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CryptoEconomic Research

Layer 2 Scaling Solutions | January 2022 | Week 1

This report focuses on the growing Ethereum scaling ecosystem. We want to synthesize data-driven analysis, news and background information. The scaling landscape is a rabbit hole. But no worries, we got you covered. We provide you with a comprehensive view of scaling.
by Dominik SchmidJanuary 2, 2022
L2 Jan 2022 Week 1

The market is still cooling down compared to November last year. However, we see a lot of development still on Layer 2s. Zk Rollups from Starkware, Polygon or Matter Labs are not quite production-ready yet, but all teams develop at a fast pace. And even though StarkNet is live on mainnet with its Alpha version, not too many applications has been deployed using Cairo. On the other hand, we see developments facing the usability issue with Rollups – Argent for example teams up with Ramp to allow for direct L2 onramps to Arbitrum and Optimism. So in the future, there might be no need to use the expensive L1 to move your tokens.

What happened in the ecosystem?

  • Our colleague Nicolas Liochon and others designed a zk-EVM specification. That is quite amazing and means basically that the correct execution of all Ethereum instructions – Opcodes – can be proven in a zero-knowledge proof. This means we don’t need to learn new programming languages to deploy on zk Rollups.
  • Staying in the zk world, we might soon talk about Layer 3. Starkware plans to deploy Layer 3 networks that prove correctness to Layer 2 – recursive rollups. If this happens, it will give Ethereum a magnitude more scalability and maybe, even more, privacy, see here. It is a bit of a marketing article and they should try to populate their L2 first, but nevertheless an interesting vision.
  • Mt Perlin onramps to Arbitrum and Optimism, check it out here. And here is the competitor Argent, who partners with ramp Network, see here.
  • Polynya’s view on the current status is definitively an interesting read, see here.

Look at the data

  • Terra grew over the last weeks to the biggest scaling solution by TVL (17.8b$). Terra is mainly used for payments in stablecoins and has now more TVL than BSC or Polygon PoS. And it is a bit of a stretch to call it an Ethereum Scaling solution …
  • Fantom surpasses Polygon in TVL and we will include it in our scorecard overview for next week. See here for a whiteboard crypto video primer.
  • Arbitrum gained a lot of momentum and is able to strengthen its position as the go-to rollup for Ethereum.
  • Boba Network on the other hand which was included in December in our watchlist loses momentum and we only see less than 1000 transactions per day.
  • dYdX stays strong and manages 350k transactions per day and we should keep in mind that those are complex transactions facilitating perpetual trades. Business-wise that might be an interesting candidate for a MetaMask swap integration.

Costs to bridge assets

Bridging costs are quite volatile. Costs almost doubled and Connext is more than twice as expensive as its competitors.

But despite the costs, Connext has 10k (5k in December) daily transfers whereas Hop only has 1.6k (4k in December). This slightly counterintuitive fact might relate to the networks being included. Connext is able to bridge from and to BSC – which is where the volume is. Hop, on the other hand, has BSC not included. It stays unclear why users would not use cBridge instead of Connext.

L2 Scaling Graph 1
Costs to bridge assets in $ from left to right Connext, Hop, cBridge

Next week

  • We will take a look at Fantom – the data, the security and ease of use
  • We will start with our L2 wallet comparison, starting with Rainbow and Argent
  • We will update our Scorecards to the next level

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