ZKsync Unveils Vision For Elastic Chain Ecosystem After 3.0 Upgrade

ZKsync aims to foster an interconnected ecosystem of ZK Stack-based Layer 2 rollups.

By: Samuel Haig Loading...

ZKsync Unveils Vision For Elastic Chain Ecosystem After 3.0 Upgrade

ZKsync is the latest Ethereum scaling solution to adopt a multi-chain architecture following the deployment of its 3.0 upgrade last month.

On July 2, ZKsync announced its vision for “Elastic Chain,” an ecosystem of interconnected Layer 2 rollups leveraging ZKsync’s tech stack, ZK Stack.

Elastic Chain was enabled by the ZKsync 3.0 protocol upgrade, which went live on June 7, which reconfigured ZKsync’s Layer 1 bridge into “a shared router contract to support the expanding network of interoperable ZK Chains.”

“Ethereum’s rollup-centric roadmap successfully reduced transaction fees, but fragmented liquidity and user experience,” ZKsync said. ”The recent ZKsync 3.0 upgrade solves this by enabling native, trustless, low-cost interoperability between the chains powered by ZK Stack… ZKsync 3.0 thus transforms from a single Ethereum L2 into The Elastic Chain.

ZKsync said its ZKsync Era network comprises the first chain within the ecosystem, and will soon be joined by more than 20 new ZK Stack-based chains slated to launch during 2024.

Interconnected ecosystems

The news comes as several of Ethereum’s top scaling solutions are looking to establish interconnected ecosystems of Layer 2 networks leveraging shared infrastructure rather than siloed L2 architectures.

These initiatives seek to overcome the challenges associated with liquidity fragmentation encountered by Ethereum, where assets and users become splintered across an ever-expanding network of Layer 2 and Layer 3 scaling solutions. According to L2beat, 20 Ethereum L2s currently host more than $100 million in total value locked.

Optimism arguably led the pack with its Bedrock upgrade in June 2023, which established the foundations for an ecosystem of interconnected chains built using the OP Stack dubbed the “Superchain”.

ZKsync responded just a few weeks later by shipping the ZK Stack, paving the way for the project to realize its vision for “Hyperchain” scaling first articulated during the October 2022 SmartCon conference.

Polygon also entered the fray in January 2024 with the launch of its AggLayer bridge as part of the Polygon 2.0 roadmap. The bridge allows developers to connect any Layer 1 or Layer 2 chain to Polygon’s AggLayer ecosystem, starting with the Polygon ZkEVM network.

“Ethereum-aligned rollups have achieved impressive cumulative throughput capacity, [but] this progress came with a massive deterioration in user experience, capital efficiency, and network integrity,” ZKsync said.

Elastic Chain

ZKsync highlighted the security risks and capital inefficiency associated with cross-chain bridges, which currently comprise the principal mechanism for moving assets across different Layer 1 and Layer 2 blockchains.

“Even if centralized bridges were perfectly secure, they are very capital-intensive to operate because they require liquidity on every integrated chain,” the project said. “As the number of independent blockchains as well as optimistic rollups grows, the capital that needs to be available in these bridges will have to grow quadratically.”

By contrast, ZKsync described Elastic Chain as an ecosystem of autonomous chains that are natively interconnected at the protocol level to facilitate the free movement of crypto assets, bolstering capital efficiency and eliminating friction.

“It’s a united multi-chain ecosystem that feels and behaves like a single chain,” ZKsync said.

Elastic Chain supports account abstraction, with users able to onboard via FaceID or Passkeys, bypassing the need for seed phrases.

Post-airdrop pullback

The announcement follows ZKsync’s long-awaited airdrop, which distributed 17.5% of the ZK token’s supply to early adopters on June 17.

While the token debuted at a more than $1 billion market cap, ZK has since pulled back to a capitalization of $651 million.

The price of ZK bounced 6% in 24 hours to tag $0.18, according to The Defiant’s crypto price feeds.

Related: ZkSync Airdrop Allocations Leave DeFi Community Split