Exploring the relationship between Rollup and application development Is Micro-Rollup the future?

Author: KAUTUK, Stackr Developer

Translation: Luffy, Foresight News

Starting a Rollup article with topics like “What is Rollup” or “Why do we need Rollup” is like killing Uncle Ben or shooting Wayne’s mom and dad in every iteration of Spiderman and Batman movies. If you are reading this article, I assume you already have a basic understanding of these questions, so let’s skip the debate between application chains and application Rollups and get straight to the point.

The Rise of Specific Application Rollups

General Rollups are frustrating

General Rollups are like the school system in India (I’m sure they have similar features to other school systems, but I only have firsthand experience with it).

Athletes, singers, mathematicians, philosophers, and economists all have to go through the same process to get passing grades. The system is not “biased” towards a specific group, but it is also not “fair” to everyone. But hey, we’re friends! (This will be important later).

Similarly, for applications on general Rollups, the bottleneck is the runtime environment itself, as Rollup cannot cater to the specific needs of each application. Each application may require different types of optimizations, and any customization or improvement would be impractical for them. However, if you’re just experimenting and want to get a rough idea of something, this is the most convenient option. Additionally, for certain applications, like some regular students, this may be the right solution!

Specific Application Rollups are confusing

Well, my child is too athletic for a public school, he needs special training. Should I send him to a sports academy or should I hire a private coach…

Rollups are difficult to categorize

Let’s play a game

Below are 8 specific application Rollups. However, one item in each group doesn’t really belong to that group. Can you figure out which one it is?

Application specificity is becoming a puzzling term. There are some specific application Rollups that allow contract deployment on top of themselves; there are also some specific application Rollups that can allow contract deployment because their virtual machines support it, but with certain limitations; and there are some specific application Rollups that have closed virtual machines or no virtual machine at all and do not support other types of development.

Is it fair to categorize them together?

Answers to the above exercise:

Group 1: Celo is a strange option because it allows other developers to build applications that can be directly used by other developers. Other projects that can be considered in Group 1 include Fuel-v1, Aevo, RhinoFi, etc.

Group 2: Loopring is a strange option because it is the only Rollup specifically built for direct use, while the rest are networks optimized for specific functionalities such as privacy, NFT, and TPS, so that the applications deployed on them can inherit these functionalities. Other projects that can be considered in Group 2 include Kinto, Kroma, Public Goods Network, etc.

Issues with deploying contracts in the modified generalized virtual machine

The virtual machines you deploy smart contracts on are simply Turing complete state machines. The contracts you deploy on them are just modifications to the state itself and do not actually affect the core state transition rules of the VM. Rollup is essentially a virtual machine and your business logic resides on top of it.

Your business logic is separate from the state transition function of the Rollup.

I also refer to it as an “example of smart contracts building applications” because you deploy some additional logic on top of the virtual machine. Rollup does not “directly” care about the logic of proving applications. The VM is the Rollup, not your application.

Of course, you are the sole owner of the virtual machine, and your application is the only citizen. You can continually enhance the foundation itself to make it more suitable for the application. You can continue to enhance the State Transition Function (STF) and add/remove opcodes to improve the performance of the application, but the application is still independent and subject to the limitations of the VM itself.

Just like a Lamborghini Urus pulling a Lamborghini Huracan

An individual application on a specific application Rollup can do better. What if you continually enhance the STF so that the scope of STF becomes smaller and smaller to fit the business logic of your application? Eventually, as you continue to enhance, the STF will converge to the point where the business logic and STF overlap, and then you will realize… oh, wait!

Micro-Rollup is born

Therefore, Micro-Rollup is simply a Rollup where the state transition function of the application is the business logic itself.

The application becomes the Rollup, capable of managing states in any execution environment and in any possible way, and the state transition rules can be directly applied in the runtime of the application. The application can be customized without any restrictions. The proof is related to your business logic, not the machine, making your application lightweight.

Micro-Rollup is not limited in terms of developer experience. You can use any tool you like to build them because they are not restricted by virtual machines. They look like web2 backend applications, but they regularly publish transaction proofs to L1. I think this will be a major factor in web2 developers transitioning to the web3 field.

In fact, a better example is the Rimac Nevera, because it is faster and electric, so it may be cheaper to run

The only drawback of this approach is the custom proof mechanism for each different application. If the application logic can be compiled into a common intermediary, then proving the common intermediary can eliminate the pain of proving each application separately. However, I personally think this is just a trade-off between efficiency and faster development.

There are ways to solve this problem without involving the execution layer of the virtual machine. What if there was a tool that allowed developers to do this?

This is the mission of Stackr Labs: We are building a Micro-Rollup framework and SDK so that anyone and everyone can build their applications unrestrictedly in any language they want, just like building web2 backend applications. Making Micro-Rollup development as simple as writing and deploying smart contracts, not to mention the modular ability to choose any ecosystem for developers.

So is Micro-Rollup real?

It has always been, just like Rollup itself.

Applications like Loopring, dYdX, and Fuel-v1 have already emerged or have been around for a long time. These are highly optimized Rollups with custom logic specifically designed to serve their use cases. The first non-VM-specific application Rollup that I know of and have been personally involved in is Hubble Optimistic Rollup, a 3-year-old project that once served as the core infrastructure for the Worldcoin token.

Now it is becoming increasingly important to distinguish these terms.

The use cases of Micro-Rollups are limitless:

  • Consumer products such as games, exchanges, NFT markets, etc.
  • Application chains can be transformed into application Rollups
  • You can even build a new type of virtual machine that supports unique use cases, thus opening the door to virtual machine innovation


The structure tree I presented earlier lacks elements of custom state machines.

In addition, for individual applications, using a VM-based or EVM-based Rollup to deploy a single protocol is not efficient. It is suitable for applications that already have a large number of smart contracts and run their protocols on EVM-like chains, but not for those who “want more applications” and want to get rid of VM restrictions.

So if we prune this tree, the final tree will look like this. This is also why I believe that in the near future, App-Rollup, Micro-Rollup, or RollApp will be called App.

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