Ethereum, a decentralized platform powered by blockchain technology has started implementing a series of upgrades called Ethereum 2.0 that includes a transition to proof of stake and aims to increase transactions just got bigger with the new feat it attained via zkSync. zkSync, a protocol responsible for implementing Ethereum scaling platforms accomplished the unexpected yesterday as it announced the test network release of an Ethereum Virtual Machine (a virtual machine that executes smart contracts in a way that is compatible with zero-knowledge-proof computation, which also serves as the key to building an EVM-compatible ZK Rollup while preserving the battle-tested code and knowledge gained after years of working with Solidity).
What Is a Testnet?
A testnet network is an essential tool in the development of cryptocurrencies. Commercially, before launching a product on the market, it is endlessly tested to certify that it works correctly. The same happens with cryptocurrencies and their protocols. Before implementing new changes in the public blockchain of any Cryptocurrency, tests are done to check that everything works correctly. Once a feature has been added to a testnet, it may go on to be introduced on the mainnet. However, in the case of decentralized networks, members of the ecosystem may need to be given the opportunity to vote first.
Testnets are responsible for being able to run updates on the Mainnet without major problems. This is because this process is done first on the Testnet as a mock run. Testnet-like networks use their own cryptocurrency which is a copy of the original chain’s assets. Interaction with them has no reflection on public blockchains of the original cryptocurrencies. They are outside the natural blockchain network by placing themselves on a testnet where all code can be tested without affecting the main blockchain.
The Upgrade: Ethereum’s Hot Balloons in the Air
The Ethereum Virtual Machine is the environment in which all Ethereum wallets and contracts live and is responsible for defining the rules of the chain from block to block. This new test network by Ethereum is the first implementation of a ZK rollup capable of running the full Ethereum environment and will provide great insight into how capable zero-knowledge technology is in the scaling of blockchains. Up until this time, trade-offs tended to favor Arbitrum and Optimism; but this time around, zkSync has the opportunity to level the playing field. Optimistic Rollups are currently able to offer a single, composable environment in which users can use applications ranging from NFT marketplaces like OpenSea to lending protocols like Aave on mainnet.
What zkEVM may be Capable of?
There are quite a number of things zkEVM would be capable of doing, this includes being capable of offering fees similar to other ZK rollups, Ethereum’s scaling issues may be mitigated earlier than expected. Ethereum native applications will be able to manageably port over Solidity-based contracts and offer a full range of products in a cheap fee environment backed by Ethereum’s security. While lower transaction fees are an essential piece of scaling blockchains, it only matters if the chain can play host to applications that drive user demand. zkEVM will theoretically be able to host the industry’s favorite applications without sacrificing liquidity, decentralization or product offering.