Webinar – What It Takes to Build the Next Generation of Web3 Applications

Webinar – What It Takes to Build the Next Generation of Web3 Applications

Blast Team

29 min read

with Marco Monaco, Growth Lead at Linea Blockchain

The emergence of Web3 applications has marked a paradigm shift in how we interact with the digital world. As we delve into the complexities of Web3 development, it becomes evident that success lies in technical proficiency and the ability to envision and contribute to the transformative power of a decentralized and interconnected internet. In this dynamic environment, developers and innovators are tasked with redefining the boundaries of what’s possible, fostering a new era of user-centric, secure, and transparent digital experiences.

Join this thought-provoking conversation between Marco Monaco, Growth Lead at Linea Blockchain, and Radu Enoiu – Co-founder and Head of Product at Bware Labs.

The main talking points include:

  • the need for diversity in the blockchain industry
  • rollups as a service
  • enterprise blockchains
  • the future of zero-knowledge technology.

About the speakers:

Marco Monaco, Growth Lead @ Linea Blockchain

Marco Monaco is a seasoned professional in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, currently serving as the Growth Lead at Linea Blockchain. With over a decade of dedicated experience, Marco is a strategic thinker, community participant, and technical expert with a passion for Bitcoin, Web3, Crypto, and Blockchain technologies.

Radu Enoiu, Co-founder and Head of Product @ Bware Labs

With over 10 years of experience in the engineering field, Radu has explored several product management and engineering roles, working for companies like Fitbit and Google. Currently, he leverages his tech expertise and contributes to providing Web3 builders with decentralized infrastructure and high API performance.

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Subtitles

Intro

Radu 00:00

Hello everyone, and welcome to a new edition of Bware Labs’ webinar series. Today’s discussion will revolve around finding the elements required to build the next generation of Web3 applications, and we will think about how we can make building in the Web3 space more efficient and more developer-friendly so that, in the end, we can end up with better applications and higher quality user experience.

In order to answer some of these questions, we have a special guest today. So, I’m happy to introduce Marco, who’s currently the Growth Lead for the Linea Blockchain.

Hey Marco, it’s great having you here!

Marco 00:41

Hello Radu! Thanks for inviting me.

Radu 00:44

Thank you for accepting our invitation. So, I’d like to start with a short presentation about yourself, like telling us a little bit about your background, your experience, what you are working on at Linea, and, more importantly, what is interesting to you about blockchain and blockchain technology.

Marco 01:06

Yeah, thank you very much. So, I’m Marco, I’m based in Italy, I’m one of the Co-founders of Linea, and I am also leading the growth.

So, I’m in charge of talking with all ecosystem partners to bring them on board Linea and find a way to create synergies. Just because, you know, it’s not just about having DApps on Linea, but it’s about having DApps that work together in order to build new things. That’s the… where we can provide the biggest value as the Linea team.

So, where I’m coming from, my background is pretty technical, I started… I am an engineer, and I started as a developer, then I moved to the infrastructure side, spent a few years in the innovative infrastructure, ready to Big Data or IoT, a bit, let’s say, some beginning of AI, it was something like 15 years ago, and then I discovered blockchain. It was late 2012, and I started actually using a blockchain for a couple of years, just in my spare time, and then I decided to make the jump in 2015. 

I spent some time in the consulting industry, which allowed me to develop some soft skills, not just technical but also business skills, and so I joined consultants in the business team as a business developer person with a technical background.

So, it’s something that helped me to grow in the space very quickly. And yeah, and when I joined ConsenSys, I started talking to the R&D team of ConsenSys, and they were working on, they were just starting working on the zkEVM. It was actually one of the biggest decision drivers for me to join ConsenSys because I was aware that the R&D team was working on this, and so fast forward to September last year, we had this meeting in the R&D team, and we started the process of moving Linea or the ConsenSys zkEVM out of the R&D project team to a real initiative, driven by ConsenSys, and yeah.

So that’s why I’m also a Co-founder, because I was part of this process, and currently I’m leading the growth.

Radu 03:26

That’s that’s actually a great history, you’re one of the OGs in the crypto space. I think in 2012, I didn’t… I haven’t even used any blockchain technology back then.

Marco 03:40

Yeah, there are pros and cons. I used to be a Bitcoin maximalist for a while, so yeah, there are pros and cons.

Radu 03:48

And also, biz dev with a technical background is ideal or a dream… for people hiring biz dev.

Marco 03:59

We have non-technical biz devs in ConsenSys that are great value for the company as well, that can… A good approach is to have the right balance between these different skills.

Radu 04:13

Totally makes sense, okay. Thank you for the presentation.

Now, I’d like to dive into the discussion for today and start with a short presentation about Linea and what you guys are trying to achieve. And one of the big questions that I have is revolving around the why. And the question is, why is there a need for an ecosystem such as Linea in the Web3 space?

The Need for Ecosystems like Linea in the Web3 Space

Marco 04:44

Yeah, I mean, I could take a couple of hours just on this question. So Linea is a Layer 2 on top of Ethereum, it’s the… the purpose of Linea is scaling Ethereum. So, actually, in that… the security of Ethereum enables faster transactions and lower fees per transaction. That means that our purpose is to bring blockspace into the industry, that’s our main purpose.

Blockspace, historically, has been one of the biggest issues in the blockchain industry, not just for Ethereum but also for Bitcoin, and we hopefully all know about the blockchain dilemma. So, you cannot have a system that is secure, decentralized, and scalable at the same time. So, if we cannot solve the dilemma, let’s just switch the way we look at it.

So let’s get Ethereum mainnet to be secure and decentralized enough, and let’s scale on Layer 2 by reducing some of the components, like decentralization. We don’t need a fully decentralized Layer 2 because our security is inherited by Ethereum Layer 1, so we can live with the least decentralized Layer 2 that will allow us to achieve scalability and allow us to achieve security at the same time. So that’s the purpose of all Layers 2s.

Now, we already have a lot of Layer 2s. There are… why do we need a new Layer 2? We definitely need the new Layer 2 because we need to add more diversity to the space. If we are going to get a new Bull Run, Linea itself will not be enough to cover the traffic generated from the new Bull Run. Because Bull Runs are just eating up resources so far, and they will eat up every resource that we have available.

So, this time, we need to bring much more resources that, in other words, are blockspace. So we need a lot of blockspace. And Linea, Linea alone is not enough. Like Arbitrum alone will not be enough, or Base alone will not be enough. So we need to find a way to provide as much blockspace as we can so that we can accommodate the next Bull Run

But we also need to have diversity because, think about 3 years from now, we will have the tools built on top of Ethereum mainnet that gives all the blockspace that we need, that has really important ecosystem on all of them, but they are all based on the same stack. What happens if there’s a bug in this stack? The whole Ethereum ecosystem goes down, the whole Layer 2 will go down.

That’s why we care that this will not happen. ConsenSys, historically, has been very near to the Ethereum ecosystem. I mean, Joe is one of the Ethereum Co-founders and our CEO, so it’s really a mission for us to contribute to the growth of the old industry of the old Ethereum ecosystem. And so, it makes a lot of sense since we have this great product that comes… that’s coming out from our R&D effort.

I mean, just to give you a note, we started 5 years ago working on rollups, then we moved 3 years ago, working on ZK rollups, and more than 2 years ago, we started working on the zkEVM. And it was an R&D project. And the outcome of the project was that this zkEVM is not just solid in terms of soundness of the ZK pattern and the technology component, it also seems to be pretty much like the most efficient zkEVM we have out there. It’s a type 2.

For the ones that are not aware, we have many zkEVMs out there. The type 2 zkEVM, as defined by, is the one that is the most compatible as of today with the Ethereum Layer 1. More compatible than type 2 zkEVM are just type 1 are actually zkEVMs that are able to prove Ethereum mainnet blocks. But we are not there yet.

So, type 1 zkEVMs are not live or mainnet yet. While there are a couple of… Now we have 3 zkEVM type 2 that are Poly and zkEVM Linea, and now, recently, Scroll will launch a mainnet.

So at Linea, we believe it will be one of the most efficient ones, especially after the new upgrade we are going to do, so it makes a lot of sense for ConsenSys to say, ‘we have this piece of technology, it looks really good, we just need to go into… on the market to bring diversity into the different tools out there.’

So, we will have a future where we are going to see Optimistic rollup, ZK rollup, zkEVMs rollups, and all of this will be able to have an ecosystem that will be able to work on all of them, and in a multi-chain or native multi-chain approach. And that will be why we will see the biggest value. Because then, we will be able to fulfill a promise of providing a blockchain infrastructure that can scale and accommodate user needs.

Radu 09:57

That’s actually a very interesting approach to scalability. I think this is the first time I’ve heard this perspective. Like you guys, not only are you trying to scale the Ethereum ecosystem by providing a rollup or Layer 2 on top of it, but you’re also considering the diversity of the technology stacks that are available out there and thinking about that as a whole.

Because we see a lot of trends right now about using one specific stack and spinning up multiple chains, and that can represent an actual scalability problem. Or, maybe, if not scalability, an actual reliability problem that might come as a challenge for the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology.

Marco 10:42

It’s pretty easy. Just as a disclaimer, I’m a big fan of VDF, Verifiable Delay Function, so I was really excited to look at Solana’s launch. But, actually, the issue is that if we go on scaling Ethereum with a single tech stack, we will end up like Solana; like the first bug, we need to halt all the chains. And means that we need to halt the overall Ethereum ecosystem if it’s going to move to Layer 2s. So this is extremely important. We need to learn from the mistake of the past Ethereum ecosystem environment, but also the overall crypto environment, you know. So, not having good diversity is a big mistake.

Radu 11:26 

Yeah, it’s always a problem not to have options, and we see that as infrastructure providers and dev tooling providers, we see this sort of issues with ecosystems that don’t have diversity on their… the clients that they support.

We see that the blockchains, some blockchains have the same issues because they are using the same stack, so I think this is the… an actually good, very good answer to the why question.

Marco 11:57

Thanks! Okay, thank you for, thank you for a very insightful response.

Now, I’d like to go even into more detail about the Linea ecosystem, and I’d like to… for you to tell us if there are any advantages that developers might have if they build on Linea versus other Layer 2s.

Advantages of Building on the Linea Blockchain

Marco 12:24

Yeah, that’s a pretty common question that I get. Why is it… talking to many DApps, typically, the most common question is, ‘why should I build on Linea instead of another Layer 2?’

So, from a developer perspective, we are implementing a standard that is the EVM. So, from a developer perspective, there’s no difference in building on Linea, building on Base, or Polygon zkEVM or whatever. There are minor differences, like Linea is at the London version of the EVM, while Optimistic rollups are a bit more advanced because it’s easier, because they don’t have to prove the execution, so there are very small minor differences, but, honestly, no DApp so far told us ‘now we need to rewrite the code to deploy on Linea,’ or ‘we need to re-audit the code, that will take too much time.’

So, from a developer perspective, there’s no difference at all. We implement the standard, so it’s like, I tell you got two plugs in your house, and like, I tell you why you should put your power card into the first plug or the second one. They implement the standard, so there are no differences.

Now, the difference is behind the hood, what’s the technology on the back that will give the most reliability, that will give the most efficiency? That means a lower price in terms of fees for your users. Yeah, this is relevant now because, today, Layer 2s are still very expensive compared to alternative Layer 1. I mean, if you compare Arbitrum with Polygon proof of stake or Linea, you are talking about different orders of magnitude. And that’s because you have a cost, it’s the security cost of Ethereum Layer 1, so Layer 2 is still expensive.

So, the difference between a rollup that is 15 times cheaper than Ethereum mainnet, like Linea, or 25 times cheaper than Ethereum mainnet, like Arbitrum, is not negligible because you still have fractions of dollars or bigger fees. But, in a while, very soon, we’re going to get a protocol sharding that is an upgrade of the Ethereum mainnet that will actually allow us to remove 80 to 85% of the operational cost of rollups. So, the fees will go down very drastically, and we will be able to compare Layer 2 with alternative Layer 1s like Polygon proof of stake or other blockchains. At that point, the difference between being 100x cheaper than Ethereum or 125x times cheaper than Ethereum is just negligible, is a fraction of a fraction of a penny. You know, the end user will not even notice this.

So, the efficiency part is something that is a selling point now for the next three to four months because in January, probably, we’ll get protocol sharding for… on Ethereum mainnet. We will upgrade; otherwise, my colleague will kill me.

So the efficiency part is one that is important if you think about the big numbers, but when it comes to talking to developers, it’s not very relevant, you know. So, what’s very relevant, in our opinion, is really the ecosystem. Like, you want to have a DApp on Ethereum mainnet, and you want to bring the DApp on a Layer 2. Yes, but if you are familiar with DApp development on Ethereum mainnet, you know very well that… I mean, you know better than everyone else that when developers build the DApp, they rely on other building blocks, like Bware APIs, like, I don’t know, there are other types of infrastructure pieces like Chainlink, or Oracle, Oracle infrastructure provider, you know.

All these things actually are not covered by the EVM. So, if you have a DApp on the Ethereum mainnet and you want to move on EVM Layer 2, you can remove your Solidity code, but the overall DApp is much more than this. They need to get access to API, they need to get access to all sorts of infrastructure fees. That is part of the system, you know. So we spent a lot of time at the very beginning, at the beginning of this year, for at least 6 months, to onboard all the infrastructure pieces, to ensure that we can provide the zero switching cost. So, you have a DApp on Ethereum mainnet; if you port it on Linea, you don’t have to write any single code or adapter because we already have more or less all the big pieces that developers usually use on Ethereum mainnet, so you don’t have to rebuild or change or integrate other pieces.

That’s a very powerful value proposition, and, yeah, but it’s not just about this, it’s also about what’s the role of an ecosystem, what’s the role of Linea, of me and Linea team in this case? It’s not just about building the tech; it’s also about supporting the distribution of that, you know. 

So, people… DApp developers work with us because we have this mindset that we actually understand what they need, and it’s all about distribution. A developer comes to build on Linea not because it’s a zkEVM; there are many other zkEVMs or EVMs or Layer 2s. It’s literally because they know that we are set up to try to support them, to distribute them to the general public, you know. That’s the biggest part of this. And, of course, I mean the relationship with Metamask is super important because Metamask is integrated with Linea not just at a technical level, it’s not just about the default network or the bridge that is live or the… Because Metamask supports all the other networks like this. It’s really about the team integration. We have daily calls with the Metamask team, so strategies are fully aligned. So, being on Linea means that, actually, there’s a much easier way to be distributed among the Metamask user base. That is, by far, the biggest user base that we have in the industry. So that’s that’s very relevant.

And it’s also about the link with ConsenSys because, of course, ConsenSys is going where Metamask is not able to go with other types of links and introductions, even outside of the Web3 space. We spend a lot of time working with enterprises, so we are highly interconnected with luxury brands, sport properties, banks, financial services, you know. So, it’s also given by the network that ConsenSys has. So, that’s actually what developers are asking us and what we give to developers to bring them on here. And that’s why Linea is different from other Layers 2s; it’s just about the ecosystem.

Radu 19:32

That totally makes sense. I mean, I really like this approach of having everything in place for providing a builder DApp with zero migration cost from one chain to another. I sometimes don’t understand why doesn’t everyone do that because, to me, it seems like the more… the most obvious thing to do to ensure the success of a new chain. Like, make people… make it as developer-friendly as possible, and, if there’s also the possibility that you described, of providing the channel to make the product or the application itself popular through the ecosystem of ConsenSys, that’s a very big win.

And, actually, I can speak a little bit from experience, I think Linea was the ecosystem that we integrated with the most responsive team in regard to marketing efforts, announcements, and all sorts of stuff. It’s really visible that you’re actually making an effort in that area.

Marco 20:44

Thanks!

Radu 20:49

So, tell us a little bit… cause you touched on this point already in the… by… when answering previous questions. Tell us a little bit more about the ConsenSys zkEVM. How did that come into existence and what are some specifics of it?

The ConsenSys zkEVM

Marco 21:08

Yeah, I mean, how did it come into existence it should be something for Nicolas. Nicolas was the former leader of the R&D team in ConsenSys, now he’s leading Linea. So, actually, he was never committed to scaling Ethereum through sharding, like he was committed to scaling Ethereum through Layer 2. So, he actually started working on rollup with another project. It was actually done originally for Mastercard.

So, we spent… we started working on rollups in ConsenSys, building a rollup solution for an engagement… with like a professional service engagement with Mastercard. So, we started really 5 years ago on this. And yeah, Nicolas was actually very visionary on this because he not just understood the potential of scaling Ethereum through rollups, and this is something that I was already working with ConsenSys as a… I mean… I was in the advisory sector, and ConsenSys was my preferred technical partner. So I was already working with ConsenSys as a client like we’re partner role client. And I was in touch with Nicolas because of this, because we were doing propositional rollups, and I was fully aligned with the view of scaling it in through Layers 2. I mean, I told you that I was a former Bitcoin maximalist, and Bitcoin is scaling through Layer 2, so I was sold on the idea already.

So I was fully aligned with Nicolas, and I was super interested in rollups, but when he had the vision of actually having the zkEVM, then it blew my mind. I remember the only other time in my professional experience I was so captured by intuition was when I read the Satoshi white paper in late 2012. It was really… I mean, it was a fun story, we will have another time to talk, but, yeah, when I spoke to Nicolas, we were spending time about talking… yeah, I mean, Optimistic rollups are fine, but game… fruit game… fruit proof game it’s not really optimal, you know, because people will need trustless, and if you want to be trustless on Optimistic rollup, you need to wait for 7 days to declare a transaction final, you know. And we are still not at this stage. But the sensibility of the industry will reach that stage where the front proof game will need 7 days to become settled and to reach the settlement finality. In traditional finance, this is a very relevant topic. The industry will reach this point in the crypto as well.

So when we were talking about, yeah, but the fruit proof game is something that is really non-efficient, but on the other side, we cannot go with ZK rollup because it will be too much to ask people to rewrite their code, or to write their code with ZK secret, it’s just not working. And then suddenly came to me and said, ‘look, we are starting this project, there’s already another team working on this, as Jordi Baylina, Polygon zkEVM, we believe it’s feasible as well, but we have a different approach.’ And we had this discussion and it was like an enlightening moment for me. I said, ‘this actually will change the game, will literally change the game.’

And so that’s why I decided to jump into ConsenSys and and start working on that. Now, ConsenSys zkEVM is the core stack, the technical stack of Linea. You can think about Geth is for the Ethereum mainnet, or Besu is for the Ethereum mainnet, ConsenSys zkEVM is a set of tools, a set of software that includes Linea Geth, the Linea node or Linea Besu, that is an alternative client that we have because we care about diversity, even at the single stock level.

Then, we have the Core Set, which is another component of the zkEVM. Then we have the Prover, which is another component, and then we have the Postman, which is another component. So, ConsenSys zkEVM is the suite or software that is needed to operate a Linea Layer 2 on top of Ethereum. We are working a lot on this; there are 33 people only working on the tech stack today in ConsenSys, plus other 20ish people working on the Besu client. Because we decided to rely on Besu because what if we have an issue with Geth? We really want, we need to get in touch with the team to fix the bug and blah blah blah. We really wanted to care about any internal capabilities at every single level of the stack.

So, we said, we need to use Geth and Besu because, if we have an issue with the bug, we have the Besu team in-house that we are able to prioritize to fix the bug. So it’s much more important, and it’s a good value position for Linea. So, we have other 20ish people working on the Besu team who are actually working on Linea now to make Besu available on Linea. And, yeah, it’s… now it’s a project that we do still control the code, it’s mainly because it’s very fast in the code base, so we don’t want to open source to something that is changing very rapidly. Because, if I’m a developer and I want to contribute to Linea, I will go on the repo to start reading and learning how it works, and the code will change. I will lose interest, and I will move on to something different.

So, it’s better to hold on a bit; we will open-source the code once the development process across the whole stack is finalized. That means after 4844, after protocol sharding. We are going to open-source, and then we will focus a lot on creating a bigger community. We want to have people coming on GitHub and forking the code and doing PR on our repository. And we want to see people using the stack to run other Layer 2s. As they actually use OP stack, or they use Polygon zkEVM to spin up additional Layer 2, we would be glad if people would come, and everything will be open-sourced without the license.

So, they don’t have to pay us anything, there’s no ecosystem license, there’s no paid commercial license, and they can take the stack around another Layer 2. And this is important because it will give more diversity in the space, you know. Because there will be many OP stack rollups, many Polygon zkEVM rollups, and many Linea rollups as well. So, it creates a balance across the diversity. So, that’s that’s more or less the plan.

Radu 28:16

It makes makes total sense. Seems like you guys have thought about everything since the beginning.

I have a short additional question now like… because we talked about the ConsenSys zkEVM. What’s your opinion on the rollups-as-a-service? Cause this sounds… I mean… when you talked about the zkEVM, this also sounds like a very good use case for the Poly ConsenSys zkEVM like… as an alternative.

Rollups-as-a-Service and Enterprise Blockchains

Marco 28:53

We got a lot of requests. As of now, we are giving access to our code base to a few selected partners because we don’t have the bandwidth to operate all our business services. It’s a different business. Maybe the Infura team will decide to pick it up with a no… I mean, it’s literally we don’t have bandwidth in the Linea team. And I believe that the Infura team has low bandwidth like us as well. So, we started to engage with other partners that are interested in leveraging the Linea tech stack to operate on our business service.

So, as I said, the code base is changing, so it’s very difficult today for a rollup-as-a-service operator to operate a Linea rollup, it’s just because there are a lot of manual processes involved on the Linea network. That’s because the tech stack is continuously evolving, you know, but we definitely want to have more partners engaging in operating rollup-as-a-service. This is the reason why everything will be open-sourced without any license. We really would love to see Bware Labs operating Linea rollup-as-a-service.

Now, when it comes to does the market need all these rollups? 

I mean, we spent a lot of time in our last 7 years talking about enterprise blockchain. Enterprise blockchains are a failure. That’s… I mean, that’s a bold sentence, but I mean we stopped working on enterprise failure because our… enterprise blockchain because actually, projects were running for a lot of time.

When enterprises start an enterprise blockchain process, that’s our lesson learned, at least my lesson learned, after a lot of time spent in this industry on the enterprise level, enterprises usually start a project on enterprise blockchain to drag down the price. So, everybody thinks that with blockchain, they will drive down the cost. The reality is that operating a red-price blockchain means that you have a very high infrastructure cost because, compared to a single database, you need to have a redundant database system that is much more costly than a third party, but the higher cost is not the infrastructure because bare metal… I mean, you can buy service at kilos now, so you can just pay for their weight. It’s not really a big price cost. The big price cost is to actually set up a governance model and build all the legal paperwork. Who’s the validator, who runs the validator, and what’s the governance model behind this? We as consultants, we build something like 6 consortiums of banks, enterprises, luxury brands… I mean, we are aware that these things need months or years to define governance. More than that, managing this governance requires a lot of costs, and building with the legal paperwork is just a huge cost and a never-ending discussion.

So, this, at the end of the day, when the use case is starting, they just look at each other, and they say, ‘why are we paying 10 times more or a hundred times more than running with a third-party that we trust?’ At the end of the day, usually, in this case, is a trust issue, you know. But they can just create a consortium that is incorporated in an SPV, and they can trust the SPV. So, after 10 years, there are no real big enterprise use cases that had a very big impact on the industry maybe because of this reason. That’s why we believe that the future is not about enterprise blockchain, but it’s about Layer 2 on top of Layer 1, because that will be able to afford a lot of things. You don’t have to run a full infrastructure; you can rely on an Ethereum Layer 1 validator that you can trust, you don’t need to build a governance model, you already have the governance model of Ethereum Layer 1, you don’t have to build legal paperwork, no Ethereum Layer 1 validator will ever sign illegal paperwork, you know.

But still, the technology works, you can just rely on it, you can just look at the Ledger and use the Ledger. And if the Ledger is not enough for you, you can definitely… and if you need your own blockchain, you can definitely build the rollup-as-a-service. You will be able to recall the metrics that you need, like block time, block size, whatever you need, and you will still rely on the security of Layer 1.

So, there’s a huge space there, there’s a huge space in some industries because many users do not need… most use cases do not need composability. Gaming, for example. Traditional gaming doesn’t need composability almost at all. You don’t need to bring DeFi to run Fortnite, probably, on a blockchain, you know. So, in this case, it makes a lot of sense to run a dedicated game chain that I rollup-as-a-service at the end of the day, you know. So, there’s a lot of space, and there’s already a lot of demand around this, and we just don’t have the bandwidth to cover this. But the market is there.

Radu 34:17

I was just trying to get your opinion about the phenomenon as well cause, to me as well, it makes a lot more sense to have a rollup replace an actual enterprise chain. And by making rollups so relatively easily obtainable, once you have the ZK stacks that will be open to the market, then it really also eliminates the need for the, I don’t know, subnet, supernets that are provided by some of the other projects in the industry.

Marco 34:53

Well, it’s… I mean, I’m not saying that rollups will prevail over subnets or supernets because, actually, at the end of the day, if you look at Cosmos ecosystem, Polkadot ecosystem, Near ecosystem, these are all good examples, you know. It’s just the underlying security, what’s the underlying Layer 1?

It’s just not comparable with Ethereum. Like, probably, this unit of Ethereum is not comparable to Bitcoin if you want to look from an economic dimension, you know. And when an enterprise needs to pick an elite one to trust, who do you think they’re going to pick? That’s the point, you know.

Radu 35:31

Yeah, that’s exactly my point as well. I mean, from that perspective, cause you can build it on top of Ethereum. So then, yeah, that’s the clear advantage.

Okay, so we’re going into a little bit more philosophical question, or, at least, I’m gonna ask you to make a prediction. Do you believe that zero-knowledge technology will ultimately prevail as the scaling solution for Ethereum? Or do you think it will always be a mixed model with Optimistic rollups as well, or maybe sharding will come back at some point?

Is Zero Knowledge the Best Scaling Solution for Ethereum?

Marco 36:16

So, yeah, sharding will definitely come back. It will improve the way Layer 2 can scale even more than 4844. So, sharding is an important piece of the equation. But it’s not really super necessary. Optimistic rollups are here to stay for a few more years, let’s say. That’s not going to disappear next year. But, definitely, the ZK approach is way superior.

Is way more superior than we still don’t feel now because we believe that whatever happened in Layer 2 features the settlement finality. That is not true, you know. A rollup can eventually… we don’t see it now because all rollups are centralized Linea is run by ConsenSys, but all the other rollups are centralized. But once we move into a decentralized approach, then you will start having issues. Because, if you reintroduce a full decentralization scale, then you will just recreate another Layer 1. So you will not be able to scale, just like the Ethereum Layer 1 cannot scale. So your capacity will be limited. You can reduce a bit block type, you can extend a bit the… a bit, not at all, you can not have all this high degree of freedom to pick the dimension that you want, because, if you decentralize it a lot, you will just go back to the same Ethereum issue.

So, when it’s like this, when it’s really ugly, not very ugly decentralized, but it’s still the decentralization scale, it’s a bit lower than the Ethereum mainnet, then you may have issues in terms of reworks of the network. And when we are going to see a rework where the industry… we will start talking again about settlement finality. And settlement finality on Optimistic rollups is 7 days. There’s no way you can tell a user, ‘you don’t own your Bitcoin.’ If a user is going to move 10 bitcoins for a transaction, for sure, the receiving part will wait for two to three confirmations. It will not be a zero conf.

Now, we are in the era of zero conf because rollup has centralized it. But, when rollups will be decentralized, we will start talking about waiting for the proof game, and the proof game is 7 days. It’s completely against the user experience. ZK rollup, on the other side… I mean, today, technically, we are able to join the proof every 20 minutes. 20 minutes means that you can have a supplement fire every 20 minutes, it will be much less with the new optimization that we are going to release in January.

Let’s assume that we are able to create a proof at every Ethereum block. It’s just hypothetical because it will cost a lot of money to operate a rollup like this. We need 50 TPS to justify the cost, but still, there’s a settlement finality that many people will be able to accommodate, you know. So, ZK is definitely the future; it’s solving a huge issue in the system that we don’t see today but we’re going to see tomorrow. So, Optimism… Optimistic rollups are here to stay for a few more years, but at some point, the ZK is the future.

Radu 39:49

Totally makes sense. I totally agree with your take on that; there is nothing to add. Okay, so as we’re getting to the end of our session today, I have a question that I usually ask all the guests, and it’s a lot more generic than what we talked about so far.

So I want you to tell me what you think are the… are some key elements that we as an industry require to reach a point where blockchain technology becomes… may become mainstream.

Marco 40:26

Did you say some elements or just one?

Radu 40:30

Some. More than one. Yeah, because I’ve been… If you can choose if you can choose one, that would be great to know. Yeah, so my opinion… I think we have more. Or if you think we are there already there, that’s fine.

Key Elements for Blockchain Technology to Become Mainstream 

Marco 40:45

So, I see we are there in some sparks, let’s say. We see sparks of fulfilling all the needs that we have today. But we are not really… these are not really the best practices of the industry.

So the first thing, in my opinion, is the security. We don’t have…  I mean, the vast majority of teams that I’m talking to didn’t even have a person dedicated to the security of the DApp when they built, you know. So it’s this reckless, it’s not aligned with what pre-consumer market… So increasing the bar for security is the first need.

The second need, and, again, here we have a lot of advances, like the sparks. For example, blockchain solutions provide real-time monitoring of contracts using the heuristic to identify exploits before they happen, alerting users and alerting DApps. Some of them are even a bit more intrusive, like being able to stop the contract itself to avoid hacks or stuff like this. How many teams are using… On Linea, we are, we have 3 providers doing real time monitoring. Three of them are like… not just one, three of them, but our… How many other DApp developers care about this?

So, security is the first need that we see already some sparks here and there, but we need a bit more time to consolidate. But it’s very important for Web3, for the mainstream, because, otherwise, people will just come, lose their money or get scammed, and then they’ll just turn their back and never come back anymore, you know. It’s like ChatGPT. What if ChatGPT was stealing your creation? Nobody will use it, you know. The security aspect is very relevant.

The second thing is the UX. UX for the onboarding, especially. Here, account obstruction is a very major… becoming a major trend. Still, it’s a lot of chit-chat within the ecosystem. Real DApps are not really using this yet, so we need a bit more time there. So, it’s, again, sparks. But yeah, yeah, spark. But it’s just about onboarding and user experience.

The third one and I’m talking to you, man, because it’s really on your shoulders. We desperately need to have cross-chain native DApps, and that’s up to you as an infrastructure provider and your colleagues, your peers, and the other people, you should be able to support these DApps. Because, again, the DApps bull market will not come on Linea, people will not be interested in Linea, people will be interested in a use case that will be implemented by a DApp.

So, let’s say that Marco will be the DApp that will power the next Bull Run. The most adopted DApp, like the open sea of the NFT crazy time that we had last time. Let’s say that Marco is this DApp. If Marco is building on Linea, Marco will not be able to accommodate the huge load, so Marco needs to be on Linea, but also Maze, also on Scroll, also on Arbitrum. So that, actually, when the load will come, Marco will be able to spread transactions across multiple rollups, you know?

That’s the things that we need. So we need that… I am fully aware that for many players like you, it’s very difficult because you have costs every time you integrate and attach to a new network. You have a physical cost of providing services with hardware, but it’s really important that infrastructure providers support many rollups out there to let and support DApp developers to build native cross-chain DApps. Otherwise, we will not have too many other opportunities to fulfill a promise. For the next Bull Run, we need to be prepared. Otherwise, I’m not sure how many other Bull Runs we are going to have. If we will see again all the users coming, then transaction fees spiking, and the user experience going shit, sorry for the word, but going bad, then this user won’t come back. We need to wait for another Bull Run, I’m not sure we will have another Bull Run after the next one, you know. So it’s it’s really important.

Radu 45:15

Yeah, I completely agree. And you basically touched most of my opinion about what we need to become mainstream. I am also… I am a product guy, so my main concern is around exactly what you said: having an easier onboarding and a better UX. Ultimately, a user should not be… should not know whether the application runs on a blockchain or not, that should be abstracted by the developers and the infrastructure providers.

Security is for sure the most important aspect, and the multi-chain approach is also something that we’ve been working on since the beginning. Our approach is multi-chain, and we’ve built the architecture generic enough so that we can add a new network in a matter of one or two weeks.

Marco  46:07

I mean, you are… your approach will be the one that will be actually rewarded by the industry. Because, again, many providers are trying to use the King Maker position, to implement business more than to sell on blockchain.

This is not sustainable, you know, you need to provide service to DApps, not to the blockchain. The way you are approaching the ecosystem is really…  I mean, deserve a big big Kudos, and it’s pretty clear that your infrastructure is built to quickly add new chains because the integration was done in no time, really, guys, and yeah, it’s… it was super appreciated on our side.

Radu 46:53

Thank you, thank you for the kind words. Well, thank you for joining us today. For me, it was a very insightful discussion, and your take on reliability through diversity is something that I’m gonna use from now on cause I think it totally makes sense. It’s really important. 

Now, I think this is it for today’s discussion. Maybe we will meet each other at some of the following conferences and maybe another webinar soon when the ConsenSys zkEVM is open source. But, yeah, thank you for being here with us, and best of luck to the Linea ecosystem.

Marco 47:37

Thank you, and thank you for hosting me.

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