Vitalik Buterin expects Ethereum to reach a new milestone for rollup scaling in 2023

Responding to a tweet that asked users what they were bullish for in 2023, Vitalik said that he anticipates reaching the “basic rollup scaling” milestone as specified in the Ethereum roadmap.


In a December 31 post, Balaji Srinivasan, the angel investor and former CTO at Coinbase, asked his 738k followers what they were bullish about in 2023. In replies to the tweet, Buterin shared that he was looking forward to seeing Ethereum reach the “basic rollup scaling,” which is a stage of The Surge section of the network’s roadmap diagram.

Vitalik clarified that at the said stage of the roadmap he expects Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 4844 to go live and rollups to partially take off training wheels, at least to “stage 1,” as it was initially described in his November 2022 post on Ethereum Magicians, a community forum for discussing and improving EIPs.

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According to Buterin, the common pattern for a large number of rollups (both optimistic and ZK) is that almost all of them use the so-called “training wheels.”

“While a project’s tech is still immature, the project launches early anyway to allow the ecosystem to start forming, but instead of relying fully on its fraud proofs or ZK proofs, there is some kind of multisig that has the ability to force a particular outcome in case there are bugs in the code,” his post reads.

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Based on how heavily rollups rely on their training wheels, they can be categorized into three different stages.

At Stage 0, aka “full training wheels,” the project must post all transactions on-chain and enable users to withdraw their funds with no cooperation from the operator. At this point, it’s okay to use multisig as an on-chain mechanism for posting new state roots, with no active fraud proof or validity proof in place.

Stage 1 or “limited training wheels” assumes that the project has a running fraud proof or validity proof which gets to decide which transactions are accepted by the rollup contract. Additionally, there should exist a multisig-based security council that can override the proof system in case of a critical bug.

At Stage 2, the project doesn’t rely on training wheels anymore. If at this point the code doesn’t have bugs, there’s no need for any group of actors that can, even unanimously, revert the output of the proof system. The power of the security council is strictly limited to “adjudicating undeniable bugs.” Upgrades are allowed but should be announced at least one month in advance.

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EIP-4844, also known as proto-danksharding, proposes to scale the network through the mechanism of Shared Blob Transactions. This solution aims to make precious blockspace cheaper for rollups by setting up blob transactions that store rollup data on the consensus layer rather than on the computation-heavy execution layer.

Initially, EIP-4844 was planned to be included in the Shanghai upgrade scheduled for March 2023. However, devs decided to prioritize EIP-4895 that would enable staked ETH withdrawals from the Beacon Chain, and proto-danksharding is now expected to go live somewhere in the fall of 2023.

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Meanwhile, Anthony Sassano, an independent Ethereum educator, investor, and advisor, forecasts 2023 to be a “big year” for Ethereum. According to Sassano, enabling ETH withdrawals will lead to more ETH being staked, while EIP-4844 will bring a 10x to 100x reduction in rollup fees.

When asked about the wide range of fee reductions, Sassano elaborated that currently it’s hard to predict what the cost reduction will be for each rollup, so the estimates he provided are approximate. The final outcome will depend on how each L2 will use blobs, since “not all rollups are created equal.”