# CRYPTO 101

zkSync: Ethereum’s Latest Layer 2 Scaling Solution

zkSync

KEYTAKEAWAYS

  • zkSync leverages zero-knowledge rollup (ZK-Rollup) technology to enhance transaction speed and reduce gas fees on the Ethereum network.
  • The ZK token acts as zkSync's governance token, allowing holders to influence protocol upgrades and ecosystem development.
  • zkSync stands out from other Layer 2 solutions like Optimism and Polygon by focusing on efficient, secure scaling through zk-Rollup and zkEVM compatibility.

CONTENT

zkSync, Ethereum’s latest Layer 2 solution, boosts transaction speed, cuts gas fees, and ensures high security with zk-Rollup technology. Discover its unique features and governance token.

 

 

 

WHAT IS ZKSYNC?

 

zkSync is recognized as one of the leading Layer 2 scaling solutions for Ethereum, aimed at enhancing transaction speed and reducing gas fees while ensuring high security and privacy for users. It achieves these goals through zero-knowledge rollup (ZK-Rollup) technology.

 

Compared to traditional Optimistic Rollup networks like Optimism or Arbitrum, ZK Rollup offers higher efficiency, lower gas consumption, and reduced storage requirements. Additionally, the intrinsic nature of ZK technology safeguards users’ privacy.

 

In zkSync, transactions are batched together and verified on the Ethereum mainnet. For the blockchain, this process is straightforward since it only needs to validate the zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) that serves as proof of validity for the entire batch of transactions. This results in faster, cheaper, and more secure Ethereum transactions.

 

>>> More to read : What Is Ethereum & How Does It Work?


WHAT IS THE ZK TOKEN?

 

The ZK token is the native cryptocurrency of zkSync. According to the governance system ZK Nation’s announcement, the ZK token is a protocol token that allows holders to propose and vote on protocol upgrades and to pay network fees using zkSync‘s native account abstraction.

 

Through governance-driven protocol upgrades, the community can evolve ZK to introduce staking and other functionalities.

 

As more ZK chains are launched, the token is poised to become a vital tool for coordinating technological innovation. While zkSync Era is the first ZK chain, Lens Network, Cronos zkEVM, GRVT, and several others are set to debut in the coming months.

 

The total supply of zkSync tokens is 21 billion $ZK, with 66.7% allocated to the community and 33.3% to the Matter Labs team and investors. The specific token distribution is as follows:

 

  • Airdrop: 17.5%
  • Ecosystem Incentive Program Allocation: 19.9%
  • Token Assembly (one of the three on-chain entities forming the zkSync governance system): 29.3%
  • Matter Labs Team: 16.1%
  • Investors: 17.2%

 

The airdropped tokens will have no vesting or lock-up periods, ensuring “full liquidity on day one.” This approach is part of a broader strategy to allocate 49.1% of the supply through ecosystem planning and governance processes.

 

Tokens allocated to the team and investors will be locked for the first year and then gradually unlocked over three years (from June 2025 to June 2028).

 

HOW DOES ZKSYNC (ZK) WORK?

 

1. ZK-rollup

 

The core technology behind zkSync Era is the ZK-rollup. ZK-rollup is a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum that leverages zero-knowledge proofs.

 

The primary difference between ZK-rollups and Optimistic rollups lies in how Ethereum handles data verification and storage. ZK-rollups are more efficient than standard rollups, consuming less gas and requiring less storage space. Additionally, zero-knowledge technology inherently protects user privacy.

 

In zkSync Era, transactions are batched and verified by the Ethereum mainnet. The Ethereum network only needs to verify the zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) as proof of the entire batch’s validity. The challenge for ZK networks is to create an efficient ZKP that does not require extensive computational resources. This is why ZK networks undergo rigorous research and development before launching their mainnets. Matter Labs needs to ensure that its network’s gas prices and transaction speeds can match or exceed those of current Layer 2 solutions.

 

This is why zkSync Era has chosen SNARKs as its proof generation method. Compared to its counterpart, STARKs, ZK-SNARKs are cheaper and require less storage space. Additionally, SNARKs are more mature, making them more familiar to developers.

 

One of the current challenges in implementing ZK technology is its incompatibility with Ethereum’s framework and virtual machine (VM). ZK-based smart contracts cannot use Ethereum’s EVM and frameworks. This incompatibility is bidirectional, as Ethereum smart contracts cannot be directly migrated to ZK networks. Therefore, developers must choose between creating ZK-based applications or using Ethereum’s framework. This is why zkEVM is so crucial for the development and adoption of ZK technology.

 

2. zkEVM

 

zkEVM is a critical component of zkSync Era.

 

zkEVM is a virtual machine that supports zero-knowledge proof computations and is inherently compatible with Ethereum’s EVM. It is the practical implementation of ZK technology for scaling Ethereum smart contracts. By utilizing zkEVM, zkSync supports both zero-knowledge proof computations and compatibility with existing Ethereum infrastructure. Developers can write ZK-compatible smart contracts using traditional EVM Solidity language.

 

Many experts in the crypto space consider zkEVM the pinnacle of Ethereum scaling, as it combines the capabilities of ZK-rollups with EVM compatibility. To this end, zkSync aims to develop the best zkEVM on the market. Currently, other projects developing zkEVM Layer 2 solutions include Polygon, Scroll, STARKNet, and ConsenSys.

 

According to Vitalik Buterin, EVM compatibility can be classified into four types. zkSync is categorized as a Type 4 system within the zkEVM classification. Type 4 EVM compatibility systems operate by taking smart contract source code written in high-level languages like Solidity or Vyper and compiling it into a language that is friendly to zk-SNARKs.

 

Specifically, zkSync Era supports smart contracts written in Solidity or Vyper. It uses custom compilers, namely zksolc for Solidity and zkvyper for Vyper. These compilers are designed to work seamlessly with the zkSync VM, ensuring compatibility and efficient execution of smart contracts.

 

Furthermore, zkSync Era provides developers with a smooth experience, offering local testing tools and compatibility with existing frameworks such as Hardhat and Foundry.

For more detailed information on how zkSync operates, please refer to the official zkSync documentation.

 

ZKSYNC VS OTHER LAYER 2 SOLUTIONS

 

zkSync, Optimism, and Arbitrum are all Ethereum scalability solutions, but what sets zkSync apart?

 

  1. zkSync vs. Optimism

 

Both zkSync and Optimism are Layer 2 scaling solutions for Ethereum, but they differ in their underlying technology and security models. zkSync uses zk-Rollup technology and zero-knowledge proofs to achieve robust security. It processes transactions off-chain and anchors their finality on the Ethereum mainnet.

 

In contrast, Optimism employs Optimistic Rollup technology. It assumes transaction validity by default and resolves on-chain disputes through fraud proofs. While Optimistic Rollup also offers high throughput and scalability, its security model is different from that of zkSync.

 

 

  1. zkSync vs. Polygon

 

The primary difference between Polygon and zkSync lies in their approach to scaling solutions. Polygon offers a versatile scaling framework with various options, such as sidechains, its custom Supernets, and the recently introduced zkEVM. This versatility allows developers to fine-tune their solutions according to their unique needs and goals.

 

On the other hand, zkSync is characterized by its focus on secure and efficient scaling through zk-Rollup technology. The choice between these two solutions largely depends on the specific requirements and preferences of the project.

 


FAQ

 

  • What is zkSync ?

Created by Matter Labs, is a user-centric zk-rollup platform and a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum.

 

  • What is ZK token?

ZK token is zkSync’s Layer 2 governance token, enabling holders to shape the ecosystem’s future.

 

 

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