Ethereum (ETH)
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10 January 2020

Ethereum scaling research organization Plasma Group shuts down

Ethereum research organization Plasma Group opted to shut down just one year after opening up shop. The group operated as a non-profit research outfit focused on building open-source solutions that could help scale Ethereum. Despite several successful efforts in scalability, such as the popular Optimistic Rollup layer-2 scaling solution and its Uniswap clone demo (dubbed Unipig), Plasma Group intends to shift its research focus towards finding a better way to fund the development of public infrastructure. In the meantime, the organization will hand its remaining runway over to Gitcoin, a project that helps developers raise funds for building open-source software.

Why it matters: - Plasma Group claimed the issue of securing new funds "played a large role" within its organization over the last year. It seems the research group could not collect enough funds via donations to overcome a lack of income. This critical issue of funding and sustaining public goods is why many open-source blockchain projects raised funds via a token sale or allocated a portion of their token supply to ecosystem initiatives. Some cry foul when these projects use their native token reserves like Ethereum or Zcash to fund development efforts. But if crypto networks are going to reinvent the financial system for the better, breakthroughs in security, usability, etc., will come at a faster clip when open-source developers receive adequate compensation. - Plasma Group also released its final research contribution: Optimistic Game Semantics (formerly known as the Optimistic Virtual Machine or OVM). This layer-2 framework aims to provide a standardized foundation for other second-layer solutions, which could help impact future scaling research even with Plasma Group no longer in the picture.

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