Optimism moves forward with two proposals to add zk-proofs

Quick Take

  • Optimism is moving forward with two proposals by O(1) Labs and RISC Zero to add zk-proofs to OP chains.
  • The submissions were made in response to a request for a proposal designed to enable secure and efficient cross-chain communication.

Ethereum Layer 2 optimistic rollup scaling solution Optimism is moving forward with two proposals to add zero-knowledge proofs. The move aims to enable secure and efficient cross-chain communication between layers and directly between OP chains.

“We're excited to share that we will be moving forward with the proposals from O(1) Labs and RISC Zero,” Optimism Foundation General Manager Bobby Dresser posted on Optimism’s Github on Thursday.

Zk-proofs are a cryptographic concept where one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that they know a value or the truth of a statement without revealing any information beyond the fact that they know it — enhancing privacy and security in blockchain transactions.

The zk-proof proposals

Both proposals, put forward by O(1) Labs and RISC Zero, promise to revamp Optimism's tech stack and bring zk-proof capabilities to the platform.

Zk-proof infrastructure and tooling company RISC Zero suggested upgrading Optimism's existing fault protocol to use zero-knowledge proof to ensure the correctness of state changes on Optimism, reducing the time to achieve finality. If anyone wishes to make a state change final, they can provide a zero-knowledge proof showing the change is correct. Similarly, if someone wants to challenge an incorrect state change, they can provide a proof of the correct state, the proposal stated.


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Web3-focussed firm O(1) Labs, which incubated the Mina Protocol, proposes creating a new fault-proof solution using Kimchi — a zk-proof system currently used in Mina Protocol — to prove the correct execution of transactions efficiently. These proofs are then used to update the Ethereum network's state via smart contracts. The plan promises improved performance, robust security and compatibility with existing systems while managing complexity and keeping latency low, according to the submission.

The original request for proposal issued on Optimism’s Github in May sought to enhance the protocol's cross-chain communication capabilities by integrating zk-proofs, with a baseline grant for each submission of 250,000 OP tokens ($380,000). The goals were to bolster security, decrease latency and make the platform more affordable and efficient.

The Optimism Foundation is reaching out to O(1) Labs and RISC Zero directly to "kick off the project and discuss expectations in more detail,” Dresser added.

Last month, Optimism changed its name to OP Mainnet, aligning with its “superchain” vision.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

James Hunt is a reporter at The Block, based in the UK. As the writer behind The Daily newsletter, James also keeps you up to speed on the latest crypto news every weekday. Prior to joining The Block in 2022, James spent four years as a freelance writer in the industry, contributing to both publications and crypto project content. James’ coverage spans everything from Bitcoin and Ethereum to Layer 2 scaling solutions, avant-garde DeFi protocols, evolving DAO governance structures, trending NFTs and memecoins, regulatory landscapes, crypto company deals and the immersive metaverse. You can get in touch with James on Twitter or Telegram via @humanjets or email him at [email protected].


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