Loom brings staking to the second layer and what does it mean for scalability?

Yesterday, Loom Network, a project aimed at providing layer 2 scaling solutions for Ethereum-based applications, especially games, has enabled staking on its PlasmaChain. According to the blog post with the announcement, just like in proof-of-stake based blockchains, validators on the Loom PlasmaChain will be responsible for verifying transactions and proposing blocks.

Validators’s income will consist both of guaranted block rewards and fees paid by transactors. Those who are interested in a more detailed outline of Loom PlasmaChain’s staking economics can consult this in-depth article.  

The perhaps unique aspect of this approach to staking is that it seems to resemble mining pools in a way in that anyone can deposit their Loom tokens with one of the specially chosen validators and thus become a Delegator.

Validators on the Loom PlasmaChain are not obliged or programmatically made to share part of the rewards received for block creation with their respective Delegators, however, the percentage each validator will decide to share will be published on the PlasmaChain Dashboard to allow would-be Delegators to select their validators.

At the time of writing, according to Loom Network’s report on Twitter, already almost 6% of all the circulating Loom tokens have been staked to support PlasmaChain.

The introduction of staking to Plasma also raises the question to what extent sharding and similar architectures (e.g. Polkadot and Cosmos) are actually different at bottom from the second layer approaches already being deployed to scale Ethereum. The core difference appears to be that in sharding architectures all shards share the same protocol, whereas at the moment, there seems to be no shared protocol for Plasma implementations. However, this seems to apply only to the current state of Plasma, hence, the boundary between the sharding designs and Plasma chain networks seems to be blurred.

As we already reported, the case for little urgency about sharding was already made recently by Bernhard Mueller from Consensys. It will be interesting to see if the Plasma-focused approach to scaling could in the future become a serious and competitive long-term strategy rather than a backstop option.     

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