by Stu Elmes
With 14 major upgrades voted on, adopted, and implemented into its protocol to date, the Tezos blockchain ecosystem has emerged from a crowded cryptocurrency field as a case-study in effective on-chain governance and technical adaptability. Through the peaks and valleys of the larger crypto market and the shifting consumer sentiment that has followed, the Tezos ecosystem has continued building, developing, and innovating its way to the bleeding edge of the rapidly evolving blockchain space.
And, just a few weeks ago at Tez/Dev 2023 in Paris, attendants were treated to a sneak peek into what lies ahead in the next iteration of this industry leading blockchain ecosystem.
After a visual presentation demonstrating how the 1 million transactions per second (1M TPS) benchmark has not only been achieved, but smashed here in the Tezos ecosystem, Tezos co-founder Arthur Breitman took to the stage to explain how the goalposts have been moved once again in Tezos’ ongoing quest to improve latency, throughput, and interoperability while maintaining decentralization and composability within the Tezos blockchain.
While making sure to clarify that the next era of rollups on Tezos will be about much more than just throughput — and that as a result the name of these rollups is likely to change moving forward — Mr. Breitman outlined an exciting roadmap for the next steps in the ongoing evolution of the Tezos blockchain for a rapt Tez/Dev 2023 audience.
Here are just a few of the key points from this jaw-dropping glimpse into Tezos’ future and the part that the Ultra High Throughput rollup will play within it…
Giving the people what they want
It has been said that the blockchain world is filled with solutions looking for a problem to solve. Here in the Tezos ecosystem, those moving Tezos forward have made it a point to listen to the challenges builders and developers are grappling with in their endeavor to realize their creative visions with this technology instead.
The next iteration of Tezos’ evolution promises to focus in on 5 key blockchain characteristics that builders and developers actually need in order to make their vision into a reality here in the Tezos ecosystem.
Performance: lots of transactions, low latency, high throughput, low fees
Composability: assets/information moving from one protocol to another in a simple, seamless fashion
Decentralization: security and stability, decision-making and control stays with the distributed network
Interoperability: the ability to use/deploy different systems and languages on-chain seamlessly
Good Developer Experience: self-explanatory. Goes hand-in-hand with the above
One. Big. Rollup.
Layer 2 is not all about fragmentation. While an application-specific rollup is an appropriate solution for some L2 applications, for others it often simply isn’t the right fit. Layer 2 is a key component of the quest to scale Tezos, as demonstrated by the crossing of the one million TPS threshold with smart rollups leading the charge. Yes, one thousand individual smart rollups processing one thousand transactions per second each does indeed get us there, and adding more rollups could theoretically push that number higher still. However, with the Ultra High Throughput rollup, Tezos proposes a much more elegant solution.
With one “big” rollup focused specifically on interoperability, Tezos’ layer 1 will become much lighter and simpler, creating space for decreased latency within it. With layer 1 validators able to focus on consensus and validating simple transactions, and with barriers to consensus (like getting different languages to interact) moved over to the UHT rollup to deal with, Tezos’ layer 1 will become much more efficient and streamlined.
There’s work to be done
The journey toward scaling Tezos from the 1 million TPS benchmark it has already demonstrated to the millions of transactions per second goal laid out in this Ultra High Throughput roadmap will not happen overnight. What this shift in approach represents is what Arthur Breitman describes as, “a clean slate for Tezos” with the blueprint for a more efficient, faster approach to blockchain-based computing in hand.
The process of realizing the vision for Ultra High Throughput on Tezos begins with a focus on interoperability, and enabling developers wishing to build in (or interact with) the Tezos ecosystem to do so using the most widely-used coding languages, systems, and libraries in common use today, as well as enabling different virtual machines like EVM or Michelson to work together and allow easy interoperability between them. Once the developer experience has been optimized in this manner, the focus will shift to increasing performance and enabling scaling of the speed and efficiency of transactions within the Tezos blockchain as outlined in the previous section.
Building on a solid foundation
The concepts behind Ultra High Throughput and the roadmap for the next iteration of the Tezos blockchain might sound high-minded and complex, but this proposal isn’t really about starting over. Tezos’ layer 1 foundation is sound, and has been functioning exceptionally well for the better part of half a decade. The focus on building a strong community and ecosystem has also borne fruit in many areas of the larger blockchain sphere, and there’s no reason to think this will change.
Those currently building in the Tezos ecosystem should continue doing just that. As with all things Tezos, the transition toward UHT will be an evolutive one, with nobody left behind.
And so, the rapid evolution of the Tezos blockchain continues, buttressed by strong governance, a thriving community, and a culture of upgradability across the board. And, while an Ultra High Throughput reality for Tezos may sound like a far off destination today, if the history of the Tezos blockchain is any indication, it could very well be an accepted reality in the very near future.