DeFi’s wild summer has brought a familiar problem back into focus: high gas fees. Gas prices shot up as high as 450 gwei in late August and early September. The yield farming craze, largely kicked off by YAM and YFI, culminated with hundreds of millions flowing into Sushiswap overnight. Uniswap topped Coinbase in daily volume for the first time. Things don’t seem to be slowing down which is why gas optimization will be crucial for accommodating future growth. Reddit’s Community Points program is one upcoming project that could put significant strain on the network.
To make this project feasible, Reddit teamed up with the Ethereum Foundation for the “Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off.” The bake-off is a competition for developers to submit a scaling solutions for Community Points. The program, which Reddit plans to migrate to the Ethereum mainnet, credits tokens to users’ wallets (called “vaults”) based on their contributions to the site. There are significant on-chain storage requirements for this program, including minting new tokens, onboarding new users, and integrating tokens with third-party applications and smart contracts.
Each bake-off submission needed to demonstrate proof-of-concept for supporting the minting of 100,000 tokens, 75,000 token burns, 25,000 subscriptions, and 100,000 token distributions over a five-day period. The rules of the bake-off required scaling solutions to be decentralized and interoperable with third-party apps, while keeping wallets user-friendly and uncensorable.
StarkWare submitted a browser extension concept as its scaling solution. The Reddit Chrome Extension would allow users to send and receive tokens without having to directly interact with Ethereum. User transactions would be passed to StarkWare’s cloud-based Scalability Engine, which bundles transactions and submits these batches to the on-chain smart contracts. The browser extension would provide support for Metamask and other products if a user wanted to withdraw or deposit tokens.
xDai submitted one of the more detailed proposals to the bakeoff. The proposal included custom-made dashboards and visualizations (put together by a team at Splunk) to show the xDai chain in action. Community members also whipped up a moon token exchange and a multiplayer game. xDai’s vision for Community Points is a fast and easy-to-use payment system that requires no previous experience with Ethereum. Gwei-friendly users would also have the option of using the Burner Wallet tool to move tokens on- and off-chain.
Aztec created zkReddit as part of their submission. You can demo this tool by using Metamask and practice sending CryptoChillies. Aztec’s scaling solution, while not as fast as some of the other proposals, was designed to protect Redditors’ financial privacy above all else. Users can spend and send Community Points without having to worry about having their individual transactions being visible on Ethereum. Aztec teased upcoming upgrades to their codebase that would increase the throughput of their design.
OMG built the Community Points Engine (CPE) extension for the Chrome browser. CPE is a sleek, easy-to-use dashboard designed for the OMG subreddit’s ROCK token. (Each subreddit can design their own Community Points token.) CPE allows users to send and receive ROCKs for free. Developers can use the dashboard to mint new ROCKs and distribute them to community members. The dashboard integrates with Metamask in case users want to withdraw to their Ethereum wallet. CPE boasts OMG’s MoreViable Plasma configuration, which could facilitate up to thousands of transactions per second.
These mentioned are just a few. There were a large number of submissions to the bakeoff, too many to list in detail. Other proposals came from Fuel Labs, Matter Labs, Arbitrum, Connext, Raiden, Matic Network, and many many more tackling scaling today. What do you think this means for Ethereum adoption?