CoinMarketCap Academy takes a look into an Ethereum layer-two zero-knowledge rollup scaling solution — zkSync, its upcoming zkSync 2.0 update, token airdrop and ecosystem of DApps.
ZKSync is a zero-knowledge rollup
(zk-rollup) scaling solution to the Ethereum
blockchain. Ethereum layer-two
(L2) scaling focuses on two solutions: zero-knowledge rollups
and optimistic rollups
In our dive into Ethereum L2s ecosystem of decentralized applications
(DApps), after looking at the Arbitrum ecosystem
and Optimism ecosystem
as part of optimistic rollups, we now turn to zkSync — a zero-knowledge rollup scaling solutions for Ethereum. In this guide to the zkSync ecosystem, CoinMarketCap Academy looks at:
- What is zkSync
- A comparison of zkSync and other L2 solutions
- zkSync's investors and its roadmap
- zkSync Token and Potential Airdrop
- How to use zkSync
- The zkSync ecosystem
Join us in showcasing the cryptocurrency revolution, one newsletter at a time. Subscribe now to get daily news and market updates right to your inbox, along with our millions of other subscribers (that’s right, millions love us!) — what are you waiting for?
ZKSync is a layer-two blockchain for Ethereum
using zk-rollups as scaling technology
. Like optimistic rollups, zk-rollups roll up transactions off the Ethereum mainnet
and submit the transaction proofs to Ethereum. This means hundreds of transactions are batched into one, which is verified and secured by Ethereum.
Zero-knowledge-proof systems have proactive cryptographic security. For instance, zk-rollup solutions ascertain that a certain transaction is true without revealing the proof of it. In simple terms, zk-rollups follow a “trust me on this” approach. Although this may sound inconsistent to a layperson, zero-knowledge proofs are considered one of the most promising scaling and privacy solutions for Ethereum. Here is a short video explaining zk-proofs in more detail:
One of the advantages
of zkSync’s technology is the low gas fees
on the L2 blockchain. Gas fees can be up to 100 times lower
compared to Ethereum
while still inheriting the ETH mainnet security.
Furthermore, zkSync is releasing an update with its V2 version
to a throughput
of over 100,000 transactions
per second (TPS) once ETH2 data sharding
is available, estimated at the end of 2022. This is made possible by zkPorter, a protocol combining zk-rollups and sharding
. zkSync 2.0 also supports arbitrary smart contract capabilities through via Solidity and Zinc, its internal programming language.
ZKSync has two main competitors: the L2s using optimistic rollups (Arbitrum and Optimism
) and another L2 solution using zk-proof scaling technology (Starkware). Here are the main differences between zkSync and optimistic rollups
- On-chain processing speed on zk-proof solutions is higher because there is no waiting period during which the transaction can be disputed.
- However, zk-proofs need a lot more computing power, so they are less suited for DApps with a lot of on-chain activity.
- Optimistic rollups run smart contracts on the Ethereum network directly, zk-rollups do not.
There are also differences between zkSync and Starkware, both zk-proof solutions:
- Starkware started earlier (05/2018 compared to 12/2019) and has raised more money so far.
- Starkware is further in its development (Series C round closed) and has a bigger ecosystem.
- Starkware has slightly superior and faster rollup technology than zkSync.
Overall, both zk-proof solutions have valid approaches to scaling Ethereum. zkSync is considered the more “grassroots” ecosystem, while Starkware has a lot of big backers and technological know-how behind its product.
ZKSync is founded by Matter Labs, a German-based company working on scaling Ethereum. It began working on the zkSync solution in December 2019 and released its zkSync v1.0 in June 2020. This first iteration was able to scale to 300 transactions per second.
The development of zkSync 2.0 saw the release of the alpha version of zkEVM, which enabled the compatibility of Ethereum Virtual Machine
(EVM) in the rollup environment. Furthermore, with the development of zkPorter, a sharding solution, zkSync is working on increasing throughput from 3,000 tps (in its 1.1 version) to 20,000 tps.
Matter Labs raised $2 million in a seed round in September 2019 and another $6 million in a Series A round in February 2021 from crypto companies like Binance, Aave, Curve and Coinbase Ventures. Its Series B raise in November 2021 saw another $50 million raised from venture capital funds
like a16z, Dragonfly, and Placeholder. In January 2022, the company was backed with another $200 million by BitDAO
ZKSync does not have a native token yet. However, the company explicitly states on its tokenomics page
that there will be a zkSync native token that will be used for staking
and to become a validator
in the zkSync network. Users of the zkSync network could likely be rewarded with an airdrop, similar to the Optimism airdrop.
Interested in receiving an airdrop? Check out our guide on what crypto airdrops are
You can use zkSync following these steps:
- Connect your browser-based wallet to the zkSync wallet.
- Fund your account and activate it.
- Transfer funds to another zkSync account (optional).
- Explore the zkSync ecosystem.
You can find a detailed guide to using the zkSync ecosystem in the official tutorial
Some of the best DeFi DApps on zkSync include:
- Curve: a stablecoin exchange.
- Yearn Finance: a yield optimizer.
- ZigZag: a non-custodial exchange.
- Mute.io: an AMM exchange and launchpad
- Taker Protocol: DAO-based liquidity protocol
According to @ZK_Daily
, a zkSync-focused educational account, there are over 100 projects building on zkSync:
You can find a detailed overview of the zkSync ecosystem on the official zkSync ecosystem site
is a stablecoin decentralized exchange
(DEX) that was one of the first exchanges, alongside Uniswap, to popularize the AMM model
. Although Curve on zkSync does not yet have the massive total value locked
(TVL) it has on other blockchains, it could grow bigger as zkSync becomes more popular.
Yearn Finance (YFI)
is a yield
-compounding protocol that employs different investment strategies to generate an ROI on its vaults.
Yearn Finance first grew popular on the Ethereum blockchain and eventually spread to other chains. It currently supports Ethereum, Fantoma and Arbitrum on its platform, but users can access Yearn on zkSync via Argent, a wallet provider.
is a zkSync-based decentralized non-custodial order book
exchange, offering spot trading powered by zk-rollups. Due to zk-proof technology, traders can swap tokens and engage in spot trading directly from their wallets without paying gas fees, according to the project. ZigZag also offers one of two bridges that are live and connect zkSync with Ethereum.
is an AMM exchange, farming platform and IDO
platform. It is purely based on zk-rollups and governed by a DAO
. Mute offers lightning-fast transactions, limit orders and improved privacy, all while saving gas fees thanks to zk-technology, according to the project.
is a DAO
-based liquidity protocol for crypto assets. It allows users to liquidate and rent different types of crypto assets, including non-fungible tokens
(NFT), synthetic assets and tokens. Users can also engage in NFT lending and renting. Taker Protocol is currently available in testnet.
Some of the most popular bridges
to zkSync are ZigZag and Orbiter Finance.
is a decentralized cross-rollup layer-two bridge connecting zkSync and Ethereum. It also allows transfers between zkSync and other L2 chains like Arbitrum, optimism, Polygon, and Immutable X. Orbiter transfers Ethereum-native assets instantly and safely and at a very low cost to the sender.
zkSync has several NFT marketplaces that are already live:
- Reddio: it enables developers to embed NFTs into their web and mobile apps without gas fees.
- Homespace: a decentralized metaverse with NFT-based economics.
- Tevaera: a decentralized metaverse using NFT technology.
- tofuNFT: an NFT marketplace focused on GameFi.
- OpenStars: a play-to-earn space strategy game.
- Mintsquare: an NFT platform.
builds economic infrastructure for blockchains by allowing developers to build user-friendly applications. It aims to allow businesses of every size to embed NFTs in their apps without paying gas fees.
is a futuristic virtual world platform combining NFTs and artificial intelligence. It aims to create a personal virtual world, where users can design the home of their dreams on the decentralized platform. Furniture and decorations can be added as NFTs or non-NFT format. Furthermore, they will also be able to travel to public virtual worlds featuring entertainment venues, educational institutions and game zones.
is an NFT marketplace focused on GameFi and collectibles. It is available on 21 blockchains at the time of writing, and will also launch on zkSync in the future.
is a gamified metaverse with utility NFTs. In its so-called Tevaverse, players will build digital civilizations in a 3D environment with VR experience and use the utility NFTs as in-game assets. Tevaera claims to be the first gamified and decentralized metaverse on zkSync and will launch a TEVA token in the future.
is an NFT marketplace, which enables NFT trading with cheaper transactions and faster confirmation time. It aims to build the best multi-chain ZK-rollup and onboard the next 100 million people to mint and trade NFTs. Mint Square is also available on StarkNet.
This article contains links to third-party websites or other content for information purposes only (“Third-Party Sites”). The Third-Party Sites are not under the control of CoinMarketCap, and CoinMarketCap is not responsible for the content of any Third-Party Site, including without limitation any link contained in a Third-Party Site, or any changes or updates to a Third-Party Site. CoinMarketCap is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by CoinMarketCap of the site or any association with its operators.
This article is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. It is important to do your own research and analysis before making any material decisions related to any of the products or services described. This article is not intended as, and shall not be construed as, financial advice.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s [company’s] own and do not necessarily reflect those of CoinMarketCap.