Layer 2 Network zkSync Era Upgrades Proving System

‘Boojum’ Reduces Hardware Requirements To Bolster Decentralization

By: Samuel Haig Loading...

Layer 2 Network zkSync Era Upgrades Proving System

Matter Labs, the team behind zkSync Era, Ethereum’s third-largest Layer 2 network, shipped an upgraded proving system for the first time since launching zkSync Lite in mid-2020.

On July 17, zkSync Era upgraded to a new STARK-based proving system, dubbed “Boojum.” Matter Labs said the new system reduces the computational requirements of provers by 80%, reducing transaction fees and paving the way for a decentralized ecosystem.

“Boojum [GPU-based] provers only require 16 GB of RAM, enabling massive future prover decentralization,” Matter Labs said. “This proof is much smaller and cheaper to verify… driv[ing] down the cost of the proof system, and therefore, the transactions themselves.”

For comparison, Era’s previous SNARK-based proving system needed to run on high-end hardware with at least 80 GB of RAM. Matter Labs said users can even run Boojum on a CPU-based system with 64GB of RAM, with the team targeting a 50% reduction in the future.

zkSync Era has stormed the Layer 2 rankings since launching in March.

The network now holds $581M in total value locked (TVL) and hosts the highest activity among Layer 2s, according to L2beat. Era processed 24M transactions over the past 30 days, beating out long-standing L2 incumbents in Arbitrum with 23.5M, and Optimism with 15.4M.

zkSync Era TVL

However, Era’s performance is likely bolstered by opportunistic airdrop farmers hoping to be eligible should Matter Labs issue a token to early Era adopters in the future.

Matter Labs said zkSync Era’s sequencer can process more than 100 transactions per second.

Boojum Upgrade

Matter Labs said Boojum is the culmination of more than three years of development, starting with its December 2019 paper, Redshift.

“We launched zkSync Era with a SNARK-based system underpinning our zkEVM, leveraging the battle-tested circuit framework that has been powering zkSync Lite on mainnet for almost three years,” Matter Labs said.

Matter Labs said the transition Era’s transition from SNARK-based to STARK-based proofs drives a “dramatic improvement in performance.” SNARKs require trusted validators and use more complex mathematics, stymying decentralization and increasing transaction fees compared to STARKs.

According to L2fees, the average fee for DEX-based token swaps on Era prior to the upgrade was $0.34, ranking it seventh among the top ten Layer 2 networks. For comparison, swaps on Optimism and Arbitrum cost $0.11 and $0.21 respectively. However, Era’s fees were still 92% cheaper than transacting on Ethereum’s mainnet.

ZK Stack

The launch follows Matter Labs announcing its ZK Stack, a modular tech stack for building L2 networks based on the technology underpinning Era, three weeks ago.

Matter Labs said ZK Stack-based chains can unify into a multi-chain ecosystem with low latency and shared liquidity, realizing the team’s vision for “hyperchain” scaling. The team added that Boojum allows “fast finality and interoperability between hyperchains.”

“Our current SNARK-based system, while effective for today, won’t scale to the high-volume, near real-time transactions the ZK Stack… aims to support in the coming years,” Matter Labs said.