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Traditional Rollups

General Purpose Rollups

Within the landscape of L2 solutions, both general-purpose and application-specific rollups have played crucial roles. General-purpose rollups offer a broad platform for various applications, extending Ethereum’s functionality without compromising its foundational security. On the other hand, application-specific rollups provide tailored environments that cater to the unique requirements of individual applications. However both constructions have their own shortcomings.

App-specific Rollups

App-specific rollup environments emerged as a response to the limitations of one-size-fits-all general-purpose rollups, aiming to tailor the blockchain experience to the unique needs of individual applications.

By modifying general-purpose virtual machines (VMs) to suit specific use cases, these app-specific rollups sought to optimize performance, reduce costs, and alleviate congestion. However, this approach, while well-intentioned, falls short of being the optimal solution for several reasons.


1. Complexity of VM Customization

The process of customizing general-purpose VMs to create app-specific environments is inherently complex and resource-intensive. It requires significant effort to strip down and reconfigure a VM to fit a particular application’s requirements, which can be a barrier to entry for many developers.

This complexity not only slows down the development process but also limits the flexibility to rapidly adapt to changing needs or incorporate new functionalities.

2. Fragmentation and Interoperability Challenges

App-specific rollups, by their very nature, create silos within the ecosystem. While they may offer optimized performance for specific applications, they do so at the cost of interoperability.

Each app-specific rollup becomes an isolated environment, making it challenging for applications to interact with each other and with the broader ecosystem. This fragmentation can hinder the composability that is a hallmark of the decentralized web, where applications are envisioned to seamlessly integrate and build upon each other’s functionalities.

3. Innovation Limitations

The reliance on modified general-purpose languages does not fully escape the constraints and inefficiencies inherent to those systems. While customization can lead to improvements in certain areas, it often carries over the limitations and overhead of the underlying technology. As a result, app-specific rollups may still face issues related to scalability, flexibility, and developer accessibility, which they were meant to overcome.

In summary, while app-specific rollup environments represent a step towards addressing the one- size-fits-all dilemma of general-purpose rollups, they are not without their own set of challenges. The complexity of customization, ecosystem fragmentation, and inherited limitations of modified general- purpose languages suggest that a more fundamental rethinking of rollup technology is necessary to unlock the full potential of scalable, interoperable, and developer-friendly blockchain applications.