The Matter Labs team, known for their layer 2 zkSync rollup, has unveiled a groundbreaking concept known as ZK Credo, envisioning it as the "Internet of Value." This serves as a manifesto that they will leverage the principles of ZK technology and core values to transform the landscape of the Internet. In alignment with this vision, Matter Labs has introduced the ZK Stack, a modular framework designed for constructing independent ZK-powered chains.
The Vision of zkSync
The vision of zkSync is centered on elevating user sovereignty and trustless transactions, placing a strong emphasis on a user-centric blockchain philosophy. Their core priorities, beside cost-effectiveness, also encompass freedom, hyperscalability, security and user experience (UX).
Freedom stands as their primary mission, embodied by their open-source framework that encourages transparency and accessibility for all. They champion full decentralization, ensuring key network components like sequencers, ZK provers, zkPorters, community governance, and more are entirely decentralized. (1)
Hyperscalability is at the forefront of zkSync Era's design, aiming to make blockchain technology and decentralized applications universally accessible and cost-effective at any scale. This is achieved through innovative solutions like Hyperchains and Hyperbridges, which will be elaborated on shortly. (2)
Security remains a paramount concern, with zkSync's security measures positioned to guarantee 100% Ethereum security. This is accomplished through zk-rollup, employing cryptographic proofs on Ethereum's Layer 1 (L1) along with the necessary data for transaction validation and reconstruction. (3)
User experience is also a top priority, evident in features such as account abstraction and flexible fee payment options. These elements combine to create a comprehensive ecosystem tailored to enhance user experience and promote individual freedom within the blockchain realm. (4)
These visionary goals find their realization in the newest creation: ZK Stack.
Unlocking Hyperscalability with ZK Stack
Challenges of Scalability in Ethereum
There are currently two significant challenges regarding the scalability of existing blockchains:
- The Ethereum network has a limited capacity of 12 transactions per second. As a consequence of the high transaction volume, network congestion frequently leads to delays and significantly increased fees. (5)
- Existing bridge solutions are still in search of a "holy grail" solution amid the backdrop of numerous bridge and cross-chain protocols experiencing security breaches.
As a result, several Layer-2 scaling solutions have emerged with the goal of improving Ethereum's scalability, and zkSync is dedicated to tackling this issue comprehensively. Matter Labs has debuted the ZK Stack, which leverages the base code of zkSync Era to offer an advanced hyperscalability solution. It centers on a user-centric zk-rollup technology, optimized for the scaling requirements of Ethereum. This launch is a direct response to the goals highlighted in the zkCredo manifesto. (6)
ZK Stack is a framework that is purpose-built for crafting Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks on the Ethereum blockchain, harnessing the power of zero-knowledge (ZK) technology. In essence, it empowers users to construct custom Hyperchains. This framework is fully open-source, adhering to the MIT Apache License, compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), strictly tested, modular, and customizable.
Hyperchains and Hyperbridges: The Road to Hyperscalability
ZK Stack presents two pivotal characteristics: sovereignty and seamless connectivity. The technical excellence of ZK Stack becomes evident through the introduction of Hyperchains, symbolizing sovereignty, and Hyperbridges, which function as cross-chain bridges. (7)
Figure 1. Hyperchains & Hyperbridges Graph
Source: Matter Labs
Every Hyperchain serves as either an L2 or L3 blockchain, built using the ZK Stack framework. Think of these Hyperchains as layers within the vast Ethereum ecosystem, where they seamlessly interact via Hyperbridges.
Hyperchains are accessible for anyone to develop and can be set up without needing approval from anyone. But, to keep them reliable and fully compatible with each other, each Hyperchain needs to operate on the same zkEVM engine that is part of the ZK Stack. This engine is currently being used by the Hyperchain, zkSync Era. (8)
The existing state of bridging solutions presents significant challenges. While there are some effective options, like atomic swaps facilitating trustless asset exchanges across blockchains, they aren't well-suited for general message passing. To address this, Matter Labs introduces Hyperbridges.
Hyperbridges function as data transport vessels, responsible for transmitting information among various Hyperchains. What sets them apart is their unique capability: Unlike traditional bridges, Hyperchains equipped with native Hyperbridges can burn and mint real tokens instead of relying on virtual representations. This is achieved through a network of smart contracts within Hyperbridges, which validate Merkle proofs of transactions occurring on different chains. The original assets are securely locked within a shared bridge contract on L1, ensuring liquidity remains consistent throughout the ecosystem. (8)
The Merits of Using ZK Stack for Hyperchain Building
Seamless Interchain Connectivity
With the help of ZK Stack and both Hyperchains and Hyperbridges, users will be able to maintain wallets across various blockchains and these wallets will be interconnected through a cross-chain wallet management system. This system will be seamlessly integrated into account abstractions, which are natively supported on the blockchains. Users will see all of their assets within a single wallet, and relayers will take care of transferring, converting, and creating assets as needed when moving them between different blockchains (8).
Within the ecosystem, thanks to the interoperability between Hyperchains, the aggregation of proofs from multiple Hyperchains can be batched into a single settlement on L1. This approach not only fosters faster messaging between Hyperchains but also enables cost-effective atomicity through transactions (8).
Every Hyperchain within the ecosystem will possess full sovereignty, implying two key principles. Firstly, L3s and those at higher layers can exit their L2 status to operate independently. Secondly, Hyperchains will have the autonomy to freely enter or exit the ecosystem, adding or removing all of their assets from the shared pool without requiring permission. Nevertheless, opting for exit might not always be the most prudent choice, as it would result in the loss of interoperability with other Hyperchains (8).
Figure 2. Hyperchain Sovereignty
Source: Matter Labs
The integration of customizable Data Availability, transaction sequencing, and zkPorter technology within the ZK Stack framework serves as a pivotal advancement, propelling scalability on Hyperchains to unparalleled heights. These features can provide almost instantaneous transaction speeds and remarkably low transaction fees. One of the standout features of this innovation lies in its ability to offer a layer of customization that empowers users and developers to tailor their Hyperchains according to their specific needs and objectives.
In the final analysis, the ZK Stack is a pioneering solution that addresses the scalability challenges of Ethereum while adhering to the principles of decentralization and user sovereignty outlined in the zkCredo manifesto. It provides a modular framework for building custom Hyperchains and Hyperbridges, thereby enabling hyperscalability, enhancing user experience, and promoting individual freedom within the blockchain realm.
- ZkSync Etho
- zkSync Hyperscalability
- zkSync Security
- zkSync UX
- zkSync Era Doc, Concepts: Hyperscaling, August 22, 2023
- zkSync on Matter Labs Medium, Introducing the ZK Stack, June 26, 2023
- Harold on Coincu, ZK Stack: Exploring Potentials And Limitations That Need To Be Overcome, July 2023
- zkSync on Matter Labs Medium, Introduction to Hyperchains, June 26, 2023
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