RaaS for Web3 developers: Basics you need to know

RaaS for Web3 developers: Basics you need to know

Eugenia Filippova
March 4, 2024

Rollups as a Service, or RaaS, is the recent trend in the blockchain infrastructure. The main reason why this trend appears is that layer 2 solutions get saturated with market players, but the request for quick launch, easy implementation, low latency, and fees stays the same. Generally, while creating a new Web3 project, developers have a few ways to deploy their dApps:

  • Deploying on an existing layer 1 or layer 2 ecosystems, creating their application-specific chain.
  • Launch a rollup over the secreted blockchain to reach the optimal balance between customization, performance, and effort.

What is a Rollup in the blockchain ecosystem?

Rollup is a method to increase network throughput and efficiency by processing TXs off the main chain and then posting the processed TX data back to the main chain in a compressed form. This approach makes everything faster yet saves all the functionality the developer might need.

What is a Rollups as a Service?

RaaS providers take responsibility for developing and customizing Rollups for the request of the client. Typically, different RaaS companies have their specialization for different kinds of Web3 projects, for example, for DeFi, games, social purposes, etc. They streamline the process, enabling developers to fine-tune features such as data accessibility, fees, and other rollup attributes tailored to their specific apps, often offering a no-code deployment.

Types of rollup solutions

There are two main types of rollup solutions: optimistic and zero-knowledge (“zk”). Optimistic rollups assume transactions are valid by default and verify them only if they are challenged. ZK-rollups use cryptographic proofs to verify transactions' validity before posting them to the main chain, ensuring speed and security. 

Source: Annual ReveloIntel's View on Trends and Narratives.

Typical functions of RaaS: Comparison of 4 popular service providers

Here’s what a developer can find in the offer of different RaaS providers:

Feature Immutable X dYdX Loopring StarkNet
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) deployment Yes Yes Yes Yes
Customizable fees Yes Limited Yes Yes
Token integration Supported Limited Supported Supported
Governance model selection Limited Limited Yes Yes
Smart contract development flexibility High Moderate High High
Scalability solutions Optimistic Rollup zk-STARKs zk-SNARKs zk-STARKs
Target use cases Gaming, NFTs, DeFi DeFi DeFi, general purpose General purpose

Note: Be sure to check offers on the official providers' websites at your current moment.

Short conclusions on a comparison

  • Immutable X is the best choice for many gaming apps and NFT startups, allowing trading directly on the rollup.
  • dYdX primarily caters to DeFi apps, offering high transaction throughput and low fees.
  • Loopring provides a general-purpose solution supporting various DeFi and custom token integration.
  • StarkNet is highly customizable but requires more technical expertise for development.

According to the Binance study published in Nov 2023, Arbitrum is an undoubted leader by market share, while Optimism ranks second by a wide margin compared to the rest of the solutions in the market. (Source)

More on Rollups as a Service solutions/providers and their latest updates

  1. Conduit allows developers to swiftly deploy production-grade OP Chains (rollups built on top of ETH using the OP Stack) in minutes. Now on Mainnet.
  2. Quicknode offers battle-tested blockchain API infrastructure coupled with extensive AppChain and RaaS tools. The team just announced a partnership and support for zkSync Hyperchains.

  3. alt_layer allows the deployment of fully managed, production-grade rollups in just a few clicks and offers a no-code dashboard. And the $ALT token is to be launched soon on Binance Launchpool!
  4. Discover more news from RaaS providers in our X thread.

Rollup Summer: Trends of 2023 and forecast for 2024

Diving deeper into rollups, it's worth mentioning the anticipated wave of "Rollup Summer," reminiscent of the DeFi Summer in 2020 and Inscription Summer in 2023. This term predicts a booming growth in the adoption of Rollup technology in many Web3 projects.

Key features of Rollup Summer are expected to be:

  • The emergence and introduction of numerous new rollup projects and application-specific chains.
  • There is massive interest from users, investors, and developers in the rollup ecosystem, exceeding the growth seen in previous years.
  • A dynamic alignment of business performance and asset prices, leading to a rapid rise in the market valuation for rollups and their related initiatives.

More on Rollup Summer from Mint Ventures you may read here.

The key takeaways of 2023

  1. Initiatives like EIP-4844 (Proto-Danksharding) benefit the ecosystem by bringing rollup fees down by orders of magnitude and enabling Ethereum to remain competitive without sacrificing decentralization.
  2. The emergence of cost-effective data availability layers, such as @CelestiaOrg, is a positive trend. Progress in this domain can render more economical rollup operations and confer a competitive advantage upon RaaS providers.
  3. The decentralization of sequencers could foster the emergence of novel rollup services on platforms like @eigenlayer scaling the rollup ecosystem. One of those, Witness Chain, is developing Watchtower networks to fill the trust gaps in blockchains.
  4. While rollups are primarily linked to Ethereum, their adaptable nature allows integration with other smart contract-capable blockchains with fitting architectures. Despite Ethereum's forefront position in advancing rollups, networks like Cosmos and Solana are progressively establishing their own rollup environments.

One example is Eclipse, which utilizes Solana Virtual Machine (SVM) for the execution, Celestia for the data availability, and Ethereum mainnet for settlement and consensus.

Source: A Solana Rollup on Ethereum? An Interview With Eclipse

Eclipse and Injective partnered to introduce the groundbreaking Solana SVM within the Cosmos network. This collaboration brought Solana's smart contract capabilities into the Cosmos ecosystem, facilitated by Injective's connection with Wormhole, which enabled the first-ever support for Solana assets on a Cosmos chain. The introduction of the SVM rollup allows for the smooth deployment of Solana-based smart contracts into Cosmos, enhancing interoperability and expanding the functional scope of both ecosystems.

The Interchain Foundation, focused on Cosmos adoption, prioritized the growth of the 'internet of blockchains' in a 2024 roadmap. The main content of the 50-page document centers around Cosmos' emphasis on blockchain modularity and interoperability, with additional mentions of Ethereum rollups. 

RaaS as the next-level abstraction we all dream about

With Rollups as a Service emerging as a game-changer, even your Web3 app may get another history of development and growth. These providers simplify development and ignite healthy competition within the RaaS sector based on research and inventions. And this starts the race towards even lower fees yet high scalability and throughput, ultimately benefiting developers and users alike.

Proprietary frameworks employed by Rollups as a Service providers could become a key differentiator, offering unique functionalities and catering to specific needs within the diverse Web3 ecosystem. As more dApps apply rollup technology, the burden on Layer 1 blockchains will ease, paving the way for scalable, cost-effective, and user-friendly experiences for all participants.

Eugenia Filippova
Partnership Development and Communications at Dysnix
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