ZkSync Launches ‘Era’ Public Mainnet
Matter Labs Wins Race To Release First zkEVM
By: Samuel Haig •DeFi News
ZkSync Era, the second iteration of a Layer 2 network from Ethereum scaling team Matter Labs, has launched its public mainnet.
Era is a zero-knowledge rollup compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) — Ethereum’s core smart contract engine — meaning that developers won’t have to make major changes to their code to deploy applications between zkSync Era and the Ethereum mainnet.
The launch is a major milestone for Ethereum scaling, marking the first public launch of an EVM-compatible rollup secured by zero-knowledge proofs.
Rollups work by bundling transactions together on Layer 2 before submitting them in batches to the Ethereum mainnet for finalization. Arbitrum and Optimism, the top Layer 2s, both leverage optimistic rollups, which offer high EVM compatibility at the expense of a seven-day delay on mainnet withdrawals for fraud detection.
Past zk-rollup offerings traded improved security and fast finality for poor EVM compatibility, often requiring bespoke programming languages that prevented developers from easily porting their existing code, thereby hindering adoption.
But a new generation of “zkEVMs” promise to deliver zero-knowledge-powered rollups supporting EVM code, with Matter Labs, Scroll, Polygon, and Consensys competing to be the first to launch a public mainnet. Indeed, Polygon is slated to unveil its zkEVM offering on March 27.
Matter Labs launched its first zk-rollup, now called zkSync Lite, in June 2020. The network has processed over 10M transactions and has a total value locked (TVL) of more than $73M.
Marco Cora, head of business development at Matter Labs, told The Defiant that said Matter Labs was concurrently working to develop a general-purpose zkEVM from the company’s inception.
He said zkSync Lite and zkSync Era will operate as two separate networks. Cora added that zkSync Lite will likely outperform its big brother for simple swaps and transfers until Ethereum’s future EIP-4844 upgrade reduces the costs associated with complex transactions on rollups.
Lite recently enjoyed a spike in activity, with its TVL surging 52% to $88M since March 11, according to L2beat. Cora attributed the spike in activity to airdrop opportunists inspired by the launch of Arbitrum’s ARB token.
ZkSync Era was first deployed to a closed testnet in December 2021, before opening to the public three months later. This was followed by a closed mainnet launch in October 2022, before opening to developers in February, and today’s public launch.
Era is now open to all developers to permissionlessly deploy code on the network.
Cora said many of DeFi’s top dApps are gearing up to deploy on zkSync Era, including Uniswap, Curve, and MakerDAO. He added that Matter Labs is in talks with “traditional companies” seeking to bring operations on-chain, including gaming firms WEMADE and XLA.
He also highlighted that zkSync Era’s unique oracle design will enable decentralized exchanges to explore order book-based trade execution. He said most networks charge users every time an oracle is updated, while Era allows oracles to update as many times as desired within a single block with additional fees.
Era natively supports account abstraction, meaning users can program customizable security parameters and wallet recovery options such as two-factor authentication. Cora believes account abstraction is “necessary” to facilitate mass adoption by making wallet management easier for crypto newcomers.
Era was also built to facilitate Layer 3 development. L3, described by Cora as “hyperscaling”, allows teams to deploy customizable blockchains on top of Era. L3 chains could be app-specific chains akin to dYdX, or permissioned enterprise chains like Hyperledger.