Binance Research has just published a report titled “zkEVM and the Future of Ethereum Scaling.”
🔎 Ethereum is scaling, and it is scaling fast. The Ethereum community is busy building, and multiple approaches to scaling Ethereum have found traction over the past few months - one that Binance Research looked at in more detail is that of zkEVMs. zkEVM itself is a virtual machine (on Ethereum) that generates zero-knowledge proofs to verify the correctness of a statement. But there is more to it, and in an old-fashioned way, the report breaks down the different components of zkEVM to understand them better.
🔎 Both zero-knowledge proofs and Ethereum Virtual Machines are concepts that have been around for some time now, but bringing them together in a fully operational way, this soon after the Ethereum merge, might heat up the debate around Layer 2 scaling solutions again
🔎According to Binance Research, zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machines (or simply zkEVM) might introduce substantial benefits to zk-rollups that will make them more competitive in the long term. STARKs and SNARKs both have their benefits, and while we see a higher adoption rate of SNARKs in the foreseeable future, this might change, considering some of the technical benefits that STARKs bring.
🔎 There are a few elements that make building zkEVMs difficult. Special opcodes, a stack-based architecture, high storage overhead, and high proving costs are just some of them. However, once implemented successfully, we will likely benefit from faster finality and capital efficiency as well as more secure scaling overall. Since different zkEVM projects adopt different approaches to combining EVM execution with zero-knowledge proof computation, Binance Research has a closer look at some of the projects currently building zkEVMs in a later section of their report.
🔎 zkEVMs are only one way to scale Ethereum - they have tough competition with optimistic rollups since they have had time to establish themselves already. That said, zk-rollups (especially combined with EVM compatibility) offer numerous upsides to the Ethereum mainnet. Entering the ongoing debate if it is the holy grail to be fully Ethereum equivalent, compatible, or highly specialized, we reject the narrative that the more compatible to Ethereum you are, the better you are. Instead, we see a need and use cases for all ends of the spectrum.
🔎 In the long term, we can envision highly EVM-compatible zk-rollups building the future of blockchains. At the same time, we expect to see more specialized zkVMs help develop the Web3 space as a whole, tackling unique problems with custom solutions.
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