Implementation of Plasma Plasma.   Sounds cool doesn’t it, but what is it exactly?   In this article we will explain what Plasma will be used for, some of the benefits of Plasma as it applies to mining on our SmartPools, as well as our implementation plan for Plasma based SmartPools. 

What is Plasma?

Plasma is a scaling solution that uses data structures called AVL Trees to efficiently compress large pieces of data and post them onto the blockchain. By leveraging smart contracts, Plasma can be used to create secure, transparent protocols that use data compression to increase speed and throughput. In the context of, Plasma will be implemented in order to store the huge amounts of information required for the Smart Pool to function. The Plasma contracts are designed to hold thousands of miners at once, while paying out hundreds within a single transaction. They also ensure the security of miner funds in a way that is completely transparent and on-chain.   Implementation of Plasma will ensure readiness for what’s to come to Ergo once the Ethereum merge is in place.

What are the benefits to using Plasma for SmartPools?

  • Up to 20x faster payouts for all pools on the Plasma contracts. A single payout transaction will now payout 150 miners at once versus the old contracts, which was previously limited to 10 miners
  • Plasma pools that only mine ERG will no longer be required to go through the pre-processing phase, miners of these pools will be paid out approximately 30 minutes quicker
  • Increased transparency and security of pool contracts
  • The maximum number of miners per pool is increased to roughly 10,000 miners, with further scalability improvements possible

Plasma Benefits planned for future releases

  • Block batching for payouts will be set at separate sizes for each pool
  • Miners will be able to withdraw their balance from the pool at any time
  • Pools may be linked together to share rewards or emissions. This allows for SubPools to have multiple variations such as a SOLO and a PPLNS pool. It also allows pools to join hashrate for quicker block finds
  • User created SubPools will be possible. These pools will be customizable and will allow for individual miners to combine their hashing power. Plasma will ensure these pools can be scaled with ease.
  • More complex pools are possible (for example, NFT based rewards like NETA phase 3)
  • Further scalability improvements will be implemented for even faster payouts

Starting with batch sizing, we expect to release the first of these updates to be available one to two weeks following the implementation of Plasma.

Our phased approach plan

For the initial launch, below is a phased approach we would like to share with the community.   Our goal is to minimize disruption and set expectations on what is coming with this exciting feature.

Phase 1: Migration of the Default ERG pool to Plasma.

  • On Thursday July 21st, all members of the default ERG pool on will have their minimum payouts automatically set to 0.001. This will ensure all miners are paid out and that no balances are stored in the old contracts
  • On Friday July 22nd, once all blocks from the default pool have been paid, we will pause the payout system. This will NOT affect mining or block finds, though the blocks API may not update properly until the process is complete.
  • We will then create the new Plasma-based Smart Pool using the new contracts
  • Once the pool is created the Plasma Pool will be set as the new default pool. All miners mining to the current default pool will be automatically switched over to the Plasma Pool
  • Our UI will be updated to reflect all the changes related to the Plasma implementation
  • Following the steps above, implementation of the Plasma Pool will be complete. Payouts will resume as normal, and miners on the default pool will enjoy the benefits of the new contracts

We expect the duration of this implementation to be completed no later than Saturday July 23rd. To reiterate, miners and submitted shares will NOT be impacted during this migration. Notifications will be made in our Discord, Telegram, and Twitter channels.

Phase 2: Solo Pool

  • Same as above but for SOLO mining pool.
  • Timeline estimated to be between Saturday July 23rd and Sunday July 24th. Notifications will be made in our Discord, Telegram, and Twitter channels.

Phase 3: Token Pools (NETA, COMET)

  • All token pools with currently running emission contracts will stay on the standard contracts
  • Once a token-based SubPool emission runs out, it will be upgraded to the new Plasma contracts
  • All new pools on will use the new Plasma contracts. Our next two pools will be Ergopad and anetaBTC Phase 3

What to expect while the phases are being implemented?

Payouts and certain parts of the API will be paused during the implementation. Mining will NOT be affected. After the implementation is complete, payouts will be resumed.

What is next for Plasma?

Implementation of Plasma is a monumental step in blockchain development, something that has never been implemented.  Through our lessons learned, we want to ensure the functionality of Plasma is a mature and stable solution before expanding further.  This will be monitored through our own diagnostics as well as community feedback.

Once we achieve these milestones, our goal is to utilize Plasma to launch a full Layer-2 protocol which will include a token built on Ergo.   The functionality of this protocol will support with a multitude of projects and capabilities under development by and its partners. 

We plan to have further announcements once a concrete timeline is defined.

As always, thank you to the Ergo community and all of our supporters who have made this possible.  As always, Plasma is fully open source for the ERGO community and will continue to be so.

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