Eldfell L3 (alpha-4) is live!

Taiko’s fourth testnet has arrived! Eldfell L3 (alpha-4) is our first experiment with inception layers and a new staking based proving design.

We are launching this testnet in order to test two things:

  1. Deploying Taiko on Taiko as an L3 inception layer (a rollup on a rollup 😏)

  2. Testing a new staking based prover economics

Our alpha-N releases are always experiments to test our hypothesis on the protocol and build a more robust system. So let's dive in!

Inception layers

Inception layers are a neat property that come from having an Ethereum-equivalent ZK-Rollup (Type-1 ZK-EVM). Because the Taiko L2 looks exactly the same as Ethereum L1, why don’t we try deploying Taiko on Taiko in the same way? We were curious, so we did it.

Honestly, the design of the fully scaled rollup space goes pretty in depth, so we’ll save that for another post. The cool thing we have with inception layers is so much flexibility in the design. You can deploy Taiko as an L2, an L3, and even further layers like L4s…

What we are really doing here is fully testing all the ways we can use Taiko to scale Ethereum. You can read more about inception layers in our official docs: https://taiko.xyz/docs/concepts/inception-layers.

Staking based prover economics

Alpha-4 comes with a new staking based prover economics. In alpha-3, we had a different design: first prover wins. In a testnet scenario, this results in many provers “wasting work”, because they’re all working on proving the same block--but only one gets the reward!

On mainnet, it’s unlikely this would happen. Rational provers won’t waste resources proving blocks if they don’t earn any reward, they’ll just give up! So what this really will cause is the provers to centralize… very possibly to a single prover. This alpha-3 proving design maximizes for efficiency, but it comes at the cost of liveness.

In this new approach the protocol draws a prover from a pool, and assigns it to a proposed block. This designated prover must then submit a valid proof within a set time window for block verification. If the prover fails to submit the proof in time, the prover’s stake will be slashed (but don’t worry about that on testnet, it’s a good test).

This prover pool is determined from several factors:

  1. The amount of tokens a prover stakes per capacity. The higher the stake, the more likely the prover will be selected.

  2. The expected reward earned per block. Higher rewards make it less likely for the prover to be selected.

  3. The capacity specified by the prover. If a prover is selected, the capacity reduces by one, and when the capacity hits zero, the prover will no longer be selected. When a block assigned to this prover is proven (by them or any other prover), the capacity increases by one, up to the max capacity specified during staking.

Due to implementation constraints, the prover pool is limited to 32 provers. As a result, the protocol mandates a minimum of 128 capacity per prover.

Could this new design lead to more centralized proving?

The protocol supports the top 32 provers who have staked the most tokens and offer the highest capacity. However, we anticipate that secondary proof markets will further distribute proving tasks to smaller provers. Check out our recent grant program for more information on proof markets.

But what about Grimsvotn

Grimsvotn continues as normal with no changes except Eldfell deployed on top.

What’s next

You can find all the guides as per usual on our docs here.

A message to the community

We follow the Discord channel’s closely, and know in the last testnet it was very difficult to generate a proof, because of the “fastest prover wins” design. This was what led us to developing the staking based proving economics.

Will I be able to prove blocks?

Most likely, yes! Under the current configuration for staking, we can handle 32 provers, so there should always be at least 32. But what happens when they fail to submit a proof on time, or capacity is full? The proving becomes open to anyone, and we have modifications to our client to run with that configuration. So even if you're not top 32, you can still prove!

Is it bad if I get slashed?

If you miss a few blocks and get penalized, don't fret — Eldfell tokens aren't considered valuable, and we actually want to see some slashing occur to thoroughly test the protocol and proving economics.


We will be distributing TTKOe out in short time. In the meantime, you can ask one of the mods in our Discord and they may have some TTKOe 😉

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