Everything You Need to Know About ZkSync Era

Everything You Need to Know About ZkSync Era

11 months ago

The first zkEVM to land on mainnet — learn all about zkSync Era and how to get started.

Everything You Need to Know About ZkSync Era


What Is ZkSync?

Developed by blockchain engineering and research team, Matter Labs, zkSync is a layer-two (L2) scaling solution designed to scale Ethereum with the use of zero-knowledge (zk) rollup technology. They launched their first product, zkSync 1.0, in June 2020. ZkSync 1.0 however, did not support smart contracts yet. Despite this significant drawback, the chain managed to garner more than $170 million in Total Value Locked (TVL) at its peak, mostly consisting of ETH and stablecoin, USDC.

Source: L2Beat (link)

ZkSync 2.0 was later launched on “baby-alpha” in October 2022, bringing significant improvements to zkSync 1.0, including Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatibility and smart contract support. While zkSync had their own programming language, Zinc, zkSync 2.0 was developed to also accept and compile code written in Rust, Yul, Vyper, and of course, Solidity, the main programming language on Ethereum.

In February 2023, zkSync 2.0 was rebranded to zkSync Era while zkSync 1.0 was renamed to zkSync Lite. More importantly, on the same day, zkSync announced that onboarding would be open to registered projects to deploy on zkSync Era mainnet to prepare for the full mainnet launch. As we all know now, zkSync Era opened on mainnet to all users on March 24, 2023, the first in a huge wave of zkEVM-related launches.

ZkSync Era represents the first zkEVM to hit mainnet, which is a huge milestone for the zk-rollup space as a whole. Thus far, the L2 space has been largely dominated by optimistic rollups, namely, Arbitrum and Optimism. As such, with zkSync Era going live and several others to follow in Q2 and Q3 2023, this could be the start of the long awaited zk-rollup season.

Resources Required to Get to ZkSync Era

To get to zkSync Era, you’ll first need a wallet. Although certain decentralized applications (DApps) on zkSync Era will support a variety of wallets via WalletConnect, the official zkSync Era bridge only supports good ol’ MetaMask at this point in time. Hence, MetaMask is likely your best bet.

Source: zkSync Era official bridge (link)

Fortunately, various other bridging solutions have also added support for zkSync Era, allowing users to bridge in via bridges such as Multichain, Celer and Orbiter Finance.

Finally, you will also need some ETH tokens to pay for transactions on zkSync Era as with most L2 chains. ETH can be found on most chains and should be relatively easily acquired to be bridged over.

Bridging Into ZkSync Era

As mentioned above, while not the cheapest, the most recommended way currently is to use the official bridge provided by zkSync to bridge from Ethereum mainnet into zkSync Era. Do note that the bridge also supports a handful of other assets including USDC. That said, ETH is recommended as ETH is a required token to pay for gas fees on zkSync Era. To bridge your assets over, simply:
  • Connect your MetaMask wallet to the bridge
  • Select your desired asset to bridge and the amount you intend to bridge over
  • Click on “Deposit”
  • Confirm the transaction in your wallet and wait for confirmation

Source: zkSync Era official bridge

Once you’ve received the confirmation, you should be able to see your balance reflected by switching over to zkSync Era mainnet on your MetaMask. If you have not added the network to your wallet, you can do so at Chainlist or manually by with the following details.
Network Name: zkSync Era Mainnet
RPC URL: https://mainnet.era.zksync.io
Chain ID: 324
Currency Symbol: ETH
Block Explorer URL: https://explorer.zksync.io/
WebSocket URL: wss://mainnet.era.zksync.io/ws

Do note that zkSync Era is still in Alpha, meaning that you should only be bridging assets that you are willing to lose as the chain has not been fully battle-tested yet. Once your assets are bridged over, you’re ready to explore the ecosystem!

DApps on ZkSync Era

At the moment, since we are only days into the launch, not many decentralized applications are up on zkSync Era mainnet for now.

In the decentralized exchange (DEX) space, Mute is a popular choice, already holding almost $1.4 million in TVL. Mute allows users to swap between tokens as well as provide liquidity into Mute’s liquidity pools to facilitate swaps, as per your standard DEX. Mute’s site also includes pages for bonds and amplifier pools, which are currently not open yet. Aside from Mute, SyncSwap and Space.fi are also DEXs that are currently live on mainnet.

Source: Mute.io

On the NFT front, zkSync Era’s first NFT collection, zkApes, has already opened their doors for minting, with a mint price of 0.08 ETH. There is currently no live NFT marketplace on zkSync Era yet, although Tofu Marketplace has partnered up with zkSync Era and is expected to launch on the chain.

Source: zkApes

Finally, zkSync Name Service is also live, allowing users to purchase their own vanity .zk addresses. ZkSync Name Service is a product of Star Protocol, an omni-chain name service provider.

Source: ZkSync Name Service

While there doesn’t seem like much going on for now, new protocols will be deploying over the coming weeks, with more than 150 projects already partnered with zkSync Era and likely already working on their mainnet deployments. DeFi heavyweights like Uniswap, Balancer, 1inch, Frax and more are on the list and will likely arrive shortly on mainnet, so buckle up!

ZkSync Token and Airdrop

Finally, the question on everyone’s mind. Launching just a day after Arbitrum’s airdrop opens up for claiming, DeFi users are once again on the hunt for the next big airdrop. Matter Labs has raised $458 million till date and users are expecting a large airdrop at some point, with many comparing it to the amount Arbitrum raised at $120 million.
That said, Matter Labs CEO, Alex Gluchowski, has mentioned in an interview that, in its mainnet Alpha phase, zkSync Era has no need for a token at the moment. He also adds that the token will come into play when they look to “decentralize the sequencer”, which will be “in around a year’s time”.

On the bright side, that’s plenty more time for airdrop hunters to get in on the zkSync Era action to prepare themselves for the eventual token release.

Beyond zkSync Era, some airdrop hunters are also speculating on activity on zkSync Lite as a criterion. Some users have begun to use protocols such as ZigZag, a peer-to-peer order book DEX on the chain. Other options include staking on Lido Finance from zkSync Lite or borrowing and lending on Aave, via the Argent wallet.
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