Polygon is helping to bring the Ethereum Virtual Machine to ZK-Rollups

Quick Take

  • Polygon has unveiled zkEVM, an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) for ZK-Rollups.
  • This will give ZK-Rollups the ability to run Ethereum-based smart contracts.

Polygon has announced a zero-knowledge (ZK) scaling solution called zkEVM that is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine. Polygon's zkEVM is still in a testnet phase and will hit mainnet by the end of 2022.

ZK-Rollups are a complicated technology that allows for a layer built on top of a blockchain to process many more transactions at a lower cost — and issue a proof that lives on the underlying blockchain that all of these transactions happened. It is one of the few main scaling solutions for blockchains, with most development currently focused on Ethereum.

One thing that ZK-Rollups had been missing, however, was full support for the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This is the main processing unit on the Ethereum blockchain for decentralized applications. The key takeaway is that this will enable applications running on any EVM-compatible blockchain to be able to use zkEVM.

“Many believed that a zkEVM was years away, or not practical or competitive," Jordi Baylina, co-founder of Polygon Hermez, said on the launch. “No one believed in us, but Polygon did.”

While Polygon is mainly known for running a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) sidechain to Ethereum, it also offers various Layer 2 solutions focusing on ZK-Rollups. These include Hermez, Miden, Zero, and Nightfall, ZK-Rollup-based solutions that help decentralized apps cut down transaction costs and greatly increase throughput.

Polygon is not the first to develop a zkEVM into production. Earlier this year, zkSync announced the launch of its EVM-compatible ZK-Rollup on a public testnet.

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