements the same mechanics.
So what's the hype?Plasma in a sentence:
A network of child blockchains to offload transaction and computation load from the main net.
The point of Plasma is that not only asset transfers are moved off chain to new channels, but now also full smart contract computations can be moved.
The reaction to Plasma has been mixed, as there are many non-believers in child- and side-chains for security reasons.
Interesting things to think about:
- Ethereum vs Parity war?
It seems like there's more and more a Vitalik vs Wood war going on. Gavin Wood (the co-founder of Ethereum) is busy at work at Parity (fixing multisig bugs and) developing Polkadot, a protocol with the same ambitions as Plasma, albeit a bit different - which is running a pre-sale now and will ICO soon.- ETH holy trinity expanded.
Ethereum looks a bit like a Google or Facebook already, developing "internally" or embedding many different pieces of tech that are also being pursued by external teams. They already had Swarm for storage (which would compete with Filecoin, Storj, Sia, etc.) and Whisper for messaging. This looks like an addition to all of the above.
- How will Plasma impact Cosmos and Polkadot?
Two very, very interesting projects were already working on inter-chain operability.
Cosmos, with the Tendermint protocol, raised $17M in a very successful ICO, and continues to ship like crazy
Polkadot, mentioned above, is running a Filecoin-sized presale at the moment, so this will be a fun one to watch.
- Could this impact projects like IOTA too?
Some argue the tangle is now basically implementable on top of ETH itself..
We could see some specific IoT channels.
Whatever the case, the technical innovation going on in the space today boggles the mind. We are fortunate to be living in a time that will be remembered for all its new discoveries about decentralized consensus computing.
(Actual white paper here
(10-minute summary here
OmiseGo naturally shot up in price like crazy after the Plasma announcement.
Woah, wait, wait, wait, why are we talking about OmiseGo? And why would it go up in price?
You guys have to keep up with the politics, gossip, moves, etc!
Joseph Poon, who co-authored the Plasma and Lightning protocol papers, actually went to work for OmiseGo in June
Well, OmiseGo is the first implementation of Plasma
Are you as excited as we are??
So, say you weren't aware of all of the above and missed out on having some cheap OMG (OmiseGo's ticker). Well, not to worry - as long as you have an ETH wallet with at least .1 ETH, the OmiseGo team will just airdrop you some free coins
We'll all be getting it, and it will be 5% of the total token issuance. Probably not worth it to create hundreds of wallets given the chain snapshot has most likely already been taken.