The Polygon Ethereum Layer 2 Scaling Protocol (MATIC) is conducting performance tests of zero-knowledge consolidation technology (zk consolidations) prior to full integration with its mainnet.

Development of the technology, called the Polygon zkEVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine), has been ongoing for more than three years by the Polygon Hermez team. The team has already confirmed that zero-knowledge proofs are possible on Ethereum, by generating over 12,000 zk proofs on a major version of the zkEVM testnet.

David Schwartz, Polygon zkEVM and PolygonID project lead, explained the development of the functionality in correspondence with Cointelegraph. Layer 2 platforms have continued to evolve and improve functionality, which has played a key role in driving Ethereum’s scalability.

As he explained, zero-knowledge stacks have increased the speed at which Layer 2 platforms can achieve purpose while ensuring secure validation of transactions with zero-knowledge technology. In blockchain terms, finality is the point at which a block of transactions is considered to have been permanently and irreversibly added to the blockchain:

“Finally, we have zkEVM, like Polygon zkEVM, which offer all of the above plus the equivalency to the Ethereum Virtual Machine with its advanced methods of zk-STARK and zk-SNARK.”

According to Schwartz, Polygon zkEVM includes the first full EVM-equivalent zkProver source code available, passing all Ethereum vector tests by more than 99%. He described completing the validity tests for mainstream user transactions as “the most challenging and rewarding endeavor” since his team began developing their native zkEVM.

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Two years ago, the Polygon team estimated that developing zk rollups with EVM support would take up to ten years. Given the advances made, the team describes zkEVM as the end game, combining advances with Layer 2 scalability and fast finality. This offers a host of benefits to users by adding higher performance and lower fees.

Cointelegraph also questioned the difference between Polygon zkEVM and StarkNet’s proprietary ZK-SNARK and ZK-STARK technology, Ethereum’s Layer 2 scaling network. As previously reported, ZK-STARKS (Zero-Knowledge Scalable Transparent Argument of Knowledge) primarily increases scalability by pooling thousands of transactions with a single test to confirm on-chain validity.

Related: What Ethereum Merge Means for Blockchain Layer 2 Solutions

Schwartz said the main difference between the projects is that zkEVM focuses on natively scaling the Ethereum ecosystem rather than other zk-rollups that only scale transactions and improve performance on a different virtual machine format.

Polygon’s approach aims to comply with the classification of a type 2 zkEVM described by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin in August 2022. According to Buterin’s summary, type 2 zkEVMs are intended to be fully compatible with existing applications, but they make minor modifications to Ethereum to make development easier. and faster test generation. Schwartz added:

“In contrast, StarkNet positions itself as Type 4, introduces a new high-level language, and requires transpilers to translate the robustness code into their language.”

At the same time, Schwartz welcomed the opportunity to have more benchmarks and source code available from other projects to learn from different approaches. Activity on Ethereum Layer 2 solutions continues to grow, with blockchain data showing Arbitrum and Optimism transaction volume dwarfed transactions on the Ethereum mainnet through 2023.

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