Reading time: ~2 m
On March 23, Arbitrum finally distributed its long-awaited ARB token into the hands of its most dedicated users. The hype was so strong that the main website of the project was shut down, as well as the website of Arbiscan – Arbitrum’s equivalent of Etherscan – because eligible wallets could receive their airdrop through any site.
At the same time, two more scaling solutions entered the arena: zkSync and a similar product zkEVM from Polygon.
In the latter, the first transaction was executed by none other than Vitalik Buterin. He wrote a message in the transaction: “Several million limits for a person, unlimited scalability for humanity.”
With so many solutions coming to market, which Tier 2 will cover the lion’s share of users?
All of them are relatively fast and compatible with Ethereum. Matter Labs’ ZkSync is clearly “alpha” and Polygon has called its offering “beta”.
Asked how a layman should understand the difference, Anthony Rose, head of development at zkSync and also a former engineer at Musk’s SpaceX, said that “the systems will look pretty much the same early on, but once you project them six months, four months or five years, they will look very different.”
This is due to the various compromises and design choices each team made.
However, what exactly are they?
All three projects mentioned above are a type of rollup. StarkWare and Optimism also use aggregation technology.
In general terms, they operate as a separate layer on top of the Ethereum network to lighten the load on the main network. Instead of doing work on Ethereum, all the same activities like trading coins or getting loans are done in this layer 2 rollup.
But there are differences in how rollups are created − Rollup. They boil down to either zero-knowledge folding (or “ZK–Rollups”), or to the so-called Optimistic Rollups.
StarkWare, zkSync, and Polygon offerings chose the former, while Arbitrum and Optimism chose the latter.
The two schemes differ in the way in which these compressed layer 2 transactions are validated. Folds using zero-knowledge cryptography must use enormous processing power to compress these aforementioned bits of data into proofs. Optimistic rollups do not do this, preferring instead to assume that every transaction made at level 2 is legal and valid, but providing a seven-day window during which users can challenge that validity.
These differences don’t necessarily show up in any clear winners, but as zkSync’s Rose mentioned, the field will likely look very different in a few years.
For those who are curious, Arbitrum currently dominates the Tier 2 rankings with $6 billion locked up and 66% of the market. It is also the longest-running one, officially launched in August 2021.
However, users are clearly interested in the new zkSync product. L2 Beat shows a surge in new money inflows with a whopping 464% growth.
#Big #Week #Ethereum #Scaling #Technologies