All You Need To Know About zkEVM!
Ethereum critics have complained about how slow it is for years. The core protocol is
capable of handling only 10-15 transactions per second, making fees unsustainable
when user activity is higher than expected. However, that is all before Ethereum’s shift
to proof of stake. But then again, who doesn’t like a faster blockchain? Developers have
tried a variety of solutions over the years, among them sidechains. Sidechains help
blockchains process transactions faster to avoid heavy traffic by shifting transactions to
a second layer to process them at speed and refer them back to the main chain.
Your typical sidechain combines transactions together and sends them all back to the
core protocol -Ethereum in this case- at once, rolling them up and presenting them for
validation. Although this method has worked on quite a lot of individual applications,
many of these sidechains make use of so-called “optimistic rollups”, which could be a
As explained in previous articles, they are called optimistic for a reason. Once they are
done combining transactions together, they present them to the core protocol without
any proof that the transactions were actually executed correctly at all.
Now to the matter at hand:
What are zkEVMs?
The concept of zkEVMs were first being widely discussed in early 2014. Thanks to major
contributions from big players in the world of Ethereum development, including Polygon
and Scroll, in building them, the technology is finally approaching usability.
zkEVM (Zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine) works as an overhaul of the
foundational Ethereum computing infrastructure. In order to solve the problems
outlined above, zkEVM is designed in a way that makes the network compatible with
zero-knowledge proofs, an elaborate cryptographic mechanism, which is far more
efficient as far as rollups go.
How do they work?
In simple terms, zkEVMs bundle transactions together, generate proof via the upgraded
Virtual Machine infrastructure, and then present them to the core protocol, so the core
protocol can judge the proofs as correct without having to sift through endless data,
saving money, and more importantly time. zkEVM uses the same coding language as
Ethereum developers, making it compatible with existing Ethereum infrastructure such
as smart contracts, NFTs, DEXs, dApps, etc.
However, nothing is perfect. The bad news is zkEVMs are said to be computationally
intensive as they usually place the burden of generating proof for a batch of
transactions, which can take hours, on a single computer, which can become a single
point of failure prone to censorship. But the good news is that developers are looking
for ways to fix the problem.
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