The scalability of Ethereum is entering a whole new phase with the launch of several “zero-knowledge rollup” solutions based on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
New solutions improving the scalability of the Ethereum blockchain
There has been much discussion in recent months about the scalability of Ethereum, both in view of its new Merge update and the launch of the new zero-knowledge rollups, which were expected to take much longer before they actually became usable.
Instead, Polygon a few days ago announced the launch of the first rollups for Ethereum’s EVM, which make Buterin’s blockchain much more scalable and cheaper to transact.
We are proud to announce a giant leap forward for Ethereum scaling and ZK innovation.
Introducing Polygon #zkEVM, the first EVM-equivalent ZK L2.
Today we’re releasing a complete implementation, fully open-source, and we’re just getting started.
— Polygon (Labs) (@0xPolygonLabs) July 20, 2022
In a nutshell, zero-knowledge rollups (ZK rollups) work by grouping all transactions that are then sent to the blockchain into a single block, reducing computation time and, thus, making transactions faster and cheaper.
The rollup operators themselves are in charge of validating the transactions in the blockchain to prove that the changes made to arrive at a single blockchain were made according to all the rules of regularity and correctness. The ZK-rollup protocol is controlled by smart contracts running on Ethereum. Therefore, Ethereum serves as the base layer or “layer 1” for ZK-rollup.
How the execution of the zero-knowledge rollup takes place
While the ZK-rollup protocol resides on Ethereum, transaction execution and state storage occur instead on a separate virtual machine that is independent of Ethereum’s EVM. This machine is where execution takes place for transactions on the ZK-rollup and serves as the secondary layer or “layer 2” for the ZK-rollup protocol.
According to experts at the company 21Shares, this could be one of the major innovations for Ethereum and its scalability as well as initiating new applications.
For example, these rollups can initiate new decentralized digital identity solutions, providing information about age, address or other, with the guarantee that it is not false information.
In addition, “zero knowledge” also provides valuable support in ensuring anonymity in online voting processes, messaging, and, most importantly, in keeping certain transactions private. This is something that could be very important, according to 21Shares experts, for example in bringing institutional investors to invest in DeFi without having to reveal their identity.