Ethereum, and most other blockchain technologies, have a serious issue with scalability.
As more and more computationally complex procedures are run on the primary blockchain, the network becomes congested, and transaction fees rise. The Ethereum ecosystem in its entirety suffers, and the user experience suffers as a direct result.
However, ZK-Rollups present a potential answer to Ethereum's scaling issues. This piece will brief you on ZK-Rollups and their benefits on the blockchain ecosystem as well as their disadvantages.
ZK-Rollups—what are they?
Zero-knowledge rollups, or ZK-Rollups, are Ethereum Layer 2 scalability solutions implemented as smart contracts enabling faster blockchain transaction processing.
You need to know the basics of rollups in order to grasp ZK-Rollups, and you need to know why rollups are the cornerstone of Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solutions. In contrast to solutions implemented at lower layers, those at layer 2 utilize a secondary chain.
Since rollups provide superior capacity (transactions per second/TPS) without compromising decentralization or security, they have become one of the preferred Layer 2 solutions. This is accomplished by offloading computation-heavy operations from the ETH mainnet (Layer 1) to a separate blockchain (a “sidechain”) (Layer 2).
A rollup only publishes to the mainchain the information necessary for any participant to reproduce the transaction states, plus identify erroneous or error-prone ones. Since all transactions are recorded on Ethereum's mainchain, there is no cause for concern regarding data security.
Since “zero knowledge” of the entire transaction's data is required, these promising ZK Rollup projects on the market make better use of the blockchain's storage capacity. Proof of validation is all that is required, which reduces the time and resources needed for validation and allows for cheaper services.
The mainchain will automatically accept the transactions that have been validated on the sidechain. ZK-Rollup validation uses fewer data, making it faster and cheaper than Ethereum's main chain validation.
To save load on the main blockchain, ZK-Rollups collect related transactions together into single block and then process them in a separate network. Transaction and relay nodes in the network validate and publish this information to the mainnet.
The Pros and Cons of Using ZK-Rollups
ZK-Rollups are among the finest Layer 2 scalability solutions for Ethereum since they are both inexpensive and fast. The key benefits are as follows:
- Reduced wait time for transaction completion
In other words, the length of time required for a user to receive confirmation that somehow a blockchain transaction will not be modified or canceled is reduced thanks to ZK-Rollups. When proofs of validity are transmitted, the Ethereum network instantly confirms the new state.
- Greater capacity and scalability
Due to the small size of each transaction in a ZK-Rollup, scalability and throughput are improved. For the purpose of validating all transactions at once, a ZK-Rollup gathers them into a single file. This means that only the most up-to-date state needs to be relayed across nodes, making for more accessible, more effective and rapid processing.
- Less expensive processing fees
ZK-Rollups provide for lower transaction costs. Users chip in for the gas cost because their transactions are “rolled-up” With a large enough user base, the gas fees might be as low as a few cents because the ZK-ability Rollup to bundle an endless number of transactions into a single payment.
- Safe and decentralized
In order to retrieve information from ZK-Rollups, only the validity evidence is required, rather than the whole transaction history. The rollup improves scalability without compromising security or decentralization because the proof of validity is kept on Layer 1. As a further bonus, parallel computing in blocks promotes decentralization.
The ZK-Rollup protocol, with its novel approach, has great potential to become the standard for Layer 2 scaling in the future. It does have some negative aspects, of course. There are barriers to the widespread use of ZK-Rollups that need to be addressed:
- Intricate validity proofing
To prove zero-knowledge validity computationally is arduous and time-consuming. Thus, ZK-Rollups necessitate data optimization for optimal throughput. ZK-Rollups are currently limited to elementary operations like straight transfers and trading because to the intricate mathematics involved in proving ZK validity. Maximum throughput requires data optimization.
Since validating rollup data requires just that a single node in the network be trusted, the possibility exists that the entire network is compromised.