7 min read

Pioneering a New Web3 Era: The Power of zkEVM

Embark on a Journey Through Polygon's zkEVM

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Published on

9 May, 2023

Highlights:

  • Dream deal: Experience frictionless scalability and unprecedented speeds without compromising on security
  • Network activity hitting new highs everyday with +300% growth in active users in April 2023
  • ‍Polygon Bridge for zkEVM launched, transfer assets between Polygon zkEVM and Ethereum
  • QuickSwap, 0VIX, and Antfarm among the many promising projects built on Polygon zkEVM

The need for higher scalability and security has always been paramount in the blockchain ecosystem. As Vitalik has rightly pointed out, scaling Ethereum necessitates community effort. To that end, Polygon launched its zkEVM solution in March 2023, which has gained significant market and community support since then. Polygon zkEVM is a zero-knowledge (ZK) scaling solution that combines the security and speed of ZK cryptography with the familiar coding and development of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). In just over a month since its Mainnet Beta launch, the project has been making strides in the web3 sphere and setting new records everyday. This report aims to provide insights into the inner workings of Polygon zkEVM, as well as recent trends and developments in the network’s activity.

Before we proceed, perhaps a refresher on the etymology of zkEVM (no, it’s not an alien planet) will make things easier to comprehend.

zkEVM boils down into two components:

  • zk: ZK proof technology, which can prove the validity of a batch of transactions through a succinct proof, to achieve computational trustworthiness and thus achieve scaling.
  • EVM: The smart contract execution environment of the Ethereum ecosystem.

Back to basics: Rollups vs ZK-rollups

A rollup is a scaling system that enables slower blockchains to become faster and cheaper. Rollups process many transactions on a faster blockchain (L2), combine them into a single data block, and then return the transaction to the parent blockchain (L1), hence leveraging the security of the L1 chain. ZK-rollups use a cryptography technique called ZK proofs to validate a transaction using minimal information about that transaction. In the case of zkEVM, L2 transactions are executed on the zkEVM, and the off-chain proof network generates the proof of validity required for the transaction’s execution. The final state transition and proof are then submitted to the Ethereum Mainnet. Owing to its complex nature, ZK proofs remained a widely theoretical concept with applications only for specific use cases. Polygon Labs’ robust engineering team breached through the “ZK slump” with their consistent efforts in research and development in cryptography.

TL;DR

  • Rollups: A bullet train line for processing transactions
  • Reduce computations (hence improving speed) on L1 chain by only sending batches of processed transactions
  • ZK-Rollups are rollups on steroids, they use ZK Proofs for a faster experience

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Tech Briefing!

Polygon’s zkEVM Rollup comprises of the Proof of Efficiency (PoE) consensus algorithm, zkNode, zkProver, Proof Builder for STARK AND SNARK, and Rollup cross-chain bridge.

  • PoE consensus algorithm: PoE when combined with Proof of Stake (PoS) ensures decentralization and efficiency of producing blocks in a zkEVM Rollup.
  • zkNode: Software that miners run to participate in Polygon’s zkEVm Rollup network. It performs transaction synchronization, sorting, and verification.
  • zkProver: Software that miners run to participate as an Aggregator in Polygon zkEVM network. It is a prover that generates ZK-proofs.
  • STARK and SNARK Proof Builder: These two Proof Builders generate proofs for two different types of ZK-proof techniques, STARK and SNARK.
  • Rollup cross-chain bridge: Polygon zkEVM Rollup is a traditional Burn/Mint cross-chain bridge, but can also be used as a bridge to other L2s.

Why join the bandwagon?

  1. DApp developers can use zkEVM to give “ZK boosts” to smart contracts without modifying their code, hence eliminating the risk of introducing a security vulnerability. Developers can use Ethereum’s Solidity or Vyper languages, and do not need any background in ZK proofs or other new languages.
  2. Since no code changes are needed, there is no need for additional audits, hence cutting down on expenses.
  3. The solution leverages the security and decentralization of Ethereum, since transactions are still finalized on Ethereum.
  4. The solution benefits from an already vibrant and active Ethereum community.
  5. This allows for significant and quick adoption of dApps, since apps built on Ethereum are designed to be compatible with zkEVM.
  6. Significant industry implications, e.g., in healthcare, Polygon zkEVM can increase transaction speed by allowing for fast and secure sharing of medical records. Polygon zkEVM can increase transaction speed by enabling near instant tracking and verification of goods in supply chains.

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Lets talk market!

The number of transactions on a network is representative of its health. Fortunately for Polygon zkEVM, all the metrics are charting an upward trajectory. The total number of transactions on the network witnessed a steady rise throughout April 2023, and amassed an impressive 300% increase by the end of the month.

4_ZGzz8axBVsqouPPEo9wbPg.webp While the transaction volume may not be as high as Ethereum’s (yet), when accounted for the gas fees, the Polygon zkEVM shines with its incredible ergonomics. In fact, last month, gas fees on Polygon zkEVM were 7x cheaper than those on Ethereum Mainnet, even during peak network activity. This exceptional cost efficiency is a major advantage for developers and users looking for an affordable and scalable solution.

5_2h_aeun1bj4pXs70BMe30Q.webp Luganodes has also contributed to the swift adoption of Polygon zkEVM by leveraging our robust infrastructure to enable open and transparent operations on the network. Read more about Luganodes’ role in the zkEVM Mainnet Beta launch here.

Several established networks have endured the worst of the dry and unrelenting winds of the web3 winter, and witnessed only modest if not negative growth. But despite the unfavorable market sentiment, Polygon zkEVM has managed to buck the trend and secure a growing user base. In April 2023 alone, the network registered a staggering 300% surge in its active user set, with a record 14,020 users onboarded in a single day! As developers continue to build on the network at an extraordinary pace, this uptrend in the unique active address set shows no sign of levelling off.

6_4Z6SdWT-SHaVobQNMpr0kg.webp A myriad of projects are being onboarded on the Mainnet Beta, including premier dApps such as Lens and Balancer, top-tier gaming projects such as Midnight Society and Oath of Peak, and reputed infrastructure providers such as ANKR, Alchemy, Sequence, and The Graph. Some promising applications that registered rapid surges in user activity include 0VIX, Quickswap, Antfarm, LeetSwap, zkMoonSwap and SushiSwap.

With the launch of the Polygon zkEVM bridge, users will also be able to experience the same level of security and functionality as its Polygon PoS counterpart, and carry out hassle-free transfer of assets between Polygon zkEVM and Ethereum.

Wrappin…Rolling it up!

Polygon zkEVM has set precedent for scaling the world’s most mature L1 public protocol. With it’s EVM equivalence, users and developers can leverage the vibrant ecosystem and other network effect’s of Ethereum with a significant scalability advantage. As Polygon zkEVM is continues to establish the gold standard in zkEVM technology, we are confident that the next billion users will soon be onboarded on web3 infrastructure and zkEVM technology will be the major driver of this mass adoption.

About Luganodes

Luganodes is a world-class, Swiss-operated, non-custodial blockchain infrastructure provider that has rapidly gained recognition in the industry for offering institutional-grade services. It was born out of the Lugano Plan B Program, an initiative driven by Tether and the City of Lugano. Luganodes maintains an exceptional 99.9% uptime with round-the-clock monitoring by SRE experts. With support for 36+ PoS networks, it ranks among the top validators on Polygon, Polkadot, Sui, and Tron. Luganodes prioritizes security and compliance, holding the distinction of being one of the first staking providers to adhere to all SOC 2 Type II, GDPR, and ISO 27001 standards as well as offering Chainproof insurance to institutional clients.

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