What zkSync is and why it is important for Ethereum. We are explaining in simple words
What are the unique solutions of the project, why developers are interested in it, and will there be token airdrop
According to Ethereum’s roadmap, in the coming years, a significant share of the network’s activity will pass through second-tier platforms running on so-called Rollups. These are networks on top of the main blockchain that help speed up and optimize transactions and make them cheaper and more private at the same time. Vitalik Buterin calls the introduction of layer 2 solutions that allow scaling the network the main goal after the network switches to the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm.
What is zkSync?
The zkSync rollup is a new approach to solving Ethereum’s scaling problems. It is one of the first applications of Zero-knowledge (ZK) technology, and zkSync is likely to be the first project to use this technology, initially having compatibility with applications on Ethereum smart contracts. Working through rollup, DeFi services, and decentralized exchanges will become faster and cheaper for users.
zkSync is part of the group of projects ZK-Rollups (along with StarkNet, Loopring, and others). The zkSync protocol itself is a Layer 2 (L2) network for Ethereum, allowing multiple transactions to be combined into a single packet, and sent to the mainnet for verification. ZkSync could become an alternative to existing layer 2 solutions such as Arbitrum or Optimism.
The launch of the zkSync mainnet will be a game changer for Ethereum, as it will be the first time that the new zkSync approach to scaling will be tested in a real-world environment rather than in testnets. Once zkSync is fully launched, transactions in Ethereum will be possible 10-20 times faster and cheaper than under current conditions.
Scalability is critical for infrastructure. In the future, the number of applications on the ETH blockchain will multiply, and there will be a significant influx of new users, related, for example, to a new bull market cycle and the further evolution of the crypto industry.
Matter Labs is behind the development of ZkSync. On the project team is Steve Newcomb, who founded Powerset, which was acquired by Microsoft and later became part of Microsoft Bing. Working alongside him is Anthony Rose, who led engineering teams at SpaceX for several years, creating software for Falcon, Dragon, and Starlink.
zkSync uses the virtual environment ZkEVM (Zero Knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine) to run smart contracts, and it is fully compatible with the existing Ethereum environment. Developers will be able to write ZK applications in Solidity and easily migrate to zkSync once the mainnet is up and running.
The scaling efficiency that zkSync offers can attract new projects, and existing ones can easily migrate to rollup. More than 100 projects have already shown interest in deploying their applications on zkSync after the mainnet launch. These include the largest decentralized exchange Uniswap and liquidity aggregator 1inch. It is believed that services from other blockchains and ecosystems could migrate to zkSync if the launch is successful.
When will zkSync go live?
Since February, zkSync has been running in a testnet, where it is possible to interact with rollup-enabled platforms and applications, such as decentralized exchange ZigZag, NFT platforms Pinata and ZKNFT, 1KX, a DeFi protocol, and others.
The launch of the mainnet itself is divided into several phases. Each phase is designed to gradually build up and stress-test different parts of the network before opening up access to the broader user base or allowing other projects to fully deploy.
The first launch, called the Baby Alpha phase, took place on October 28. In this phase, the network is launched without support from outside projects to make sure everything works properly.
Once that is done, the Fair Launch Alpha phase will begin. It is expected later this year and will allow ecosystem projects to be moved and open access to a limited number of users. The last phase will be Full Alpha, which will allow all projects and users to deploy and use zkSync. The team also plans to complete the last phase by the end of the year.
Will there be a token and airdrop?
On October 20, Steve Newcomb of Matter Labs said during a Twitter broadcast ahead of the launch of the first version of the zkSync mainnet that the project would announce details about the native token in November. The “tokenomics” section of the project’s documentation openly states that the native token of zkSync will be used for staking and as collateral for validators.
There is a belief in the community that Matter Labs will follow the example of Optimism and Aptos projects, which have given generous airdrops to users of their testnets. Optimism is also a layer 2 solution for Ethereum. The project gave away 5% of its existing OP tokens to early users in May and announced further giveaways for qualified participants.
Whether Matter Labs will follow Optimism’s lead in distributing tokens to the community is not yet known. In the same Twitter broadcast, Newcomb called the possibility of an airdrop “just a rumor,” but did not deny it as fact either. The generous airdrop of the Aptos project was a powerful marketing move for it and created a significant resonance in the community, provoking demand for APT tokens and interest in the ecosystem. It can be assumed that zkSync will take advantage of a similar move.
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