Polygon’s new big reveal is ‘zkEVM’, a Scaling Solution

When it comes to scaling Ethereum, Polygon has taken some significant strides.

Its logo may appear like a hexagon, but it already maintains seven discrete teams building a corresponding web of products. Three of those teams, Hermez, Zero, and Miden, have operated together to create zkEVM.

Polygon’s zkEVM


zkEVM is a zero-knowledge proof-based rollup that achieves equivalence with the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM). Polygon team defines this as EVM specification-level compatibility.  That means developers can easily deploy applications composed in Solidity i.e. Ethereum’s smart contract language and take benefit of the ecosystem’s robust developer tools, just as they do on the Ethereum mainnet.

The big reveal came on wednesday at the Ethereum Community Conference in Paris and indicates the coming launch of a zkEVM testnet, a goal set by the Hermez team at the same conference about a year ago.

Jordi Baylina, technical lead at Polygon Hermez mentions that it was a long journey and he believes in personal terms that this has been the project of his life and Scaling Ethereum, scaling blockchains, has been his dream since 2015 if not before.

Rollups based on zero-knowledge proofs have several perks over the optimistic rollups which are already up and running, such as Optimism and Arbitrum which are the two largest by total value locked.

Zero-knowledge rollups combine numerous layer-2 transactions into one — which settle on Ethereum as validity proof. On the other hand computationally intensive, zero-knowledge rollups are much faster and more scalable.

Check this out, Will Ethereums Layer-2 chains continue after the merge?

Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal remarks that the new solution makes Ethereum almost technically or theoretically infinitely scalable, in comparison to other solutions, only Ethereum itself is needed. He also adds that it has a network effect, it has developers, and users, so that they can take Web3 to the next stage of growth.

Other projects are working on EVM-compatible or EVM-equivalent zero-knowledge rollups, such as Scroll and Matter Lab’s zkSync, but Polygon has a substantial funding advantage thanks to its $450 million raise back in February.

A closed testnet of Polygon’s zkEVM should be open within two weeks with a public permissionless testnet to follow a few weeks after.

Polygon co-founder Mihailo Bjelic conveys that the product is anticipated to reach the Ethereum mainnet by year’s end. Major Web3 applications such as Uniswap are planning to deploy on zkEVM. In addition, the co-founder also mentions that this is a future configuration of off-chain data availability and will be able to reduce the fees further.

You may find this useful, Everything you need to know about Crypto gas-fees

Polygon Avail

While zkEVM appears to be a traditional roll-up, Bjelic stated that potentially significant efficiency gains are possible by utilizing an off-chain data availability solution, such as Polygon Avail.

Avail is a totally new blockchain that is focused on data availability that fits into a framework for scalability known as “modular”. This is completely different from monolithic, such as Ethereum is today, where implementation, data availability, and settlement all occur on the same layer.

Avail lead Anurag Arjun says that in a rollup, 70% to 85% of the cost is attributed to storing Ethereum call data and that component can move to Avail, and doing so would transform zkEVM into what’s known as a validium.

Further, in Arjun’s opinion, everyone is really looking for lower transaction fees if the security can be retained and everyone will see every rollup and will have a rollup version and a validium version.

ZkEVM is a potential candidate for elevating the existing Polygon proof-of-stake chain as per Belic.

The team at Polygon is working on a way to relocate the entire proof-of-stake chain into a future version of the zkEVM in a way that would not mandate dApp developers or users to take any action. But the solution is still about a year away.

Nailwal remarks that Polygon is a multichain ecosystem and they believe there will be probably thousands of such chains built on top of Ethereum ( referring to the open-source nature of all the company’s development efforts) and backs Cryptography citing that it must be open & safe. Also, whatever the company is creating will be for the public good and everything will be open source and will be open in the public domain.

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