Polygon announces zkEVM: the innovative scalability solution for Ethereum

Elisa Campaci

4 min

Polygon zkEVM, a Layer 2 to help Ethereum scalability

Scaling Ethereum without sacrificing security and decentralisation? Polygon takes care of this by combining zero-knowledge technology with EVM!

On the 20th of July 2022, the Polygon Team announced the development of a never-before-seen scalability solution for Ethereum: Polygon zkEVM, which is based on zero-knowledge (ZK) technology and at the same time guarantees compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine. Discover zkEVM the ultimate scalability solution for Ethereum!

Polygon focuses on zero-knowledge technology

For Ethereum, there is no more pressing challenge than scalability; the increasing amount of dapp and DeFi services using its network are testing its efficiency. The number of transactions to be processed is increasing day by day and according to Polygon, the most promising solution to solve this problem is zero-knowledge technology, which allows so many transactions to be processed at the same time and at a reduced cost. Thanks to this technology, zero-knowledge rollups have been developed, i.e. Layer 2s that aggregate (off chain) multiple transactions into a ‘rollup’ transferred (on chain) on the reference Layer 1 with one and only one proof of validity. In one step, therefore, multiple transactions are transferred onto the blockchain. It must be specified that zk rollups do not record compressed transaction information, but only a cryptographic code certifying their validity (Proof ZK). This makes both the finalisation of transactions and the amount of data ending up on the blockchain lighter. ZK rollups also allow instantaneous transactions unlike another type of rollup, optimistic rollups, which are chosen as a scalability solution by protocols such as Arbitrium and Optimism.

Pros and cons of zk rollups

Although promising, zk rollups are an underused technology as a scalability solution for Ethereum. In general, zk rollups take a long time to develop and are expensive to integrate. But above all, in most cases, they are not compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine and are therefore not interoperable with Ethereum. This is the real weakness of zk rollups and what Polygon decided to work on: ‘we knew that Ethereum needs to scale. We knew that Proof ZKs are the best way to do this. We knew that EVM compatibility was the secret ingredient that would benefit both developers and users. So we built Polygon zkEVM’. What is zkEVM? A Layer 2 solution for scaling Ethereum, fully compatible with the EVM.

The uniqueness of zkEVM is full interoperability with Ethereum

Zk rollups, but compatible with Ethereum. This is Polygon‘s project! Basically, not being EVM compatible is a big disadvantage, it means not being able to use the same programming language as Ethereum (Solidity), its code or development tools. The problem with zk rollups is therefore one of usability.

Polygon zkEVM on the other hand can be used exactly like Ethereum. Developers and users can find the same security and decentralisation of the ETH network but more speed and convenience. Polygon estimates that with zkEVM, the cost of on-chain transaction fees on Layer 1 will decrease by 90%. How does zkEVM work? The full compatibility with EVM makes zkEVM an ‘Ethereum equivalent’: Web3 developers who want to improve the performance of their ETHs built on Ethereum using zkEVM can simply transfer the execution of existing smart contracts to Layer 2. The win will also be for the users who will save on all fees.

The Polygon zkEVM roadmap

The Polygon team explained that the main applications of Polygon zkEVM will be in the field of dapps of decentralised finance, NFTs, blockchain gaming and payments. With the announcement of Polygon zkEVM as Layer 2 for Ethereum scalability, the team extended an invitation to put the code to the test. Because zkEVM is open source and permissionless, everyone can use and test the code. The Testnet will be available in Q3 of 2022 and the Mainnet in early 2023.

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