Why Is Everyone So Excited About Zero-Knowledge Rollups?

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There is tremendous excitement regarding zero-knowledge rollups. The layer-2 blockchain solution can perform off-chain computations and storage while keeping funds in a smart contract. Moreover, this technology may become Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible soon, which is interesting. 

The Purpose Of Zero-Knowledge Rollups

Scalability has always been a pressing issue in the blockchain world. Even today, there is still much room for future improvements, although zk rollups paint an exciting future. More specifically, zero-knowledge rollups aim to provide a Layer-2 scalability solution. That solution serves one purpose: performing computations and storage off-chain, reducing the load on the primary chain.

In essence, a blockchain can validate transactions faster while reducing transaction costs. It is a big step forward for compatible ecosystems, as transaction fees are often problematic when dealing with smart contracts. Combining on-chain and off-chain processes is interesting and is compatible with most blockchains, assuming the zk rollups are developed as such. Many developers focus on porting this technology to Ethereum and Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible networks, as those benefit the most from zero-knowledge rollups. 

Under the hood, a zero-knowledge rollup proves beneficial due to its speedy transaction validation. That is possible through Merkle Trees, a structure ensuring no fake data exists in on-chain records of zero-knowledge rollups. A traditional zk-rollup will have two Merkle Trees stored in a smart contract. One Tree is used to store accounts, whereas the other stores the balances. All other data is stored off-chain to reduce the load on the contract and the chain it resides on.

The off-chain data storage is what excites most people. Merkle Trees prune any non-essential data and are accessed less frequently compared to a Layer-1 blockchain. Moreover, they use less overall capacity, saving processing power and time for the main chain. In addition, it decreases gas costs due to needing less capacity. It is an excellent solution for small-scale activities, although it can apply to more complex processes too. 

A Bright Future For Dapps, NFTs, DeFi, etc.

The introduction of zero-knowledge rollups paves the way for more complex developments. The industry is home to blockchain games, DeFi, NFTs, and various decentralized applications. However, these are all held back a bit by networks that cannot provide proper scaling. As zk rollups roll out further, that situation may improve for the better. It is now up to developers to port this technology to major blockchains like Ethereum and other EVM-compatible consorts.

That may happen sooner than some people might expect, though. A version of zkEVM, released by zkSync, was released in February 2022. Today, three implementations are bound to hit the network over the coming months. Assuming they prove EVM-compatible without issues, these Layer-2 solutions might quickly make their way to other networks. 

It will not take developers much effort to bring their existing or new ideas to zero-knowledge rollups. Assuming they are truly EVM-compatible, existing DEXes, DeFi solutions, and even blockchain games would benefit greatly from the improved scaling and transaction fees. These rollups mark the next generation of blockchain technology and development. Time will tell if further improvements can be made and whether this approach compromises security in any way. 

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