Polygon launches zkEVM public testnet for Ethereum Layer 2 scaling network Hermez

    11 Oct 2022

    Polygon said on Oct. 10 that its zero knowledge-EVM public testnet for Hermez, which Polygon acquired last year for $250 million, went live. The company continues targeting the mainnet going live sometime in early 2023, calling it “the next step for Ethereum.” DeFi protocols Aave and Uniswap will also be launching on its testnet.

    At ETHCC in Paris in July, Polygon said it would launch its zkEVM public testnet over the summer, and was aiming for a mainnet launch in early 2023. So, today’s announcement was at least somewhat delayed.

    Polygon is a scaling tool aiming to facilitate lower-cost transactions and uses the Ethereum blockchain as its base protocol. With the introduction of zero-knowledge (ZK) rollup technology, Polygon hopes to become the chief scalable system for Ethereum.

    Hermez runs on top of Ethereum and boosts its scalability by allowing it to process more transactions for a cheaper price. This is the first time anyone will be able to test out the new network. Polygon stated that all applications, tools, and user wallets built on its Polygon proof-of-stake network will work on Hermez.

    Hermez is a type of Layer 2 scaling solution known as a zkEVM, which offers benefits that other Layer 2 protocols do not, mainly around security and application customization.

    “It was widely believed that zkEVM will take several more years to ship, which makes this an even more groundbreaking milestone, not only for Polygon but for the whole Web3 industry,” said Polygon co-founder Mihailo Bjelic.

    ZkEVMs enhance all the benefits of Layer 2 while allowing developers to create ZK-applications using the industry standard coding language Solidity. What this means is that applications and developers receive all the security and scaling benefits of ZK provides, without having to learn a new coding language.

    Following the launch, DeFi protocols like Aave and Uniswap will be deployed on the testnet. This will allow these protocols and users to experiment with Hermez. It also enables the teams behind Aave and Uniswap to test for bugs that could occur, well ahead of the mainnet launch.

    “Ultimately, Polygon zkEVM is the next step in Ethereum’s journey, and we are moving towards giving our users the full benefits of a working zkEVM – scalability without compromise. We have some work to do before we fully achieve those goals, and we’re eager to find out exactly what needs improvement and receive feedback,” David Schwartz, Polygon Hermez co-founder, said.

    The latest product announcement comes nearly a year after Polygon paid $250 million to merge with Hermez, a company focused on ZK technology that laid the groundwork for much of what ultimately became Polygon zkEVM. According to Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal, Polygon committed nearly $1 billion to ZK-related initiatives in 2021.

    But Polygon’s ZK advancements don’t exist in a vacuum. Other projects, like Scroll and Matter Labs (the team behind zkSync), are racing to launch their own zkEVMs at some point soon.

    Polygon issued several tweets this week hinting that a major zkEVM-related announcement would be coming. Polygon’s MATIC token – the native gas token for Polygon’s Proof-of-Stake chain and its upcoming zkEVM chain – is up over 70% in the past seven days.

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