The MetisDAO Foundation, the organization behind layer 2 platform Metis, has released Smart L2, a new Optimistic rollup technology that tackles Ethereum’s scalability issues with business users in mind. The Metis team notably includes Natalia Ameline, the mother of Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin.
A growing industry of rollup technologies seeks to address Ethereum’s key scalability issues of slow throughput and high transaction or gas fees. Rollups bundle a large number of transactions off the main blockchain and then return the bundle to Ethereum for recording. There are two types of rollups: Zero-Knowledge, which uses computer algorithms to verify transactions, and Optimistic, which optimistically trust that the transactions are valid. People watching an optimistic network have a week to challenge a potentially fraudulent transaction, and the rollup then runs a fraud proof to verify that transaction.
Metis’ new Smart L2 Optimistic Rollup aims to streamline the recording process of the bundles to make it easier for validators and proofs to find, challenge and approve transactions.
“Creating Smart L2 was prompted by the business requirements of having fast and cheap transactions, because the transactions on Arbitrum and other layer 2s were not scalable enough for business needs,” Metis co-founder Elena Sinelnikova told CoinDesk in an interview. “We modernized the classic optimistic rollup to save the record to the layer 1 on demand.”
Smart L2 still bundles and processes Ethereum transactions off-chain before returning them for recording and verification. However, the transaction data is stored off of both the layer 1 and layer 2 by using decentralized cloud storage service MEMO Labs. The address and transaction data is Merklized and stored on the base Ethereum blockchain for retrieval and verification later, saving space and making it faster for validators and fraud proofs to find and verify transactions. Metis has a fail-safe in place should MEMO Labs become unavailable for any reason, Sinelnikova said.
Metis said Smart L2 can reduce Ethereum user gas fees from the typical $2 to $3 dollars per transaction down to between 2 cents and 14 cents per transaction, according to the press release.
Natalia Ameline leads Metis’ $100 million Genesi DAO ecosystem fund. She and Sinelnikova also co-founded CryptoChicks, a nonprofit that supports women in the blockchain industry.
Metis developers are currently working on an option where businesses can opt for Zero-Knowledge proving of transactions, allowing for faster validation and user withdrawals. The team is also developing a way to incentivize validators for faster verifications to shorten the withdrawal window for Optimistic rollups.