What is zkEVM? An innovation that can increase Ethereum transaction speeds

For years, critics have been Ethereum He may apologize for his slowness. The underlying protocol can only process 10-15 transactions per second, and fees often become unsustainable during times of high user activity. The developers have tried a number of solutions, among them side chainsWhich moves transactions to a second layer where they are processed at a fast pace and then forwarded back to the main chain.

Often side transactions are grouped together and sent all back to the underlying protocol at once, “pooled” and submitted for validation. Historically, this has worked for single applications – but there is a catch: many of these side chains use so-called “optimistic” architectures.

such mass transactions and submission to the underlying protocol without any evidence that the transactions were properly and justly executed; At the protocol layer, it can take up to two weeks to definitively check and verify transactions (which is why they are “optimistic” – they are optimistic that users aren’t lying).

Enter the latest innovation: zkEVM!

What is zkEVM?

zkEVMs (and the accompanying innovation known as zkSync – we’ll get to that) was first discussed enthusiastically at least in 2014, and the technology is finally getting closer to usability. The main players in the world of Ethereum development, such as ribbed and Scroll, they build it, and the others are scrambling to follow suit.

In practice, zkEVM is a complete overhaul of the core computing infrastructure of Ethereum (i.e. Ethereum virtual machineor EVM) which makes the network compatible with a more efficient aggregation type with Zero Knowledge Certificate, a complex coding mechanism is necessary to solve the problems described above. Let’s dig a little deeper.

How do zkEVMs work?

First, the testimony of lack of knowledge. This is a standard cryptographic innovation that has been around since the 1980s; It is not unique to the blockchain. The goal of the zero-knowledge proof is to impart knowledge without revealing the details or content of that knowledge – the zk proof reveals that one knows, not what they know; That the statement is true, not the reason why it is true.

In the context of cryptocurrency transactions, zero-knowledge proof allows counterparties to signal to each other that their transactions are not fraudulent without revealing additional identifying details. Specific parameters that are known to both the sender and receiver are required – both parties must be able to understand the signals that convey that a particular transaction has gone through, without knowing anything about the transaction itself.

Zero-knowledge clues are a key component of efforts to make mergers more efficient: unlike “optimistic” mergers, zk merges can provide evidence that each transaction in the block is correct; The Basic Protocol doesn’t need to do anything. It also takes less data, which means that a set of such directories can be processed very quickly.

Did you know?

For many years, many non-Ethereum projects have tried to build zk-rollup compatibility at the protocol layer. Zcash, the privacy-focused cryptocurrency, has been pursuing this goal for years, and other efforts include Aleo, built by Howard Wu, and Penumbra, a zero-layer knowledge network for tokens and decentralized exchanges.

However, zero-knowledge collectors are very specific and difficult to program; They tend to be used sparingly and in specialized applications. This is where zkEVM comes in: it integrates the zk rollup functionality into Ethereum’s main programming environment: the Ethereum Virtual Machine.

Ghost in the virtual machine

In other words, EVM translates human input at the user level into an action at the protocol level. makes business go smoothly; It makes smart contracts work. This work – translating code language into a computer-readable “bytecode” – is usually performed by a compiler, which is a component of the CPU. However, Ethereum is distributed across millions of computers, so this process takes place inside software that is shared across the network – inside the cloud. This is why it is a “virtual” machine.

Problem: Standard EVMs can interpret integrations on a case-by-case basis, which means there is no unified programming language and ZK assemblies must be designed individually.

So, zkEVM? It is a new type of Ethereum Virtual Machine that can interpret a uniform form of zero-knowledge architecture (most notably zkSync from Matter Labs). A group of users deals; Assembly puts them together and creates the directory across the upgraded Virtual Machine infrastructure and submits it to the underlying protocol; Finally, the underlying protocol – and this is the smart part – can judge evidence as correct without wasting time and money sifting through endless data.

Contrary to optimism, invalid transactions simply cannot be submitted. This allows, probably, an exponential increase in speed: ZK vehicles can deliver up to 2,000 transactions per second; When augmented with other technologies such as the ZK Porter, they can get up to 20,000.

Most importantly, zkEVM uses the same markup language, EnergyWhich Ethereum developers already know. This makes it somewhat compatible with the existing Ethereum infrastructure: NFTsAnd the smart contractsAnd the dabsAnd the DEXIn theory, stakeholders would only need to download the software to their nodes, and the result would be the same as Ethereum, but with an enhanced feature that allows bundles of cheap transactions that can be easily verified.

Dental disease

zkEVM’s technology is far from perfect. Howard Wu, a former researcher at zCash and the developer behind Aleo, a blockchain-native protocol that bakes zk compatibility into the protocol layer, said that zkEVMs can often take 12-24 hours to produce proof that is then transferred to the underlying protocol (versus 10- 15 seconds of Ethereum).

Another problem, he said, is that zkEVMs are computationally intensive and usually put the burden of creating a zero-knowledge proof of a set of transactions on a single computer – making them a single point of failure at risk of censorship. And as we saw in the Tornado Cash Privacy Project, the US government is more than willing to end centralized crypto projects.

Also, despite the blessing of zkEVMs providing compatibility, this is far from perfect: many decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, such as Curve, use features in their code base that are designed for efficiency and not supported by any zkEVM projects. Using multiple pools operating at different speeds will also lead to “liquidity fragmentation,” Wu said. โ€œThis will break fast lending and increase spreads, which will increase the price stability risks of many DeFi protocols.โ€ It looks like there is still some work to be done!

Who builds zkEVM clusters?

  • ๐Ÿ’ฑ ribbed A project dedicated to financing and building the infrastructure of Ethereum.
  • ๐Ÿ“œ he moved A project entirely devoted to investigating evidence of lack of knowledge.
  • ๐Ÿฅผ Matter Labs – The developer behind the zkSync rollup technology.

zkEVM future

zkEVM is still a very experimental technology. Polygon’s testnet will only be available in the third quarter of 2022; Its mainnet is expected in 2023. But since it was previously believed to be years away, that’s not nearly as long.

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