Plasma (blockchain)

Plasma (blockchain)

Plasma is a proposed framework to improve the scalability of blockchain platforms such as Ethereum by composing blockchains into a tree hierarchy where each branch (i.e child blockchain) off of the parent blockchain can perform computation of smart contracts while the parent blockchain maintains data integrity and security for the entire network

Plasma is a proposed framework to improve the transaction throughput of Ethereum by composing the Ethereum network into a tree hierarchy of child chains which all connect to the 'root' or 'parent' chain, the main Ethereum blockchain. Each child chain in Plasma can perform computation of smart contracts to reduce the demand on the root blockchain, while the root chain serves as a trust and arbitration layer that maintains data integrity and security for the entire network.

Child chains in plasma are also called externalized multiparty channels or multiparty off-chain channels. These channels allow for deposits and withdrawals of funds with state transitions enforced by fraud proofs, such that the accounts of the child chains match the accounts of the root chain. In other words, transactions can be processed on Plasma child chains and enforced on the root chain in the event of invalid blocks, thereby increasing scalability by reducing the amount of computation necessary for the root chain. This is accomplished without involving custodial trust in 3rd parties and while maintaining high Byzantine fault tolerance.

Overview of How Plasma Works

Depending on their complexity, smart contracts can require significant amounts of computation per transaction relative to a basic cryptocurrency transactions.

The idea of Plasma is to perform more complex operations with heavy computation off-chain (i.e. not on Ethereum itself), and then to broadcast only the completed transactions to the main Ethereum chain.

This works by first reframing all blockchain computation into a set of MapReduce functions. MapReduce is a programming model invented by Jeffrey Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat of Google and first published in an academic paper in 2004. In the MadReduce model, users specify a map function that processes a key/value pair to generate a set of intermediate key/value pairs, and then a reduce function that merges all intermediate values associated with the same intermediate key.

Multi-layered Plasma chain hierarchy

The result of using a MapReduce model is that a single block header/hash committed to the main chain can encompass a very large amount of data and computational work. This block header/hash is enforced by fraud proofs to ensure that all state transitions are valid. There can be child chains of child chains of child chains, all of them performing off-chain computation, and only a small amount of data ever needs to go on the main chain unless there is a faulty or invalid block on a Plasma chain.

Use Cases for Plasma Implementations

Reducing the amount of data processed and stored on the main blockchain is not the only scalability benefit of Plasma. Decentralized applications can also benefit from implementing Plasma because Plasma chains can feature their own independent consensus algorithms, potentially allowing for faster and cheaper transactions.

For example, Loom Network implements Plasma so that Dapp builders can design games on Ethereum that use Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS). DPoS enables transaction throughput upwards of 10,000/second and at very low cost, which is better suited to gaming applications that might involve instantaneous micro-transactions in their gameplay. A major downside to DPoS is that it's generally less decentralized than other consensus mechanisms such as proof-of-work and proof-of-stake. However, that's not entirely the case for DPoS Plasma chains, as they are ultimately still enforced by Ethereum which has a more decentralized consensus system.

Timeline

People

Name
Role
LinkedIn

Joseph Poon

Co-creator

Vitalik Buterin

Co-creator

Further reading

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

Construction of a plasma chain 0x1

David Knott

Web

Plasma on Loom Network DAppChains: Scalable DApps With Ethereum-Secured Assets

Matthew Campbell

Web

Plasma: Scalable Autonomous Smart Contracts

Joseph Poon, Vitalik Buterin

PDF

The Lesson: Ethereum Plasma Cash-Enabled International Trades

Sergey Grybniak

Web

Understanding Plasma | Ethereum Scaling | State Channels vs. Plasma

Web

Documentaries, videos and podcasts

Title
Date
Link

#232 Karl Floersch: Plasma Cash and the Ethereum Roadmap

April 24, 2018

Plasma & The Public Ethereum Chain - Joseph Poon (Ethereal Summit 2017)

Companies

Company
CEO
Location
Products/Services

Kyokan

Daniel Tsui

San Leandro, USA

Software development

N/A

Bangkok, Thailand

Platform as a Service

Jun Hasegawa

Bangkok, Thailand

Digital payment solutions

News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Linda Geddes
October 22, 2020
the Guardian
Early analysis from a different trial suggested a reduction in deaths among those who received plasma with high levels of antibodies early in the course of their disease. Photograph: Lindsey Wasson/Reuters
Shreegireesh Jalihal
August 18, 2020
@bsindia
Tourism sector suffers Rs 1.58 trillion loss, TB testing to be scaled up, and why the Covid recovery rate is meaningless--news on how the country is dealing with the pandemic
Special Correspondent
June 13, 2020
The Hindu
Plasma has been given to improve immunity of the patient
BioSpace
June 9, 2020
BioSpace
CytoSorbents Corporation (NASDAQ:CTSO), a critical care immunotherapy leader specializing in blood purification, announced today that it was awarded a Defense Health Agency Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase III contract, valued at up to $2,897,172 over 2 years, to advance its HemoDefend-BGA plasma and whole b
April 27, 2020
clinicaltrials.gov
Arkansas Expanded Access COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Treatment Program - Full Text View.
PTI
April 23, 2020
Deccan Herald
Over forty Muslim coronavirus patients who were discharged from a hospital in Vadodara in Gujarat on Thursday have agreed to donate their blood plasma for the treatment of others, a community leader said.
March 22, 2020
Somag News
While a vaccine against coronavirus has not yet been developed, researchers are working on temporary treatments to alleviate the effect of the virus. When the approval was received, the developers of the possible treatment, which will be used in a short time, answered those who were curious about the treatment with question and answer. While ...

References

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