What is zkSync?

Scaling Ethereum with affordable, fast and secure transactions

Feb 16, 2023
Edward Wilson

Quick summary

zkSync is a Layer 2 scaling solution on Ethereum that offers low gas and fast transactions, without compromising on security. People can withdraw assets to Layer 1 at any time. Argent has chosen zkSync as a scaling solution for their Layer 2 wallet.

What is zkSync?

zkSync is a Layer 2 scaling solution that offers cheaper and faster transactions than the main Ethereum blockchain (Layer 1). Layer 2 solutions move most activity away from Layer 1, while still inheriting its security and finality.

Argent is using zkSync for their Layer 2 wallet to give you easy access to the best of DeFi at a fraction of the price of using Ethereum.

How to use zkSync

To access the entire zkSync ecosystem and to benefit from cheap and instant transactions, you first need a wallet like Argent. Without a wallet, you are unable to onboard to the network as it's not possible to access zkSync through an exchange like Coinbase or Binance. Wallets give you an easy way to buy, sell and store crypto and experience the exciting world of DeFi, NFTs, and much more.

What are the benefits of zkSync?

zkSync significantly reduces gas costs without sacrificing security or user control. 

zkSync gives you:

  • Low gas: up to 1/100 of L1 gas & cheaper than using optimistic rollups
  • High speeds: 2000+ transactions per second (tps) compared to 14tps on L1
  • Security: secured by the main Ethereum blockchain 
  • Frictionless transfers: effortlessly move your crypto between L1 and Layer 2 without delays
  • Censorship resistance: you can move your assets back to L1 at any time
Image shows the benefits of using zkSync

Credit: zkSync

How does zkSync work?

zkSync is part of a group of Layer 2 solutions called rollups. More specifically, zkSync is a ZK rollup. (The ZK stands for zero knowledge, which is a cryptographic term for one party being able to prove to another that something is true, without revealing any other information.)

What’s a rollup?

Rollups work by bundling or ‘rolling up’ off-chain transactions into a smaller transaction that gets sent to Layer 1. By sending the transactions back to Layer 1, rollups inherit the security and finality of the Ethereum blockchain.

There are two types of rollup: Zero knowledge (ZK) and Optimistic. We’ll only cover ZK rollups here.

What’s a ZK rollup?

Each batch of transactions is sent to an off-chain prover that generates a cryptographic proof (called a SNARK, in the case of zkSync) that the transactions are valid. While generating the proof is hard, verifying that the proof is valid is easy. This ease means that it can be sent to Layer 1 and verified in a smart contract. This allows for near-frictionless transfers between Layer 1 and Layer 2.

zkSync and Dapps

While Dapps will be able to build on zkSync the platform isn’t ready yet. It will also be EVM compatible, meaning you’ll be able to take existing Layer 1 smart contracts and easily transfer them to Layer 2. This will happen when zkSync 1.0 (Lite) transitions to zkSync 2.0 (Era), which is expected to happen in early 2023.

Unlike other ZK rollups that are EVM compatible (zkEVMs) - Scroll and Polygon Hermez - zkSync supports Account Abstraction. Account abstraction turns every account into a smart contract with its own logic. This is huge because it enables everyone to have an account adapted to their needs, making crypto secure and easy for everyone with seamless compatibility.

Who’s behind zkSync?

ZkSync has been developed by Matter Labs. They’ve received funding from both the Ethereum Foundation and top tier investors, such as Union Square Ventures. zkSync has been live since September 2020.

Get started with zkSync

Argent chose zkSync as one of their mobile wallet's Layer 2 scaling solutions. This choice over alternatives is based on the impressive team at Matter Labs and the ability of zkSync to bring Ethereum to the masses with cheap and instant transactions with near-frictionless transfers between Layer 1 and Layer 2. 

Further resources

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Related articles

What is zkSync Lite?

Learn about the start of the scaling revolution

What is zkSync Era?

zkSync is getting a major upgrade!

What is zkSync 2.0?

A significant upgrade to accelerate the capabilities of zkSync

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