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Ethereum: Here’s Buterin’s take on these ‘lighter’ alternatives to L3s

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Buterin’s position on L3s hasn’t changed since 2017; he is against a three-layered architecture.


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  • Polygon’s chief had initially called L3s an “Ethereum security risk.”
  • Buterin maintained that there were “lighter” options for L3s. 

The conversation on the need for Ethereum [ETH] L3s hasn’t cooled off. Now, Vitalik Buterin has voiced his take on the L3 discussion, adding to the number of opponents of the three-layered architecture. 

For perspective, the discussion emerged after Degen Chain, an L3 on Base, recorded explosive growth less than a week after its debut. 

Polygon [MATIC] CEO Marc Boiron described L3s as an “Ethereum security risk” and underscored how they could devalue ETH. 

Ethereum founder, Vitalik Buterin, has added his take on the discussion, stating that there are “lighter” alternatives to L3s. 

“There are other, potentially “lighter,” ways to get the same cost savings that you get from L3s.”

Opposition to Ethereum L3s

Buterin’s position on L3s hasn’t changed. In 2017, he expressed his reservations about a three-layered architecture with the same scaling scheme.

“A three-layer scaling architecture that consists of stacking the same scaling scheme on top of itself generally does not work well.”

Nevertheless, Buterin acknowledged that L3s can “reduce some fixed costs of batch publishing and deposits/withdrawals.” Unfortunately, they don’t improve transaction throughput. 

Instead, Buterin championed “lighter” cryptographic tools known as SNARKs (Succinct, Non-interactive Arguments of Knowledge).

He believed that SNARKs could efficiently address whatever L3s are trying to solve. 

Cem Ozer of Sovereign Labs had the same sentiments, emphasizing,

“The complex hierarchy (three-layered architecture) is completely unnecessary.”

Similarly, Sreeram Kannan, founder of Eigen Layer, reiterated Ozer’s and Buterin’s inclination. He noted that L2s can communicate with each other without the need for L3s. 

 “Do we need L3s? Direct L2 to L2 interaction can happen in many ways.”

The above discussion shows too much heat for L3s. It remains to be seen whether L3s will survive the onslaught. 


Benjamin is a Telecommunication Engineering graduate who is passionate about crypto-markets and unraveling market trends. Armed with charts and patterns, he's interested in making the intricate, complex landscape of digital assets more palatable for every user.
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