“When we talk about scaling Ethereum, we’re not just talking about increasing transaction throughput or lowering gas fees,” says Dustin Brickwood, Developer Relations Engineer at Matter Labs. “Our goal is to scale the trustless, barrierless, and permissionless economic cooperation offered by Ethereum without compromising on security, decentralization, or performance.”
It’s quite the task, one that the team believes is achievable thanks to ZK proofs. ZK proofs are cryptographic methods that can be used to prove the validity of computations or transactions — all without disclosing a single detail about them. Built on top of Ethereum, zkSync’s technology is implemented as a layer 2 protocol on top of Ethereum’s layer 1. The two layers work in tandem, as the ZK layer 2 leverages ZK rollups (a type of ZK proof) to batch and validate transactions offchain while providing a succinct validity proof onchain to the Ethereum mainnet.
This is seamlessly possible because zkSync’s code is “EVM compatible” — i.e. compatibile with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) — which enables a percentage of Ethereum smart contracts to work out-of-the-box. The interplay between the two layers not only reduces the amount of on-chain data necessary (which, in turn, lowers the computational resources required and subsequent gas fees), but it does so without compromising on security and privacy, all thanks to ZK technology. The all-around gains to the blockchain scaling process are simply enormous.
The resulting user experience? Fast, cheap, and privacy-first.
“Security and privacy are absolutely foundational values for zkSync,” says Dustin. “Our long-term vision is to accelerate the mass adoption of crypto, and we see ourselves as the layer 2 protocol that scales Ethereum’s security — and values.”
A new era: Bridging the world with Web3Modal
In March 2023, zkSync opened the protocol to the public with the mainnet alpha launch of zkSync Era, making it the first EVM-compatible, ZK proof-based layer 2 protocol to open to the public.
For the world to benefit from its layer 2 solution, however, zkSync had to bring developers and users to it. In the world of blockchain, this is done through a “bridge”. Bridges are a protocol through which assets or data can be transferred from one network to another — for example, from Ethereum (a layer 1) to zkSync Era (a layer 2).
But building a bridge is one thing; making it accessible is another. In order for users to transfer their assets across it and start using the destination protocol, they must first connect their wallets. Enter WalletConnect’s Web3Modal SDK, the developer toolkit that enables interoperability with hundreds of wallets from the get-go.
“We built our native bridge so that developers and users could easily transfer tokens from other networks to zkSync Era,” explains Dustin. “To make our native bridge as accessible as possible to the broadest number of users, we decided to integrate WalletConnect’s Web3Modal SDK. This not only enabled us to support more than 500 wallets out-of-the-box, but it delivers a user experience that is seamless and — even more importantly — secure.”
After just one day of development time, Web3Modal was launched on the zkSync Era’s txBridge. In the following 30 days, users across 34 different wallet providers connected to zkSync Era, demonstrating the vibrant nature of the wallet ecosystem. zkSync also integrated Web3Modal on its transaction portal txPortal, which allows users to scan their entire transaction history on zkSync Era from a single dashboard. So far, more than 174 million successful transactions have been made on zkSync Era — and the layer 2 is just getting started.