In this TNGlobal Q&A, Taiko’s Head of Developer Relations, David Weisiger, offers deep insights into innovative approaches to scaling Ethereum via Layer 2 solutions. Weisiger, a seasoned software engineer with a rich history at GameStop working on the NFT marketplace, brings a unique perspective to Taiko’s mission. He elaborates on his decision to join the company, particularly driven its vision of minimal yet highly ambitious scaling of Ethereum. His commitment to contributing to the Ethereum ecosystem is evident in Taiko’s efforts to maintain a “pure Ethereum” approach with their scaling solutions, highlighting their dedication to open-source development and collaboration with the Ethereum Foundation’s PSE team.

The conversation delves into the technical aspects of Layer 1 and Layer 2 blockchain technologies, clarifying their roles in the Ethereum network. Weisiger explains how Layer 2, particularly in the wake of network congestion and high transaction costs experienced in 2020 and 2021, has emerged as a crucial element in Ethereum’s scalability roadmap, known as “The Surge.” He discusses the company’s approach to Layer 2 security, embracing multi-proofs and a minimal-change protocol to enhance auditability and reliability. Additionally, Weisiger touches on the broader implications of blockchain technology in the context of the global economy and geopolitical tensions, predicting significant developments in blockchain adoption and Ethereum scaling by 2024.

David Weisiger, Head of Developer Relations. Taiko

Tell us about your decision to join the Taiko team, and please describe how the company contributes to the ETH ecosystem.

I already knew one of the co-founders from my time at GameStop working on the NFT marketplace as an engineer. Frankly, I joined because of the co-founders I interviewed, and I was sold on the highly ambitious and minimal scaling vision they had for Ethereum. To change as little as possible, and to simply scale Ethereum itself, no other changes–just “pure Ethereum”. Additionally, I wanted to work on technology that would benefit the entire Ethereum ecosystem, from our contributions to the EF’s PSE team to our completely open-source codebase.

What is a Layer 1 and 2? And why is Layer 2 becoming more popular in recent years?

Ethereum is a Layer 1, it is the original blockchain we come to know as Ethereum which persists data and executes smart contracts. Layer 2 is a way of achieving scalability for Ethereum by representing more computation which happens off-chain into a compressed format, tapping into Ethereum as a permissionless data availability layer. This is because the cost of data storage on Ethereum is really expensive.

L2s may scale the Ethereum L1 capacity by around 1,000 times and lower the transaction cost by a few 100 times. With the network congestion on the Ethereum network in 2020/2021 and high transaction costs during that period of time, it becomes very clear that L2 is the most important Ethereum scaling solution (Layer 2’s has been a central part of the Ethereum roadmap as part of “The Surge”). The concept of Layer 2 is always changing. We are challenging the traditional notion of what Layer 2 / Layer 3 is in our research and development of booster rollups.

ETH security is becoming an increasingly important topic so what has Taiko done to contribute and improve Layer 2?

There are several dimensions to security for Layer 2. One dimension is the proof system–in this case, we have agreed with Vitalik’s idea of utilizing multi-proofs. This means that we assume there is a bug in one implementation of a proof system so it’s best to rely on multiple systems instead of just one. Additionally, we strive to make a minimal amount of changes in our protocol and client, both to be fully Ethereum-equivalent and also to make it more auditable.

Another dimension (in the spirit of minimalism) is reducing trust assumptions wherever we can. The first area that comes to mind is the fully permissionless proposing (this is referred to as a “based rollup”) and fully permissionless proving.

Taiko has contributed to the open-source development of the halo2 circuits along with others (mainly the EF’s PSE team) and also contributes by open-sourcing our entire stack. Developers can use our client, protocol, etc. easily as it’s all available and well-documented on GitHub.

How do you differentiate Taiko from other L2s?

The primary difference between Taiko and other L2s is that it is a based rollup, and fully permissionless to participate in. Anyone can propose a block or prove a block on our test net. Additionally, Taiko is Ethereum-equivalent, which means that we do not make any changes whatsoever to the developer environment–put more technically, Taiko fully implements the Ethereum Yellow Paper specifications (on the execution layer). Another difference is our innovative idea of utilizing booster rollups to natively scale Ethereum. Check out our CTO Brecht’s EthResearch post on it!

What are some examples of how your company helps its community and partners with its scaling solutions?

We develop our code totally in the open and also do many discussions and educational sessions publicly as well. We also love chatting with teams in the space that are very related to our protocol such as MEV, re-staking, block building, ZK proving, DAOs, etc. We enjoy participating in discussions about this and offering our insights!

The best example is definitely our research and development though. We believe we have great scaling ideas for Ethereum that others can use in their rollups or however they see fit.

Where do you see the broader crypto market going into 2024?

2024 will be a very interesting year. There is a lot of risk in the global economy, and the geopolitical tension adds more uncertainty to it. There are always two sides to a coin, on one side the risk would affect the amount of capital coming into the crypto market, on the flip side blockchain and crypto are created trying to solve this exact problem and there’ll be more use cases and demand for an alternative infrastructure to address the deglobalization. But one thing is sure, for the blockchain world to fulfill its mission and purpose, scaling is a must. And 2024 will be the year when Ethereum scaling becomes a reality and comes to fruition. I believe that no matter how the broader market is going to be, we’ll see major adoption of blockchain technology.

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