Scroll, Ethereum’s newest Layer 2 Scaling Solution

Announcement of Novel Ethereum Layer 2

Vitalik Buterin, in collaboration with the Ethereum Foundation, has reviewed this article. The battle to scale Ethereum is heating up with a new player.

A team of hackers and researchers announced scroll today, a Layer-2 scaling solution that can be deployed on Ethereum’s mainnet without modification. Scroll users should be able use faster transactions and enjoy the same level security that Ethereum offers.

Citing research breakthroughs such as recursive proofs and advancements in hardware, the team is building its zkEVM in an open-source manner and with the help of the Ethereum Foundation’s Applied ZKP team. The team wrote:

“We are building a zkEVM to trustlessly prove valid execution of smart contract code. Unlike other zkEVMs, it achieves bytecode-level compatibility with Ethereum, meaning all EVM opcodes behave the same as on the base layer.”

Scroll team members believe that zk–Rollups are superior Ethereum scaling technology (e.g. As compared to Layer 2s that are currently most popularly used, optimistic rollups. However, the problem with the other zk-Rollups that are being built, they write, is that they are application-specific, so it is difficult for developers to build decentralized applications within them that are generally composable and easily migratable. In contrast, Scroll’s zkEVM is meant to allow for zero-knowledge proofs that are verifiable on the general Ethereum Virtual Machine, enabling the migration and integration of existing Ethereum applications and infrastructure. An Ethereum block could be verified directly via one concise proof using Scroll’s zkEVM by focusing on “the consistency and integrity of each opcode in EVM execution trace.”

A proof market is being created by the team via a decentralized network that allows zero-knowledge proofs to be generated for anyone who wants to outsource their proofing mechanism. To this end, the team claims to have created the world’s quickest GPU and ASIC prover.

Scroll has already raised $30 Million, partially from members of the Ethereum Foundation. The Scroll team is currently working to release an introductory network for its zkEVM Layer 2 scale solution and for its proving networks. The protocol will also be upgraded to a multilayer, zero-knowledge proof scheme. The first layer is the prover efficient layer and the second the verifier efficient. This will allow for privacy features, according to the team.

Ethereum’s co-founder and most prominent voice, Vitalik Buterin, has noted its shortcomings in regard to mass adoption as a Layer 1, largely due to its gas fees, and he put forward EIP-4488 last November to address gas fees even on existing Layer 2 scaling solutions.

At least in the short- and medium-term, Layer 2s will be the mainstay of Ethereum scaling solutions. However, Ethereum’s merge to proof-of-stake, which many hoped would come in June but is no longer expected within that timeframe, is set to pave the way for sharding, which would divide Ethereum’s blockchain into multiple concurrent threads.

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