What is zkSync 2.0?

A significant upgrade to accelerate the capabilities of zkSync

Feb 16, 2023
Edward Wilson

Quick summary

zkSync is a Layer 2 scaling solution that offers cheaper and faster transactions than the main Ethereum blockchain (Layer 1). zkSync 1.0 (lite) doesn’t support smart contracts, which limits what’s possible on the network. That’s what zkSync 2.0 (Era) fixes.

zkSync is a type of Layer 2 Ethereum scaling solution called ZK-rollup. ZK-rollups, in short, work by moving the bulk of the transaction activity away from Layer 1 to provide scalability while inheriting Ethereum’s security and finality.

Argent is using zkSync as one of the scaling options in their Layer 2 wallet.   

Why do we need zkSync 2.0 (Era)?

The great thing about zkSync is that it’s already providing significant scalability for Ethereum. For example, sending cryptocurrency from one wallet to another is around $0.02, and making a DeFi investment with Yearn or Aave costs less than $0.10. This is made possible with Argent bringing yield-earning tokens to L2 and utilizing atomic swaps, a trustless, peer-to-peer way to swap tokens without smart contracts.

That’s around 100x cheaper than Ethereum Layer 1! 

However, the current version of zkSync - zkSync 1.0 (Lite) - doesn’t support smart contracts, which limits what can be done on the network. 

zkSync 2.0 (Era) fixes this.

With this update, smart contracts will be supported through zkSync’s virtual machine (VM) called Zinc which comes with a compiler for EVM compatibility. 

A compiler is a program that translates one programming language into another to make it compatible. 

For you - this means all your favorite dapps on Ethereum, like Uniswap, Opensea, and many more can be brought onto zkSync easily without needing a new audit or making major code changes and without the need for DeFi pooling.  

That means everything you love doing on Ethereum will be able to on zkSync, only faster and cheaper. With over 250 dapps building on the network covering DeFi, NFTs, DAOs, and more, there will be lots for you to explore! 

What is the zkSync 2.0 (Era) timeline?

ZK-rollups, like zkSync, are incredibly complex, which is why they have taken longer to build compared to optimistic rollups like Arbitrum and Optimism. Because of these challenges, the rollout for zkSync 2.0 (Era) is phased:

  1. Baby Alpha (zkSync team only)
  2. Fair Launch Alpha (approved developers)
  3. Full Alpha (users)

First - Baby Alpha - Oct 28th ‘22

When zkSync 2.0 (Era) initially launches, no external teams, including Argent, will be able to access it at launch - only the Matter Labs team. This is so the network can be battle-tested to ensure everything is working as intended.

Second - Fair launch Alpha - Q1 ‘23

Approved external teams can move their contracts over to zkSync 2.0 (Era) and develop them on mainnet. At this point, users will still be unable to access the network at this point - only Matter Labs and developers. 

Full Alpha - Q2 ‘23

Once everything has been rigorously tested, that’s when users - like you - will be able to gain access to zkSync 2.0 (Era) and the over 250 dapps building on the network.

Put differently - It’s when the fun begins! 

Want to learn more about zkSync 2.0 (Era)? 

Listen to this excellent Bankless podcast with zkSync's Chief Product Officer, Steve Newcomb, discuss zkSync 2.0 (Era) in-depth and how it will transform the industry. 

Who’s behind zkSync?

zkSync is developed by Matter Labs. They’ve received funding from both the Ethereum Foundation and top-tier investors, such as Union Square Ventures. 

Argent and Layer 2

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. 

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Related Articles

What is zkSync?

Scaling Ethereum with affordable, fast and secure transactions

What is zkSync Lite?

Learn about the start of the scaling revolution

What is zkSync Era?

zkSync is getting a major upgrade!

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