StarkNet Alpha: Ethereum’s strongest expansion path

The ZK Rollup expansion solution StarkNet Alpha was launched on the Ethereum mainnet. This solution helps alleviate the current high fee usage environment of Ethereum .

At present, several scaling solutions have been actually adopted, but ZK-Rollup (Zero-Knowledge Rollup) technology has always been regarded as the best solution for scaling solutions. Why?

Ethereum Scalability Issues

High gasfees have become a major problem for Ethereum , since transaction fees are paid in ETH, when asset prices rise, so does the cost of using the network, ETH has risen 460% this year, which means transaction costs in USD Also increased by 460%.

In addition, the transaction fee also depends on the degree of network congestion. Since the current on-chain application projects have a great demand for the Ethereum block space, but the block space is limited, the network can easily become congested, making the transaction confirmation. Slower speed and higher gasfee.

The high cost of using the network has become a hindrance for users to participate in DeFi (decentralized finance) and NFT, and even lose the opportunity to participate in DAO, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts have migrated to other first-layer blockchains, such as Solana (SOL) and Avalanche (AVAX).

StarkNet Alpha: Ethereum's strongest expansion path

Median Ethereum transaction gas price (Source: Glassnode)

Over the past few years, several scaling solutions have been developed to help alleviate Ethereum’s network congestion and transaction costs.

Launched in 2019, Polygon was arguably the first Ethereum scaling solution to gain significant traction, with the network using a scaling solution called Plasma.

It moves transactions from the main Ethereum blockchain to a dedicated sidechain, and many Ethereum-native DeFi applications have launched on Polygon, such as Curve (CRV) and Aave (AAVE).

While the Polygon network has been successful in attracting users through its low transaction costs, it is often questioned about security and centralization and is not considered a true scaling solution.

The network uses its own node validators to manage the PoS consensus mechanism, which means it does not use the Ethereum mainnet to validate transactions.

According to Polygonscan data at the time of writing, only 100 validators manage the Polygon network, and the largest validator node addresses more than 27% of its overall network validated blocks.

StarkNet Alpha: Ethereum's strongest expansion path

The proportion of the top 25 blocks verified on the Polygon network (Source: Polygonscan)

Rollup scaling solution

StarkNet Alpha: Ethereum's strongest expansion path

The Rollup scaling solution has recently caused a heated discussion in the Ethereum community. The Rollup solution, as the name suggests, is a way to “package” computing data and send the Validity Proof back to the Ethereum mainnet.

This practice saves block space, further reduces the amount of data submitted to the mainnet, and since transactions are bundled together, Gasfee can be shared among many users.

Rollup provides users with near-instant transaction speeds that can reduce fees by a factor of 50 to 200, while maintaining the security and decentralization of the Ethereum mainnet.

There are currently two types of Rollup solutions:

Optimistic  Rollup和Zero-Knowledge Rollup(ZK-Rollup)。

What is Optimistic Rollup?

StarkNet Alpha: Ethereum's strongest expansion path

The Optimistic Rollup scheme assumes that the transaction sent back to the main chain is legitimate, and the transaction will only be rejected if the validator can prove that the transaction is fraudulent by submitting a Fraud Proof.

In other words, Optimistic Rollups take an “innocent until proven guilty” approach to verifying transactions.

Optimistic Rollup is already seeing real-world adoption, in part because it’s easier for developers to develop applications on the network.

Optimistic Rollup can directly support complete smart contract functions , and developers can use Ethereum’s programming language Solidity to write applications.

According to data from L2beat, Arbitrum, the largest Optimistic Rollup network at present, has attracted more than $2.5 billion in total value locked (TVL) in DeFi applications, and it hosts many popular DeFi applications on Ethereum.

However, due to the way Optimistic Rollup validates transactions, they face some challenges, sending funds back to the Ethereum mainnet through a week-long Dispute Time Delay, which is inconvenient for users and destroys composability .

StarkNet Alpha: Ethereum's strongest expansion path

While Optimistic Rollups have improved Plasma based solutions.

Like Polygon, but they are generally considered inferior to ZK-Rollups, Optimistic Rollups provide up to 77x scalability improvement, while ZK-Rollups provide up to 500x improvement with no challenge period.

What is ZK-Rollup?

StarkNet Alpha: Ethereum's strongest expansion path

The ZK-Rollup scheme generates a cryptographic proof when the transaction is packaged into the main network to prove that the transaction is legitimate. Only after the cryptographic proof is verified, the transaction will be accepted on Ethereum. Unlike Optimistic Rollup, ZK-Rollup adopts ” Guilty until proven innocent” method of verification.

However, ZK-Rollups have not yet achieved the same level of compatibility as their Optimistic Rollup counterparts, as ZK-Rollups accompany proofs of validity with every transaction.

So they are more difficult in technical development. At present, the development of ZK-Rollup has been able to perform some simple tasks, such as direct transfer and transaction. Although it is possible to integrate smart contract functions, it is more difficult than Optimistic Rollup.

Just this year, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin predicted that it would take several years to develop a fully composable ZK-Rollup .

However, the developers have completed their plans ahead of time, and several ZK-Rollups projects are preparing to deploy solutions that are both composable and interoperable, even allowing multiple Rollups to interoperate.

The development of ZK-Rollups will allow the communication framework to be shared between the Ethereum mainnet and multiple Layer 2 networks, which can share liquidity and overcome the biggest adoption challenges facing Layer 1 blockchains.

A network based on ZK-Rollup will not need to compete for liquidity in order to have efficient transactions on decentralized exchanges, but will be able to scale Ethereum in a cooperative manner.

ZK-Rollup also has another unique feature, the transaction fee becomes cheaper as more people trade, the fee for sending a batch will not change much.

As more transactions are packaged in a batch, transaction costs can be amortized among more users, and ZK-Rollups can package an almost unlimited number of transactions.

So when there are enough users, the gasfee of a transaction can be reduced to just a few cents, a feature called “Validity Proof Amortization”.

While Ethereum still faces scalability issues, some developers are already deploying a second-layer ZK-Rollup network that promises full composability and integration between smart contracts, other second-layer solutions, and the Ethereum Virtual Machine. compatibility.

Types of ZK-Rollups

StarkNet Alpha: Ethereum's strongest expansion path

There are currently two different types of ZK-Rollups used in scaling solutions on Ethereum, the first is the most widely used type ZK-SNARKs, full name of Succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge), and was the first type of zero-knowledge proof to be discovered.

The privacy-focused blockchain project Zcash (ZEC) adopted ZK-SNARKs as early as 2016, and the technology forms the repository and code of most developers of ZK-Rollup, and is considered one of the Ethereum expansion projects Powerful choice.

But SNARKs have a flaw, they require a key for the initial creation event, these keys are used to create the proof needed for the transaction, and if the key in the trusted setup event is not destroyed, they can be used to create new ones out of thin air Tokens or fake transactions.

The current high-profile SNARK scaling solution is Matter Lab’s zkSync , a project launched in June 2020.

Claiming 2,000 transactions per second in its current iteration, and hoping to achieve higher throughput in the future, the platform began working on deploying smart contracts in an EVM-compatible environment, launching the zkEVM testnet.

zkSync is currently focused on making the transition to the Ethereum mainnet as easy as possible, and those who want to develop on zkEVM can write smart contracts using the Ethereum language Solidity.

Matter Labs recently raised $50 million in a Series B round led by a16z to help grow zkSync, and the company has partnered with several Ethereum DeFi applications such as Curve, Aave, and 1inch.

Another ZK-Rollup scheme is STARKs, whose full name is Scalable transparent arguments of knowledge. STARKs have advantages over SNARKs.

Because STARKs rely entirely on hash functions and do not require a trusted setup, this means that STARKs are theoretically more secure than SNARKs.

StarkWare was the first company to use STARKs to scale Ethereum and is currently a major enabler of developing STARK-based technologies.

The company’s two co-founders, EliBen-Sasson and Michael Riabzev, co-invented the technology.

StarkWare created a Turing-complete programming language for STARK-based ZK-Rollups called Cairo, and the “StarkEx Protocol” was the first product created in the Cairo language.

StarkEx is an application-specific scaling solution that is currently being used by several Ethereum projects, including dYdX, ImmutableX, Sorare, and DeversiFi.

StarkWare’s upcoming StarkNet is a permissionless ZK-Rollup network that allows developers to build and launch applications directly on the second layer.

StarkNet aims to be a truly decentralized multi-application scaling solution.

StarkNet Alpha: Ethereum's strongest expansion path

Schematic diagram of the development of StarkNet (Source: StarkWare)

ZK-Rollup is about to change the way the cryptocurrency community uses Ethereum, with the implementation of high-speed, low-cost networks like zkSync and StarkNet.

More transactions on the Ethereum mainnet will be outsourced to the second layer, which should bring Ethereum closer to its vision of being a scalable, secure and decentralized blockchain network.

Investment is risky. The views and opinions in this article are only those of the author and do not constitute any advice.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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