ConsenSys, known for its MetaMask wallet and Infura infrastructure platform, has launched a closed test network supporting scaling technology for Ethereum — zkEVM. We gathered all the details of this next step towards a faster and more modern Ethereum.
What’s the problem?
One of the main problems with Ethereum is its weak scalability and slowness. As the number of users and popularity of this second-largest blockchain grow, this problem is becoming more and more critical.
A huge number of so-called “Ethereum killers,” such as Solana, have emerged to respond to this chronic problem. They all solve Ethereum’s scaling problem and try to speculate on being a replacement for Ethereum (“when a copy is better than the original”).
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Ethereum itself has long delayed solving this complex problem while considering several alternative solutions. According to most experts, including Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin himself, the future of Ethereum-like blockchains lies in implementing the two sister solutions: zk-STARK and zkEVM. We described both of these technologies in our earlier article. Additionally, you can read more about technical aspects here.
The zkEVM (in full, “zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine”) is currently considered one of the most promising for scaling Ethereum. It can increase the bandwidth of the second cryptocurrency’s network hundreds of times and reduce transaction fees. The deployment of this technology will have far-reaching consequences for the crypto world.
A ZK-EVM is a variant of the EVM that uses zero-knowledge or validity proof tech to allow cryptographic proof of the execution of Ethereum-like transactions, improving the Ethereum platform in several ways such as scalability, privacy, compatibility, and security/confidentiality.
— odin-free.stark (@odin_free) January 9, 2023
In this regard, the need to implement zkEVM has long been discussed. And now, finally, a working solution, zkEVM, is proposed, and is in the testing phase. This solution was proposed by ConsenSys (known for its super popular MetaMask wallet), which has already launched a private test network.
Nice talk with Nicolas @ConsenSys on the importance and properties of zero-knowledge proofs and its role in scaling @ethereum . He shared a lot about solving the scalability issues in the Ethereum ecosystem and zk-EVM approach. Their zk-EVM is launching testnet, and stay tuned. https://t.co/hIo7454v91
— YQ 🦦🦇🔊 (@jiayaoqi) January 10, 2023
ConsenSys reported that it began accepting applications for testing at the end of December 2022. The company has already received over 150,000 applications to participate! Participants will be able to move assets between the Goerli test network and the zkEVM test network. There they will be able to test the performance of smart contracts, decentralized applications, infrastructure solutions, and wallets in the new environment.
ConsenSys is not the only company actively working on zkEVM implementation. For example, Polygon developers recently launched their second test network supporting this technology. Still, the launch of the ConsenSys solution seems to have attracted a record number of attention and participants.
Blockchain needs much more speed and responsiveness to create Web3 applications that can compete with traditional centralized services like Google and Amazon. Implementing zkEVM-based solutions is a powerful move in that direction.
"Web3 is not a business model. It’s a set of technologies that enable a new generation of applications where users own their data." — Chris Cantino
— Iosif Peterfi (@IosifPeterfi) November 25, 2022
In addition to increasing throughput, zkEVM should also reduce fees and improve transaction privacy, which is also in demand nowadays. The developers assure that the technology will be the basis for “a new generation of applications,” blurring the line between off-chain data and real-world assets on the blockchain.
Experts estimate that testing and implementation of zkEVM could take about 2–3 years.