Vitalik Buterin: Ethereum must adopt ‘three transitions’ to succeed

Buterin also says it will be necessary to build cross-chain solutions of layer-2 blockchains


VictorWard/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


As one of the largest blockchain ecosystems continues to grow, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin notes that it will be necessary to adopt the “three transitions” for Ethereum to be sustainable in the long term. 

These transitions, as Buterin explains in his latest blog post are: layer-2 scaling, wallet security and privacy. 

“It’s not just features of the protocol that need to improve; in some cases, the way that we interact with Ethereum needs to change pretty fundamentally, requiring deep changes from applications and wallets,” Buterin wrote.

Buterin explains that it will be necessary to build cross-chain solutions of layer-2 blockchains, drawing on examples of how it is difficult now for users to have only one address with the multiple different scaling solutions that exist on top of Ethereum today. 

“In an L2 scaling world, users are going to exist on lots of L2s. Are you a member of ExampleDAO, which lives on Optimism? Then you have an account on Optimism! Are you holding a CDP in a stablecoin system on ZkSync? Then you have an account on ZkSync… The days of a user having only one address will be gone,” he said.

This must be achieved at the same time as the further development of smart contract wallets and privacy.

Blockchain solutions are beginning to look more alike

These three transitions are not completely new to the blockchain ecosystem at large, and definitely not unique to Etheruem. 

Cross-chain solutions that can help different networks communicate with one another, for example, has been explored in depth by the Cosmos ecosystem — a network of individual layer-1 app chains. 

In an interview with Blockworks, Dougie DeLuca, an investor at Figment Capital, noted that rollup ecosystems are beginning to resemble Cosmos in a lot of ways.

“There’s conversations right now about how blockchain design is just going to be commoditized, and they’re going to look kind of similar. This is honestly the earliest sign of this that I’ve seen, where the Cosmos has proliferated the idea of app chains. And rollups right now are moving more and more towards app specific rollups, which is similar to an app chain,” DeLuca said.

Cosmos layer-1 blockchains, for example, communicate with each other through an inter-blockchain communication protocol (IBC). A more Ethereum-native solution to resolving the interoperability between layer-2s would be Connext, a team building out chain abstraction.

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Similarly, with smart contract wallets, Etheruem is designing account abstraction solutions that will enable users to have self custody over their own wallets. In Cosmos, this is currently being explored by Authz.

Although fundamentally different, the end goal is similar. 

“I think it would be great for the Cosmos and rollup teams to work closely together…Ethereum has been focusing on one set of problems for a long time, and Cosmos another set. If we combine our knowledge, I think we actually have a pretty great solution that we can work towards,” DeLuca said.

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