A key problem when it comes to scaling the Ethereum network to reduce congestion and process more transactions is that quick solutions would compromise on the network’s security and even decentralization.
This is an issue that Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has already addressed in the past, which he called the scalability trilemma.
One of the innovations trying to bring forward a faster quicker Ethereum is ZK rollups.
Polygon has launched zkEVM, an open source scaling solution that promises drastically improved costs and speed on Ethereum.
Zero-knowledge rollups (ZK-rollups) are layer 2 protocols that bundle (or ‘roll-up’) hundreds of transfers off-chain and generate a cryptographic proof (or validity prooof) which gets posted on L1 drastically simplifies the process.
“The potential for a ZK rollup to scale Ethereum is obvious – One transaction replaces many, increasing throughput, saving on fees, reducing latency, etc.”
However, while ZK Rollup L2s theoretically addresses the scalability trilemma, enabling scalability while maintaining security and decentralization, in practice, generating validity proofs is an intensive addition to processing load and eventually does not need the kind of drastic improvements in speed that Ethereum requires.
Secondly, ZK Rollups may not be compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Ethereum (EVM).
In a blog post, Polygon said it had made a breakthrough, addressing the two main challenges to ZK rollups which it notes is the best way to scale Ethereum:
“Polygon’s ZK teams have made major breakthroughs in performance. Working together, we’ve significantly improved proof-generation times. This makes Polygon zkEVM ready for primetime. Users will see dramatically reduced costs and improved speed.
Even more exciting is the EVM-equivalence of Polygon zkEVM. You can build on Polygon zkEVM the same way you would on Ethereum. You can deploy any Ethereum smart contract. Any tooling that works with Ethereum will work on Polygon zkEVM. Do anything you would do on Ethereum, for lower cost and at greater speeds, and have it verified on the Ethereum network via a ZK validity proof. It’s Ethereum, but with ZK scalability.”