Is Plasma the next expected scaling improvement for Ethereum and is it relatively close?

There are different varieties of Plasma such as Loom's side chains, Plasma Cash and OmiseGo's implementation.

Relative to Casper & sharding I believe Plasma was to be the next major scaling related release for Ethereum. Is the Plasma that is expected to release prior to Casper the general purpose version?

It seems that you could significantly scale the current network and create a form of sharding using Plasma. For example you could create a small number of regions chains each using something like DPOS (coin voting?) and each of those could contain hundreds of dapp chains with Proof of Authority. That way if some POA chain failed you wouldn't bring down the main chain processing all the resulting transactions.

What's the best information we have on the release of this kind of general purpose Plasma?

Submitted July 10, 2018 at 09:20PM }
via reddit