ZK Stack: Custom ZK Hyperchains, Explained

ZK Stack: Custom ZK Hyperchains, Explained

ZK Stack: Custom ZK Hyperchains, Explained

ZK Stack: Custom ZK Hyperchains, Explained

ZK Stack: Custom ZK Hyperchains, Explained

Read Time: 5 minutes

ZkSync Era, an Ethereum zk-rollup, is surging ahead, locking an impressive $650 million in total value since its launch in March this year.

But what if we told you they are about to embark on an even more groundbreaking journey? Enter the ZK Stack, a framework built on the foundation of the zkSync Era, which comes with a promising potential that enables developers to build interconnected blockchain networks using zero-knowledge proofs.

In essence, ZK Stack opens new avenues where scalability knows no bounds and customization meets security. 

You might be wondering: How does the ZK Stack differ from other scaling solutions like Optimism’s OP Stack? While both share a vision of enhancing Ethereum’s scalability, the ZK Stack differs in its tech aspect.

What’s all the fuss about ZK Stack? That’s exactly what we’re here to unravel in this blog. Let’s quickly embark on our journey to explore the world of ZK Stack. 

Rewinding A bit: What are Zero-Knowledge (ZK) proofs

Zero-knowledge proofs, abbreviated as ZK-proofs, are a cryptographic technique that allows one person (prover) to convince another person (verifier) that a certain statement is true without revealing sensitive details about the claim. Imagine it as a way to prove you know a secret without actually revealing the secret itself.

Now, why is this important? ZK-proofs help enhance transaction privacy, scalability and anonymity. They are especially critical when there is a need to strike a balance between privacy and transparency, like in electronic voting systems or while performing confidential transactions and so on. 

ZK Stack by Matter Labs Team

Matter Labs, the parent company of zkSync, works towards its mission of revolutionizing blockchain tech, leveraging the benefits of ZK technology. In alignment with that, its core priorities are centred around cost-effectiveness, hyper scalability, security and user experience, which is reflected in its newest introduction – ZK Stack. 

Before delving into the details of ZK Stack, let’s address Ethereum’s scalability issues to understand better the goal of ZK Stack in powering the Ethereum network.

Existing challenges to Ethereum’s scalability

  • Ethereum, one of the most prominent blockchain networks, has a limited capacity of 12 transactions per second. So, it often grapples with network congestion, causing delays and surging fees. This bottleneck restricts its ability to handle the ever-growing transaction volume. 
  • Secondly, the existing bridge solutions, which aim to connect different blockchains, are still looking for a perfect solution, with several protocols encountering security breaches.

Here comes the ZK Stack…

The ZK Stack, leveraging the foundational codebase of zkSync Era, brings forth an advanced solution for boosting scalability. It focuses on user-friendly zk-rollup technology, finely tuned to meet Ethereum’s scaling needs. 

In other words, the ZK Stack is like a toolkit purpose-built for creating Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks within the Ethereum blockchain. It harnesses the incredible potential of zero-knowledge (ZK) technology, allowing developers to create their own Hyperchains, tailoring them to their specific needs and preferences. 

In the next section, we’ll delve deeper into Hyperchains and hyperbridges, so stick around for more insights!

Heightening scalability with Hyperchains and Hyperbridges

ZK Stack possesses two pivotal features that underscore its technical excellence: sovereignty and seamless connectivity, which can be well perceived with our understanding of Hyperchains and Hyberbridges. 

Hyperchains: Hyperchains are modular blockchain layers within the Ethereum ecosystem, constructed using the ZK Stack framework. They serve as either Layer 2 (L2) or Layer 3 (L3) blockchains, providing developers with a platform for building customized blockchain solutions. 

Hyperchains operate independently and rely on Ethereum Layer 1 (L1) for security and liveness. They offer developers full autonomy and the ability to tailor their blockchain projects to their specific requirements while seamlessly interacting with other Hyperchains through Hyperbridges.

Hyperbridges: They are specialized data transport systems in the Ethereum ecosystem that enable the secure exchange of information and real tokens between different Hyperchains. They validate transaction proofs, ensure authenticity, and lock original assets in shared contracts on Ethereum’s Layer 1 (L1), providing liquidity and interoperability across Hyperchains. 

This network of Hyperbridges seamlessly facilitates the interconnection of every Hyperchain, delivering trustless, fast, and cost-effective interoperability.

Below is an illustration of the same. Orange lines are Hyperbridges connecting the Hyperchains.

Image Source: Matter Labs

Wondering about the ZK Stack’s specifications? Let’s break down the key characteristics of the ZK Stack below.

Characteristics of ZK Stack

  • ZK Stack is an open-source solution released under permissive MIT/Apache licenses, and it’s freely available for anyone to use without any associated costs. 
  • Hyperchains, built using the ZK Stack, possess the remarkable ability to seamlessly interconnect within a trustless network. 
  • The modular design of ZK Stack gives developers the freedom to tailor every aspect of their Hyperchain to meet their specific needs, like choosing the sequencer, defining data availability modes, and even shaping their unique tokenomics.
  • It draws its strength from zkSync Era, a widely adopted ZK roll-up solution on the Ethereum network with a proven track record of substantial transaction volume and Total Value Locked (TVL). 
  • The ZK Stack is engineered to harness the full potential of zero-knowledge (ZK) technology, ensuring its relevance in the ever-changing blockchain ecosystem.


Advantage in Hyperchain building

Streamlined connectivity: ZK Stack facilitates wallet management across blockchains through Hyperchains and Hyperbridges. Users can maintain interconnected wallets, viewing all assets in one place. Relayers manage asset transfers, conversions, and creation across blockchains, enhancing user convenience.

Hyperchain messaging: ZK Stack’s interoperability enables proof aggregation from multiple Hyperchains into a single settlement on Layer 1 (L1). This streamlines messaging between Hyperchains, ensuring faster and more cost-effective atomic transactions.

Sovereignty: Every Hyperchain enjoys full sovereignty within the ecosystem, allowing L3s and higher layers to operate independently. Hyperchains can freely enter or exit the ecosystem, adding or removing assets without permission, although exit decisions impact interoperability with other Hyperchains.

Hyperchain Sovereignty
Image Source: Matter Labs

Modular: It offers customizable Data Availability, transaction sequencing, and zkPorter technology, enhancing scalability. Thereby, it improves transaction speed, serves as an ultra-low-cost option and empowers developers to customize Hyperchains to their specific requirements.

Improved UX: Native account abstraction in the current L2 environment enhances user experience through gas-less calldata.

In a nutshell,

With the introduction of ZK Stack, the power of zero-knowledge (ZK) technology is harnessed to its fullest extent, promising an era of seamless connectivity, sovereign Hyperchains, and remarkable scalability of the Ethereum network.

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