Astar Network to launch zkEVM Ethereum Layer 2 powered by Polygon

Quick Take

  • Astar Network is working with Polygon Labs to launch an Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solution, Astar zkEVM.
  • The collaboration aims to boost blockchain adoption in Japan, targeting sectors like entertainment and gaming.

Astar Network, a Layer 1 smart contract platform that supports the Ethereum, Polkadot and Cosmos ecosystems, is working with the Ethereum scaling developer Polygon Labs to launch its Layer 2 solution, Astar zkEVM.

The Japanese blockchain project will use the Polygon CDK (Chain Development Kit) — an open-source codebase for launching zero-knowledge-powered Layer 2 chains for Ethereum — to build Astar zkEVM, according to a statement.

“As it stands today, Asia is one of the most forward-thinking regions in the world when it comes to web3 adoption,” Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal said. “Together, we believe there is a strong demand for transparency for trustless applications that blockchains can bring to Japan.”

“Working closely with Polygon Labs, Astar will also help enable enterprises to kickstart their blockchain initiatives, strengthening Japan’s role as the epicenter of the web3 movement,” Astar Network founder Sota Watanabe added. 

Astar isn't the first third-party zkEVM powered by Polygon, with Polygon Labs recently involved in helping develop individual zkEVM chains for ImmutableIDEX and Palm Network. 

How Astar zkEVM works

Layer 2 blockchains deployed using the CDK can connect to a shared ZK bridge for interoperability, Polygon Labs said when it released the software tool last month.

The zkEVM provides an Ethereum-compatible scalability solution for apps — meaning it will support the same code as Ethereum, allowing developers to use existing tooling and infrastructure for easier integration.

ZK-rollups perform off-chain computations on the Layer 2, enabling faster and cheaper transactions while still maintaining Ethereum's security. Particularly applicable to high-throughput use cases, Astar said it wants to boost blockchain adoption in Japan by attracting global entertainment and gaming projects to enter the market.

Japan's web3 vision

Japan is one of the more crypto-friendly jurisdictions, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida saying web3 has the potential to transform the internet and contribute to social change at the WebX conference in July.

Astar, which is backed by Coinbase Ventures and Binance Labs, sees a role for itself in such an initiative, with national strategic zones established in the country to help strengthen the international competitiveness of projects working on web3 adoption and real-world use cases.

“By driving more enterprise adoption through zkEVM, we would also work together with the Japanese Government to enhance web3 as the national strategy,” Watanabe said.

Astar previously collaborated with the Japanese electronics giant Sony on a web3 incubation program that culminated in June, with 19 projects from more than 200 applications selected to launch on Astar. 

Polygon Labs unveiled its own zkEVM in March, with the technology identified as a major area of focus for scaling the Ethereum network in recent years. Several blockchain projects, including Polygon, Starknet, ZkSync and Scroll, have been competing to develop a functional ZK-based Layer 2 solution capable of natively supporting Ethereum apps.

Updated with other zkEVM chains Polygon Labs has helped develop.

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