The Zero-Knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine (zkEVM) is a revolutionary technology that aims to address the scalability issues of the Ethereum network. This article will delve into what zkEVM is, how it works, and why it matters.
What is zkEVM?
A zkEVM is an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible virtual machine that supports zero-knowledge proof computation. In simpler terms, it’s a virtual machine that generates zero-knowledge proofs to verify the correctness of programs.
The EVM is the runtime environment in which smart contracts deployed on the Ethereum network are executed. A virtual machine is “EVM-compatible” if it can run programs created to run in the EVM environment. Such VMs can execute smart contracts written in Solidity or other high-level languages used in Ethereum development.
zkEVMs are designed to execute smart contracts in a manner that supports zero-knowledge technology. They are part of zero-knowledge (ZK) rollups, Ethereum layer 2 scaling solutions that improve throughput by transferring computation and state storage off-chain. A ZK-rollup submits transaction data to Ethereum along with zero-knowledge proofs verifying the validity of off-chain transaction batches.
How does a zkEVM work?
Like the EVM, a zkEVM is a virtual machine that transitions between states as a result of program operations. Unlike regular virtual machines, a zkEVM proves the correctness of program execution, including the validity of inputs and outputs used in the operation.
The EVM was never designed to support zero-knowledge proofs, which makes building EVM-compatible, zero-knowledge-friendly virtual machines difficult. However, advances in research have made it possible—to some extent—to wrap EVM computation in zero-knowledge proofs.
Why zkEVM Matters?
The introduction of zkEVMs has significant implications for the Ethereum network and the broader blockchain ecosystem. They enable the execution of smart contracts off-chain, thereby reducing the computational load on the Ethereum network and improving its scalability1.
Moreover, zkEVMs inherit the security of Ethereum’s Layer 1, ensuring that transactions are valid and safeguarding user funds. They also reduce transaction costs and increase throughput, enhancing the user experience and making Ethereum more accessible to a broader audience.
The Future of zkEVM
With the development of zkEVMs, ZK-rollups are starting to support Ethereum dApps. This advancement is a significant step towards achieving scalable, secure, and efficient blockchain networks. As research and development continue, we can expect to see more innovative applications of zkEVM technology in the future.
In conclusion, zkEVM represents a promising solution to the scalability challenges facing the Ethereum network. By enabling off-chain execution of smart contracts and supporting zero-knowledge proofs, zkEVMs have the potential to revolutionize the way we use blockchain technology.