The gas war – The network Ethereum faces significant congestion problems. The latter cannot keep up with the demand, which leads to an increase in transaction costs. Fortunately, second layer (L2) solutions offer environments where the cost of gas is much cheaper. However, how to explain the cost differences of the different L2s?
On-chain publication: the sinews of the gas war
The second layer solutions, and in particular the rollupsaim to deport part of the transactions outside the Ethereum main chain. To do this, it offers environments similar to Ethereum, on blockchains evolving in parallel with the main chain.
In practice, these blockchains inherit security from Ethereum. To do this, they publish transaction data that took place off-chain, on the Ethereum blockchain. This allows independent validators to double check these transactions to ensure the immutability of the data.
In fact, the publication of this data on Ethereum represents the main running cost of these second layer solutions. Therefore, the way this data is published significantly impacts the gas cost of transactions within an L2.
Differences in gas cost of different L2s
Thursday, May 5, bartek Kiepuszewskiblockchain architect for MakerDAO and founder of L2Beat, has tackled the topic in a Twitter thread.
Thus, it is essential to understand how L2 data is published on Ethereum to better understand the differences in fees between the different solutions. Let’s go from the most expensive to the least expensive.
Arbitrum and Boba Network
Arbitration and Boba Network can be treated in the same category, because they use the same publication method. Indeed, the two projects publish the data of the transactions having taken place on the L2 without compressing them.
Therefore, it is the projects that will spend the most costs to publish this data. This directly impacts the costs on the L2 itself, which are inevitably higher than the competition.
It should be noted, however, that Arbitrum is preparing to modify its data publication system, by providing a prior compression of the latter. This modification will take place at the time of Nitro update rollout.
For its part, the network Optimism will compress transaction data before posting it to Ethereum. Unsurprisingly, this leads to a reduction in the cost of publication and therefore a reduction in costs on the second layer.
In practice, the Optimism sequencer uses the zLib library which allows compression without loss of data.
Finally, we will consider the case of MetisDAO which offers significantly lower fees than its competitors.
The reason is extremely simple: Metis simply does not post the data of transactions that have taken place on its L2.
Consequently, the Metis network does not have to charge the cost of the on-chain publication of this data.
However, as Bartek Kiepuszewski points out, this decision entails a significant compromise on security. Indeed, as we have seen previously, the data of the transactions having taken place on the L2 are published on Ethereum for the purpose of security.
Since the data is not published, an independent validator will not be able to verify the state of the L2 and ensure that there are no malicious transactions.
“If the Sequencer refuses to reveal the tx data, the Validator might try to challenge the Sequencer. The safety of user funds ultimately depends on successfully completing this challenge. »
As always in the crypto ecosystem, a gain in speed or cost always leads to a compromise. It is important to keep this in mind when choosing a second layer solution to send your funds over.
At the same time, second-layer solutions are waging a war of democratization. Recently, Optimism has announced an airdrop of its new governance tokenlikely to boost its adoption across the Ethereum ecosystem.
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