On Wednesday (July 20), Polygon, “the leading Web3 infrastructure used by some of the world’s biggest companies including Meta, Stripe & Reddit,” announced the launch of Polygon zkEVM., which claims to be “the first Ethereum-equivalent scaling solution that works seamlessly with all existing smart contracts, developer tools, and wallets, harnessing advanced cryptography called zero-knowledge proofs.”

What Is Polygon ($MATIC)?

Polygon is “a decentralised Ethereum scaling platform that enables developers to build scalable user-friendly dApps with low transaction fees without ever sacrificing on security.” The Polygon Lightpaper describes Polygon as “a protocol and a framework for building an connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks.”

On 18 May 2021, Independent Ethereum educator, investor and advisor Anthony Sassano took to Twitter to clear up some of the confusion around Polygon (e.g. some people refer to Polygon as a sidechain to Ethereum, while others call it an L2 blockchain). Below are a few highlights from that Twitter thread:

  • There is the Matic Plasma Chain and the Polygon PoS chain. The vast majority of the activity is happening on the PoS chain.
  • The PoS chain is what people refer to as a ‘sidechain’ to Ethereum because it has its own permissionless validator set (100+ who are staking MATIC) which means it doesn’t use Ethereum’s security (aka Ethereum’s PoW).
  • The PoS chain goes beyond a standard sidechain and actually relies on and commits itself to Ethereum (what some people may call a ‘commit-chain’). It relies on Ethereum because all of the validator/staking logic for the PoS chain lives as a smart contract on Ethereum.
  • This means that if the Ethereum network went offline, the Polygon PoS chain would also go offline. Secondly, the PoS chain actually commits/checkpoints itself to Ethereum every so often.
  • This has 2 benefits: it provides Ethereum-based finality to the PoS chain & it can help the chain recover in case of catastrophic event. This also means that Polygon is paying Ethereum to use its blockspace (in ETH) & paying for it to secure the contracts & checkpointing.

Furthermore, Sassano took this opportunity to talk about the two bridges that exist between Ethereum and Polygon:

  • There are 2 bridges – the Plasma bridge which is secured by Ethereum and the PoS bridge which is secured/operated by the PoS chain validator set.
  • Of course, for the PoS bridge, 2/3 of the validators could theoretically collude and try to steal the bridge funds but there’s $3.4 billion at stake so this is risky. If this attack did happen, the checkpointing & social coordination could be the only recourse.

He also commented on multi-sigs for Polygons contracts:

  • “The multi-sigs exist to allow the contract to be upgraded in case of a bug/exploit which is a practice used by many existing projects (especially those within DeFi).
  • However, Polygon’s multi-sigs are 5 of 8 which is definitely not ideal and not decentralized and the plan is to greatly improve this in the near future.

Finally, he said that Polygon is “committed to building & deploying L2 solutions like rollups in the future” and this is what he is “most excited about.”

What Is Polygon zkEVM and Why Is It Important?

According to a press release shared with CryptoGlobe, Polygon zkEVM is” fundamentally equivalent to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) itself and fully benefits from all of Ethereum’s ecosystem.” EVM-equivalence is different from EVM-compatibility because “it creates less user friction, removing the need for any kind of modification or re-implementation of code.”

Polygon zkEVM stands for zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine. It “leverages the power of zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs to reduce transaction costs and greatly increase throughput, all while inheriting the security of Ethereum.” The ZK proof technology “works by batching transactions into groups, which are then relayed to the Ethereum Network as a single, bulk transaction,” with the ‘gas fee’ for the single transaction “then split between all the participants involved, dramatically lowering fees.”

Polygon believes that for “developers of payment and DeFi applications,” its new product’s “high security and censorship resistance” make it better than other L2 scaling solutions. In particular, it points out that “unlike Optimistic roll-ups where users have to wait for as long as seven days for deposits and withdrawals, zk-Rollups offer faster settlement and far better capital efficiency.”

Furthermore, Polygon zkEVM “enables easy migration of decentralized applications (dApps) that exist on chains compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine to zkEVM, where EVM equivalence and Ethereum network effects provide distinct advantages to developers.” Via languages such as Solidity and toolsets such as Truffle, developers can “migrate dApps by simply switching nodes,” which also makes Polygon zkEVM “ideally suited for the seamless creation of NFTs, new gaming technologies and enterprise applications. Existing Polygon dApps can migrate very easily to zkEVM with minimal support.”

Mihailo Bjelic, co-founder of Polygon, had this to say:

The holy grail of Web3 infrastructure should have three major properties: scalability, security and Ethereum-compatibility. Until now, it has not been practically possible to offer all these properties at once. Polygon zkEVM is a breakthrough technology that finally achieves that, thus opening a new chapter of mass adoption.

Polygon has already released “part of the source code and roadmap” for zkEVM. The public testnet is expected to go live this summer, and the mainnet launch is aimed for early 2023.”

Image Credit

Featured Image by geralt from Pixabay