Polygon rolls out zkEVM, a new scaling solution to cut Ethereum fees

    25 Jul 2022

    Web3 infrastructure provider Polygon announced the launch of Polygon zkEVM (zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine), which is set to become the first Ethereum-compatible scaling solution that uses the so-called “zero-knowledge proofs.” Thus, Polygon zkEVM aims to outpace Visa’s transaction throughput.

    Polygon first teased zkEVM at EthCC Paris in July 2021 and says it is designed to work effortlessly with all existing smart contracts, developer tools, and wallets while also creating less user friction by removing the need for any kind of modification or re-implementation of code.

    Polygon (Matic Network) is an interoperability and scaling protocol for launching Ethereum-compatible blockchains. Its core component is Polygon SDK, a modular, flexible framework that supports building multiple types of decentralized applications (dApps).

    “The holy grail of Web3 infrastructure should have three major properties: scalability, security, and Ethereum compatibility,” Polygon’s co-founder Mihailo Bjelic said in a statement.

    Further, Bjelic described zkEVM as “a breakthrough technology that finally achieves that, … opening a new chapter of mass adoption,” while noting that “until now, it has not been practically possible to offer all these properties at once.”

    zkEVM team estimates about a 90% reduction of current layer-1 Ethereum network costs, as well as a dramatic increase in throughput capability, with inheriting the security of the Ethereum blockchain.

    “It’s difficult to provide performance comparisons for zkEVM at this stage, but we are working towards increasing [throughput] to approximately 2,000 transactions per second (TPS),” Bjelic revealed Decrypt.

    In his words, “this would be on par with global payments processor Visa, which processes roughly 1,700 transactions per second on average – a benchmark Ethereum will have to match or surpass to become the foundation of Web3.”

    According to Polygon’s team, zkEVM’s core technology (called “zk-rollups”) is capable of offering faster transaction settlements and, thus, improved capital efficiency – a significant advantage over the technology known as Optimistic rollups.

    Zk-rollups rely on a piece of cryptography called a zero-knowledge proof, which, as Bjelic explained, provides a “validity proof” that transactions are not fraudulent, while Optimistic rollups require a dispute period within which anyone can challenge the validity of a transaction.

    “On average, this results in a seven-day delay for withdrawals when using Optimistic rollups. zkEVM has the potential to reduce this exit period from seven days to potentially just a couple of minutes,” Bjelic said.

    Speaking of how the scaling solution will work after Ethereum’s upcoming transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) network, the Polygon co-founder noted that while Ethereum fees are unlikely to change substantially even after The Merge event, “zkEVM stands to reduce network fees by [the estimated] 90% and even more in future iterations.”

    “zkEVM will also serve as a stopgap solution for transaction latency while Ethereum transitions to PoS and will subsequently enable even greater gains in throughput,” Bjelic explained, adding that the roadmap for future versions of zkEVM includes further improvements on throughput, noting that Ethereum currently achieves a maximum throughput of about 30 TPS.

    As per the Polygon team, zkEVM is expected to be deployed on the public testnet later this summer, with the mainnet launch slated for early 2023.

    Meanwhile, Ethereum on exchanges hit a four-year low alongside steady inflows into the network’s staking contract ahead of The Merge. The market cap of the second-largest cryptocurrency has rallied by more than 34.5% over the past week, reaching nearly $199 billion.

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