Polygon, one of the leading Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solutions, has unveiled a rollup compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

Dubbed Polygon Miden, the protocol uses zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs to provide enhanced Layer 2 privacy and EVM compatibility. bobbin threadwho is known for leading the construction of Novi’s Winterfell. Alan Szepieniec of the Nervos Foundation will also participate in the development of Miden’s STARK components.

The launch follows Polygon’s unveiling of a $1 billion fund for strategic investments in ZK-based solutions in August. Polygon also merged with ZK-based rollup Hermez the same month, before partnering with Ernst & Young on the third release of their Nightfall protocol in September.

The Polygon project describes zero-knowledge cryptography as “the most promising technology for scaling.”

ZK technology

The project features Polygon’s Miden virtual machine, which is at the forefront of an EVM-enabled rollup paired with zk-SNARK proofs to protect privacy.

Zero-knowledge protocols can verify transactions while ensuring that no data beyond the time and date they occurred is publicly available on the blockchain. Transactional counterparties are exclusively able to access detailed information relating to a specific transaction.

Polygon states that while ZK technology was “conceived in the mid-1980s, it wasn’t until the advent of blockchain that it found a strong use case, introducing new ways to address some of the industry’s biggest challenges”.

Early pioneers of using zero-knowledge proofs in the blockchain context include Zcash and later JP Morgan, both of which used zk-SNARK proofs to verify transactions. However, Binance describes zk-STARKs as “resolving many of the previous drawbacks of zk-SNARKs”, adding that STARK-based technologies are “now presented as the new and improved version of the protocol”.

Polygon writes that while ZK rollups hold great promise, the technology has not yet proven effective in verifying EVM-based transactions.

Miden VM distinguishes itself from existing rollup solutions by creating a STARK-based proof of execution for all programs running on the platform. The proof “can then be used by anyone to verify that a program was executed correctly, without the need to run the program again or even know what the program was,” writes Polygon.

Polygon notes that Miden includes “a prototype for early adopters” at this point. “In the coming months, the plan is to develop Miden VM into a production virtual machine with unique features such as multi-language support and built-in privacy,” the team added.

In addition to its native language Solidity, Polygon expects Miden to support a variety of high-level blockchain-centric languages ​​in the future. Miden will also be integrated with Polygon’s existing PoS, SDK, Avail, Nightfall, and Hermez.

Scaling Solutions

While Polygon first burst onto the scene with its EVM-enabled second-layer validation chain, the team’s recent investments in ZK technology and rollups signal the project’s intention to expand its suite. second layer scaling solutions.

In August, Polygon described zero-knowledge technology as essential to reaching its goal of onboarding one billion users. Despite the new release, Polygon stresses that it will continue to maintain its three zero-knowledge-based platforms, noting its ambition to become “the industry’s leading ZK powerhouse.”

While Miden includes Polygon’s first “STARK-only solution”, its recent acquisition Hermez is also experimenting with STARK-based technologies. After announcing its $1 billion zero-knowledge fund in August, Polygon revealed it would merge with ZK-rollup Hermez Network in a deal worth 250 million MATIC (approximately 250 million dollars at the time).

The Layer 2 network was renamed Polygon Hermez and absorbed into the Polygon ecosystem. The deal was described as the first successful blockchain merger and seemed to be Polygon’s first major foray into zero-knowledge technology. At the time of the merger, Hermez represented a total value locked (TVL) of $681,000. His TVL has since fallen more than 53% to $318,000.

Third iteration

In September, Ernst & Young (EY), one of the so-called big professional services firms, announced that it had started collaborating with Polygon to scale its Ethereum-based enterprise products.

Polygon has begun working with EY on the third iteration of the zk-SNARK-based scaling solution, Nightfall. The first version of Nightfall was published by EY in 2019.

EY described Nightfall 3 as combining bullish rollups with zero-knowledge cryptography, suggesting the protocol inspired Miden’s design. At the time, EY wrote:

“With privacy being a fundamental requirement for enterprise use cases as well as one of the most requested features by blockchain users overall, we strongly believe that a solution like this is very much needed and will have excellent product/market fit and adoption.”

EY also noted that it is pursuing a “joint roadmap” alongside Polygon moving forward that “will prioritize the development of Ethereum-based scaling solutions and enterprise-friendly features. focused on privacy innovations”.

“Special consideration will be given to ZK-based technology, given its potential to support advanced use cases and regulatory compliance,” he added.

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