What is zkSync: A Deep Dive into Ethereum’s zk-rollup Scaling Innovation

zksync layer-2

Faster, cheaper, and more secure transactions with zk-rollup

zkSync is among the most recognized Layer-2 scaling solutions for Ethereum. In this article, we dive into its technology, assess its competitors, and explore its current application landscape. Through this exploration, we will gain insight into zkSync’s potential in addressing Ethereum’s scalability issues and how it drives blockchain mainstream adoption.


What is zkSync?

zkSync is a Layer-2 scaling solution for the Ethereum blockchain that employs zk-rollup technology to enhance scalability and efficiency. By bundling multiple transactions into a single cryptographic proof and processing them off-chain, zkSync significantly boosts Ethereum’s transaction throughput. 

Notably, this approach helps alleviate network congestion and lowers gas fees, making it more cost-effective for users to interact with Ethereum smart contracts and send tokens. Despite its off-chain processing, zkSync maintains a high level of security by anchoring transaction finality to the Ethereum mainnet, ensuring the safety of user assets. 

Who is the team behind zkSync?

MatterLabs is the company that built zkSync. The blockchain technology company is based in Berlin, but has a global presence. It is focused on enhancing the scalability and usability of Ethereum and other blockchain networks through zk-Rollup technology. 

zkSync is MatterLabs flagship project, and they’ve been working on it since the summer of 2020. The project is completely open-source, making their contributions transparent and freely available to the blockchain community. 

How is zkSync different from other Layer-2 networks

zkSync, like other Layer-2 scaling solutions, aims to improve the scalability and efficiency of the Ethereum blockchain. However, there are some key differences that set zkSync apart from other popular Layer-2 networks, such as Optimism and StarkNet.

zkSync vs. Optimism

zkSync and Optimism are both Layer-2 scaling solutions for Ethereum, but they differ in underlying technology and security models. zkSync utilizes zk-Rollup technology with zero-knowledge proofs for robust security. It processes transactions off-chain and anchors their finality to the Ethereum mainnet. 

On the other hand, Optimism employs Optimistic Rollup technology. It assumes transaction validity by default and resolves disputes on-chain through fraud proofs. While Optimistic Rollup also offers high throughput and scalability, it has a different security model compared to zkSync.

zkSync vs. Polygon

The primary distinction between Polygon and zkSync is their approach to scaling solutions. Polygon provides a versatile scaling framework with various options, such as sidechains, their custom Supernets and the recent zkEVM. This versatility empowers developers to fine-tune their solutions according to their unique needs and objectives.

However, zkSync is characterized by its commitment to secure and efficient scaling, achieved through zk-rRollup technology. The choice between these two solutions depends largely on a project’s specific requirements and preferences.

StarkNet vs. zkSync

zkSync and StarkNet are both Layer-2 scaling solutions utilizing zero-knowledge technology, but they differ in some key aspects. StarkNet relies on zk-STARKs, while zkSync employs zk-SNARKs. This results in differences in setup procedures, scalability, and resistance to potential quantum computer attacks.

One significant distinction is that zkSync is EVM-compatible, meaning it can support Ethereum smart contracts seamlessly. In contrast, StarkNet currently lacks this compatibility. 

Does zkSync have a native token?

zkSync doesn’t have its own token yet, but many are eagerly awaiting news of its possible token launch. We’ll closely monitor any updates as it’s one of our most anticipated airdrop projects.

Developing dapps on zkSync

zkSync Lite vs. zkSync Era

zkSync began with zkSync Lite, a simplified version primarily focused on basic payment solutions using zk-rollups. While it excelled in fast and cost-effective token swaps and transfers, Lite had limitations due to its lack of EVM compatibility. These limitations simply restricted its use cases.

Subsequently, zkSync Era emerged as an advanced iteration of zkSync. This advancement overcame the previous constraints, allowing developers to migrate their EVM-compatible dapps to zkSync Era. This transition is a significant step forward in zkSync’s evolution, as it enables developers to enjoy lower fees while creating more sophisticated and secure Web3 applications.

Quickstart with zkSync Era

To seamlessly integrate zkSync into your existing Ethereum-based applications, all your current Ethereum software development kits (SDKs) will work effortlessly. Moreover, your users can expect a familiar experience on zkSync. 

To unlock advanced zkSync features, such as account abstraction, utilize the zkSync SDK.

Here’s a checklist to prepare for your zkSync integration:

  1. Security and Ethereum Differences: Familiarize yourself with security considerations and key distinctions between zkSync and Ethereum. This understanding is crucial for a smooth transition.
  2. Install zkSync Hardhat Plugin: To deploy smart contracts with zkSync, install the zkSync Hardhat plugin. It streamlines the development process.
  3. Study zksync-web3 Library: Studay the zksync-web3 library. This knowledge will empower you to construct the frontend of your dapp effectively using zkSync.
  4. Connect Metamask to zkSync Era.

For more comprehensive guidance, check out the zkSync Era documentation.

What are the most popular dapps on zkSync?

Various dapps spanning different categories, such as DeFi, social, and wallets, have already integrated zkSync for improved performance and scalability.

Some prominent dapps that are considering or actively using zkSync include:

  • DeFi:
    • 1inch Network: A decentralized exchange (DEX) aggregator.
    • Balancer: An automated portfolio management and liquidity protocol.
    • Mute.io: An AMM DEX and DeFi suite that utilizes zk-rollup scalability.
  • Wallet:
    • MetaMask: One of the most widely used crypto wallets in Web3.  
    • Argent: A user-friendly Web3 wallet with low fees and robust security.
  • Social:
    • CyberConnect: A decentralized social graph protocol.
    • DeBank: A Web3 messenger with portfolio management features.

Future prospects and influence of zkSync

When Optimism and Arbitrum launched, they attracted many Ethereum dapps seeking efficiency and cost savings, demonstrating the power of optimistic rollups. As a significant player in zk-rollup technology, zkSync holds great potential to impact the Ethereum and blockchain space.

As zkSync continues to integrate with more projects and advances its technology, it could contribute significantly to mainstream blockchain adoption and play a pivotal role in Ethereum’s future success. However, given the dynamic nature of the blockchain industry, staying updated on zkSync’s progress is crucial for a better understanding of its future influence. 

At DappRadar, we offer data-driven tools and reports that empower users to gain a deeper knowledge of the current and historical performance of individual dapps and the dapp industry as a whole. Stay well-informed as you navigate the world of Web3 with DappRadar.

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