Ethereum Could Scale to 500 TPS Using ZCash's zk-SNARKs Technology, Vitalik Buterin Explains

Omar Faridi
  • Zcash's zk-SNARKs technology could be integrated on the Ethereum network to help it scale.
  • Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin believes using zk-SNARKS will allow the Ethereum network to scale to 500 TPS.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin recently recommended using privacy-oriented Zcash’s zk-SNARKs technology in order to help scale the Ethereum blockchain to process 500 transactions per second (TPS).

zk-SNARK is short for “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge” and is a type of “proof construction” that allows an entity to prove that they’re in “possession of certain information … without revealing that information, and without any interaction between the prover and verifier.”

Zero-Knowledge Proofs

In other words, zk-SNARK is derived from zero-knowledge cryptography and it “potentially gives you the ability… to prove something about a data structure without revealing the data inside the data structure”, according to Peter Van Valkenburgh, the director of research at Coin Center (a non-profit focused on researching policies related to cryptocurrencies).

Buterin noted in his EthResearch blog post (on September 22nd) that transaction relayers on the Ethereum blockchain could potentially process transactions in bulk by batching, or bundling, them together and then using zk-SNARK to “mass-validate” them.

Buterin's explaination reads in part:

There are two classes of user: (i) transactor, and (ii) relayer. A relayer takes a set of operations from transactors, and combines them all into a transaction and makes a ZK-SNARK to prove the validity, and publishes the ZK-SNARK and the transaction data in a highly compressed form to the blockchain. A relayer gets rewarded for this by transaction fees from transactors.

Vitalik Buterin

Per the Russian-Canadian programmer, this approach could greatly compress data and allow validators to process all transactions “on-chain” (on the main Ethereum blockchain) - without having to rely on sidechains or second-layer channels.

Scaling To 500 TPS

Integrating zk-SNARK technology on the Ethereum network could potentially enable it to process up to 500 TPS, Buterin estimated. At present, the Ethereum blockchain can only handle an average of 15 TPS, so this would significantly improve its network capacity.

Ethereum’s developers have been working on several second-layer solutions and other performance-enhancing upgrades. As covered on CryptoGlobe, Ethereum’s Constantinople (hard fork) upgrade, which includes five different ethereum improvement proposals (EIP), is tentatively scheduled for next month.

Constantinople is aimed at improving Ethereum’s network efficiency while also reducing mining rewards from 3 ETH to 2 ETH per block. Many ETH miners have complained about the decrease in mining rewards and have considered switching to mining other digital currencies.

Effectively scaling the Ethereum blockchain is crucial as it has become too congested due to the large number of decentralized applications (DApps) that have been deployed on its platform.

Ethereum Co-Founder Tells Binance CEO Crypto Can Do More Than Reform Money

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has told Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao that cryptocurrencies can do more than just “reform money,” adding the crypto community should expand beyond the finance mentality.

In a tweetstorm, the co-founder of the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization argued that some of the most popular narratives in the cryptocurrency space do not apply to this year’s crisis. Per Buterin, while Bitcoin was created n the aftermath of a global financial crisis in 2008, this year we’re dealing with a “virus crisis,” a crisis related to epistemology, and one of “overbearing policing.”

As a result, he said, the narrative bitcoiners user surrounding inflation is not the best one to use right now, taking into account that while the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has been growing, inflation isn’t.

Buterin added, pointing to the March crash in equity markets and in the cryptocurrency space, that Bitcoin and other cryptos are also not uncorrelated to traditional assets, as at the time both dropped significantly. While Bitcoin has since recovered to give investors positive returns YTD, the S&P 500 has been struggling to climb back up to its highs.

Nevertheless, Buterin argued that it is time for the cryptocurrency community to understand “finance is relatively less important this decade than it was in the last decade,” and adjust to this new reality. The co-founder of ETH added his cryptocurrency already has various applications that go beyond finance, including governance, decentralized communities, censorship-resistant publishing and communication, and more.

Per his words, stablecoins have succeeded in the space because users are not trying to get away from the U.S. dollar, but are instead moving into the cryptocurrency environment to have more options on what they can do with their own money.

He then pointed to a tweet from Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao arguing “Bitcoin is the peaceful protest,” and claimed that “reforming money is not sufficient” and the crypto community needs to expand its mentality.

Buterin went on to say that 2016-.2020 is a “period of ideological realignment. Many old ideologies and coalitions are dying, and many new ones being born. The hills and valleys on the battlefields are shifting.”

Featured image via Unsplash.