Ethereum scaling – or lack thereof – remains a pressing issue in the blockchain industry. Even though ETH 2.0 will offer many improvements, there is no consensus on when it will go live. Until then, solutions such as zkSync will continue to gain traction, providing many benefits.
What exactly is zkSync?
The concept of zkSync is to provide a trustless and uncompromising layer 2 scaling solution for the Ethereum blockchain. The team achieves this through zkRollup technology, zerk proof of knowledge, and on-chain data availability. The result is how users can send funds through zkSync without worrying about switching between layers, new deposit addresses, or friction.
Additionally, the zkSync the solution is exciting for users and developers. The prospect of lower fees, improving the UX aspect of crypto wallets and services, and various DeFi improvements to explore are just a few examples of the importance of this project. It removes the need for third parties, instant confirmations, up to 99% fee reductions, and ensures payments can be made to existing Ethereum addresses and smart contracts.
How is it different from other solutions?
The Ethereum ecosystem is home to various Layer 2 scaling solutions. Each project tries a slightly different approach, but the zkSync team is confident that they stand out when it comes to security and usability. The availability of on-chain data and the use of zkRollup technology ensure that no operational activity is required to keep funds secure. Even if users were not to transact for months, they could still withdraw assets without outside help.
The concept of zkRollups was touted as “viable for payments, exchanges, and other application-specific use cases” by Vitalik Buterin. Additionally, Buterin expects zkRollups to become the favorable option for all use cases with continued improvements in ZK-SNARK technology. It is therefore a different but potentially more appropriate approach than optimistic accumulations.
Even if the Ethereum network were to get congested again – for whatever reason – zkSync will work exceptionally well. An overloaded network poses no threat to zkSync’s assets, and its regular operation should not be affected, regardless of the amounts. Even though a high gas price is required to get zkSync blocks mined with high priority, this fee will be minimal compared to Layer 1 costs.
Privacy could be implemented in zkSync
One thing to consider with zkSync is how this layer 2 solution does not introduce additional privacy (yet). It is a transparent network like Ethereum, without any obfuscation. However, the team admits that privacy should be taken seriously and might even be the main catalyst for mass adoption. The zkSync roadmap introduces privacy-focused goals, although they are difficult to implement.
Enabling privacy for zkSync is not impossible but will need to be enabled by default as an integral feature. Moreover, enabling privacy by default requires low private transaction costs, even if the computational overhead increases. However, the team admits that focusing on the scalability of zkSync is a priority, and they will come back to the privacy-related topic later.
Version 1 is now available
The first iteration of zkSync is on the mainnet for users to explore today. There is still room for improvement, as the team aims to finalize the Atomic Swap libraries, integrate the Numio wallet, and ongoing security audits before each major upgrade. There will be further improvements to the protocol and how it works, as the team aims to improve the overall user experience wherever possible.
Speaking of future plans, the zkSync team is exploring permissionless token listings, other wallet and exchange integrations, smart contract support, and more. There will also be a native layer token in the future, although that may not happen for some time.
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