0 knowledge, but top speed? On crypto economy's road to mass adoption - The innovation potential of zk roll-ups and other scaling solutions



Lehrstuhl für Innovation, Strategie und Organisation
Bachelor; Master


The field of blockchain technology is rapidly evolving and one of the pressing challenges facing the industry is the scalability of layer 1 blockchains. As more and more users adopt these blockchain systems, their capacity limits are approaching, making it difficult for them to handle the increasing number of transactions. To address this issue, several scaling concepts have been proposed, including vertical scaling (e.g., optimisitc or zk roll-ups), horizontal scaling (e.g., app chains like Cosmos or Polkadot), and modular blockchains (e.g., Celestia).

For example, roll-ups (or Roll-ups-as-a-Service: RaaS) are a promising vertical scaling solution that allows layer 1 blockchains to scale by moving a large portion of the transactions off-chain and batching them together in a compact format called a roll-up. This reduces the load on the main blockchain and allows for much higher throughput. One major type of RaaS is zK roll-ups, which use zero-knowledge proofs to ensure the privacy and security of the transactions while still allowing them to be verified on-chain.

However, solutions for vertical or horizontal scaling and modular blockchains have their shortcomings each, including points of centralization, security and bridging risks, and liquidity fragmentation. This raises the question which solution or bundle of solutions is most effective and efficient for different types of protocols on the platform and application layers of a blockchain ecosystem in e.g., DeFi or DePIN.

The goal of your thesis is to develop a decision framework regarding the applicability of the overall scaling types (and respective underlying solution classes) for different demanding protocols (i.e., their clients) in a measurable manner.

- Review the literature on blockchain scaling solutions and provide an overview the sector
- Determine measurable evaluation criteria for scaling solutions e.g., regarding the degree of decentralization, security, liquidity etc. of the protocols
- Develop propositions for the applicability of certain scaling solutions or bundles of scaling solutions for different types of platform and application protocols in DeFi or another crypto subsector (e.g., DePIN)
- Conduct expert interviews to validate and further develop your conceptualization
- Derive a decision framework for the applicability of distinct scaling solutions in different uses

This project provides you a great opportunity to make a significant contribution to the field of blockchain scalability and to gain valuable experience in the area of technology management and innovation.

For an overview but also detailed perspectives into blockchain scaling: https://messari.io/report/the-rollups-as-a-service-ecosystem?__s=x975qoodt260tmkhs8ta&utm_source=drip&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=For%20the%20Greater%20Public%20Good

Keywords: Blockchain, Crypto, Decentralized Platforms, zero knowledge, zk proofs, smart contracts, Decentralized Finance