Polygon recently made headlines by announcing its zero-knowledge EVM (zkEVM), an Ethereum-compatible scaling solution. This week, Polygon announced that it had opened up its Plonky2 and Starky zero-knowledge proof systems. These two systems are dual-licensed under the MIT and Apache2 license.

But, there are questions among investors and fans about what these systems are. That said, let’s take a look at…

What is Polygon’s Plonky2 system?

The Plonky2 system was introduced in early January 2022. Polygon aims to use zero-knowledge proofs to scale Ethereum to one billion users. Plonky2 is a recursive SNARK (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge). This system is supposed to be a hundred times faster than the others.

Zero-knowledge recursive proofs, according to Polygon, were mostly theoretical in 2014. They took around 120 seconds to create in 2019, which fell to 60 seconds in 2020. take only 0.17 seconds.

Let’s say we want to demonstrate the validity of 1,000 transactions. Simultaneously validating 1,000 transactions with a single credential would be costly and time-consuming. Instead, we can use 1,000 machines to produce 1,000 proofs simultaneously. Then we can create a layer of recursive proofs, each of which checks two transaction proofs, and recursively aggregate these transaction proofs. This method is repeated until there is only one proof left that can validate 1,000 transactions.

Why is Plonky2 important?

Recursive proofs are essential for scalability. Moreover, the recursive method can be more decentralized, faster and less resource-intensive.

Moreover, Plonky2 is natively compatible with Ethereum. According to Polygon, it will take around 1 million gas to validate a size-optimized plonky2 proof on Ethereum. Additionally, the cost of plonky2 proof verification is expected to be between 170 and 200,000 gas, making it the fastest and cheapest verification method on Ethereum.

Polygon highlighted its commitment to help scale ZK last year. This was a significant turning point in the development of Ethereum scaling as Polygon moved from being a crucial answer for the present to creating the future. Plonky2 is a significant step forward for all of space and a critical milestone for this quest.

ZK L2s have enjoyed significant hype, but existing approaches rely on inefficient cryptographic primitives that limit scalability. Plonky2 enables the Polygon ecosystem to build the most efficient and scalable L2s. Ultimately, L2s will compete on throughput and cost.