The implementation of zero-knowledge rollups (ZK-rollups) has been primarily driven by Ethereum scaling protocols, as highlighted by the substantial launches, innovative research, and competitive dynamics revealed in the industry report by ZKValidator.
The node infrastructure provider’s Q2 “State of ZK” report sheds light on key developments in the ZK ecosystem. Among the significant developments were the launches of ZK-fuelled layer 2 solutions that underscored the technology’s scaling capabilities compared to other market sectors.
Zero-knowledge proofs or ZK-proofs leverage cryptography to enable one party to assure another that a given set of information is accurate without disclosing any data. These proofs play a crucial role in addressing trust and privacy concerns in digital contexts and have been instrumental in scaling layer-1 blockchain protocols.
A survey presented to the Zero Knowledge Podcast’s 18,000 followers offered insights into the community’s perception of ZK-proofs’ most impactful applications. Approximately 42% of respondents identified “ZK for Scaling” as the area likely to witness the most significant growth over the ensuing 12 months.
“ZK for privacy and identity” trailed behind at 23.8% and 22.2% respectively, whereas zero-knowledge machine learning was the least popular segment.
The survey’s findings correspond with the practical applications of ZK-proofs, as various major Ethereum scaling protocols were launched on the mainnet in the first half of 2023.
Prominent amongst these was the announcement by Polygon of its impending “2.0” multichain system that will leverage ZK-proofs to facilitate asset transfers between networks, and zkSync Era’s ZK Stack, set to enable developers to construct ZK-rollups and unique layer-3 “hyperchains.”
On July 11, ConsenSys began integrating partners into its mainnet Linea network, another noteworthy layer 2 solution that allows developers to create or transfer decentralized applications for Ethereum.
The sector has also garnered investment across several areas, including new zk-based layer 2’s and zkEthereum Virtual Machines (zkEVMs), and ZK-proofs for off-chain computations.
StarkWare, an Ethereum scaling firm instrumental in developing zk technology, along with Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin, invested in Kakarot, a zkEVM powered by StarkWare’s technology focusing on developing layer-3 applications.
The report also spotlighted Worldcoin’s $115 million fundraising to further the evolution of its zk-enabled digital identity application and ecosystem. Additionally, the Anoma Foundation, a Swiss nonprofit, was featured following its recent $25 million funding round, earmarked for continuing the development of its third-generation blockchain infrastructure for decentralized applications.