That didn’t take long.
A day after Polygon announced plans to release a zero-knowledge-based scaling solution for Ethereum, zkSync opened up registrations for developers to deploy applications to its blockchain-based platform, known as a “mainnet.”
zkSync, one of the most well-known projects in the zero-knowledge rollup space, said it is not a full-blown launch — developers must register their blockchain addresses before they can deploy code.
Yet the move escalates the contest between two of the most dynamic Layer 2 blockchain networks in the race to ramp up Ethereum’s ability to support decentralized transactions. It also demonstrates how zero-knowledge technology is rapidly reshaping the way users may interact with the No. 2 cryptocurrency network and its smart contract capabilities.
On Tuesday, Polygon said its zero-knowledge solution would go live on Mar. 27.
So far, no zero-knowledge rollup has gained the upper hand in the Ethereum scaling challenge. This type of ZK-rollup is known as a zkEVM.
It’s a highly competitive marketplace. ZK-rollups are competing with Optimistic rollups, another technology whose two main implementations, Optimism and Arbitrum, dominate the Layer 2 space with over 80% market share, according to L2BEAT.
Stephen Goldfeder, Arbitrum’s co-founder, has recently been turning up the heat on ZK-rollups by questioning their superiority to Optimistic systems.
“There’s a narrative out there that ZK Rollups will be able to do everything that Optimistic Rollups do but better,” he said on Twitter last month, before diving into ways in which the EVM, the set of rules which dictate how the Ethereum blockchain processes transactions, can be expanded on.
Goldfeder discussed a new offering which he said would provide even more useful functionality than EVM-compatible systems, in an interview with The Defiant earlier this month.
zkSync has taken some heat before for another announcement regarding its system. On Oct. 28, the project launched a mainnet open only to its own developers. This meant that no external projects were live on the network, bringing into question whether the announcement needed to be made at all.
Despite some criticism, zkSync has picked up momentum. Holders of UNI, the token of Uniswap, DeFi’s largest decentralized exchange by volume, voted to deploy the protocol to zkSync’s solution, when it goes live, back in October.
Matter Labs has raised a total of $258M, according to Crunchbase. The company also has raised another $200M to develop an “ecosystem fund,” to foster adoption of zkEVM.
StarkWare, a key competitor with zkSync and other solutions, raised $100M at an $8B valuation in May despite not having launched an open mainnet.
Zero-knowledge refers to a cryptographic proof that verifies a statement to be true without revealing what it is. Use cases include the ability to verify citizenship without needing to reveal passport details, enabling private transactions on public blockchain networks, and offloading transaction processing from impacted blockchains.
The proofs are useful for scaling blockchains because they allow ZK-rollups to validate transactions off of Layer 1 platforms like Ethereum, which are expensive to use. ZK-rollups can then post those validated transactions to Ethereum, reducing the computational load on the Layer 1.
With Polygon’s announcement earlier this week, and the zkSyncs team’s today, the pressure may have increased for other ZK-rollup providers like StarkWare to launch their mainnet platform.
Corrected on Feb. 23 to report that zkSync opened up registrations for developers to deploy applications to its blockchain-based platform after Polygon announced plans to released its own solution.