zkEVM could be the end game for blockchain infrastructure
zkEVM could be the end game for blockchain infrastructure
#zkEVM #game #blockchain #infrastructure Welcome to InNewCL, here is the new story we have for you today:
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Very few projects have come close to the security and decentralization of the Ethereum network. However, the inherent overhead of maintaining these two critical functions has burdened Ethereum with low throughput and prohibitively high costs. As a result, alternative Layer 1 blockchains (L1s) — which typically sacrifice security and decentralization to provide scalability — have emerged to eat away at Ethereum’s market share.
However, with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) equivalent scaling solutions bringing high throughput and low transaction fees to Ethereum itself, the question arises: do we really need these alternative L1 networks?
Despite a tough year for the industry, Ethereum is still as strong as ever
The risks of sacrificing security and decentralization have largely materialized this year with alternative L1s. These blockchains and their communities have experienced downtime, censorship, major hacks, and existential challenges caused by the centralized supply of tokens – i.e. large chunks of tokens held by malicious individuals. Meanwhile, the Ethereum ecosystem has had another good year.
For starters, we saw the long-awaited upgrade of the Ethereum blockchain from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake following their “merge” in September. This was important for several reasons, one of which was that it resulted in a massive reduction in network power consumption. It has also set the stage for further scaling solutions in the coming months and years.
Related: Post-merge ETH has become obsolete
Add to that the fact that Ethereum is still the leading network when it comes to the vast amount of decentralized applications, platforms and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) deployed on it, acting as the go-to place for all Web3 developers. Essentially, the market has not seen any of these competitors — often referred to as “Ethereum killers” — actually “kill” (or even harm) Ethereum.
However, it is understandable why alternatives have proliferated in recent years. By the looks of it, Ethereum is highly decentralized and secure, but it’s also relatively slow and expensive to use.
Get Ethereum running
To address the above challenges without significant compromises, Ethereum has now effectively offloaded execution to Layer 2 solutions (L2s). Even Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has stated that Layer 2 Zero Knowledge (ZK) solutions are the future of Ethereum scaling. He also acknowledged that further Ethereum improvements, such as B. sharding, will support this vision and make it more powerful.
ZK L2s are able to process large numbers of transactions and automatically generate mathematical proofs of the validity of those transactions. This proof can then be submitted to Ethereum and verified by its validators, effectively providing the same level of security as Ethereum. To make this advanced technology even more attractive, these proofs do not need to reveal any information about the actual transactions, allowing for transaction confidentiality when needed.
ZK L2s have been around for more than a year, but wider adoption has been hampered mainly by subpar developer experience. Due to efficiency and complexity limitations, ZK L2s have used custom execution environments instead of the well-known and widely used Ethereum Virtual Machine. After a lot of hard work and impressive cryptographic and technical breakthroughs, the developers managed to create zkEVM – an EVM compatible ZK L2.
Related: Programming languages prevent mainstream DeFi
This advanced technology allows all Ethereum projects to easily port existing smart contracts to a zkEVM L2 without any changes to their code, removing the final barrier to widespread adoption. Until recently, it was believed that fully operational zkEVMs are still three to five years away, but recent developments have shortened that timeframe significantly, with the first practical implementation of the technology already in use.
This is the key component that Ethereum has been missing to provide greater utility at scale. Decentralized financial services, NFT markets and Web3 games are now feasible for regular use and global adoption. Better still, when the important upcoming Ethereum upgrades are implemented, zkEVMs will only work more effectively. All of this will further establish Ethereum as the blockchain of choice for all types of decentralized projects.
Do we need alternative Layer 1s?
With the zkEVMs, there are no longer any barriers in terms of scalability, security, decentralization and developer experience. This then raises a fundamental question: do we even need other L1 blockchains?
Ethereum has already built the vast majority of Web3 applications on it. All other networks face a tremendous uphill battle if they hope to ever truly compete. Even with a perfect network that addresses all scaling and security issues while remaining decentralized, any alternative L1 will still try to lure users away from an established solution that is already working.
Thanks to the provision of immense scaling possibilities, zkEVMs can also be used to redefine what is possible on Ethereum as a whole. Historically, prohibitively high transaction fees have fueled applications that are either computationally efficient or fee-insensitive, potentially leaving other innovative or important projects behind because of these limitations. In addition to scaling existing use cases, zkEVMs can breathe new life into these unexplored use cases, becoming the true endgame of Web3 infrastructure.
Mihailo Bjelic is a co-founder of Polygon. Graduated from the University of Belgrade, he previously worked more than 10 years as an IT engineer developing technology products and platforms and founded or co-founded three startups.
This article is for general informational purposes and should not be construed as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.