Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin has proposed a new Ethereum scalability solution that would apparently compete with the Raiden Network. The same solution would also apparently be an alternative or replacement to the existing Ethereum smart contracts.
The solution called Plasma is a designed as a new architecture for a decentralized worldwide network for financial transactions, a whitepaper indicates. The plan is to monetize smart contracts by making it easier and faster to pay them.
Little is known about the system which only apparently currently exists as a whitepaper called Scalable Autonomous Smart Contracts. A working draft of the paper written by Buterin and Joseph Poon has been available online since 11 August 2017.
The hope behind Plasma is to increase the scalability and speed of Ethereum smart contracts. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum has a serious scalability problem, currently, a block of Ethereum can only execute around 20 transactions a second; or 1,200 transactions a minute. That makes it impractical for large-scale commercial applications.
Has Buterin Admitted Smart Contracts are Not Smart?
It sounds as if Buterin has admitted that smart contracts are not very smart, or very useful in the real world. The existence of Plasma indicates that Poon and Buterin believe that a lot of work needs to be done before Smart Contracts are ready for mass use.
Some serious concerns have been raised about Smart Contracts recently. The MIT Technology Review reported that smart contracts are full of holes on 1 March 2018. It looks as if Buterin and Poon were aware of such holes and are trying to plug or prevent them.
They may also be trying to head off competing blockchain products like Universa and NEO which are designed as Ethereum alternatives. It is not clear if Plasma is an alternative to the Raiden Network which is trying to build a super-fast high volume payment sidechain to augment the Ethereum blockchain.
It is not clear if Plasma is a real system or simply a thought experiment at this time. One thing is certain, Plasma is a system to watch because Buterin did invent the second most popular cryptocurrency Ethereum (ETH) and the most popular blockchain operating system in use today: Ethereum.
It looks as like Buterin and Poon might be planning big changes to Ethereum and Smart Contracts. Smart investors should keep an eye on the Plasma network because it might be something big.