Market Analysis

Polygon zkEVM Heads to Ethereum Layer 2


After acquiring the ZK-Rollup-based Hermez Network in August 2021, Polygon is gearing up to relaunch the blockchain as its first Ethereum-compatible Layer 2 chain. 

Key Takeaways

  • Polygon has announced its first fully Ethereum-compatible Layer 2 network, Polygon zkEVM.
  • Polygon zkEVM will use Zero-Knowledge Rollups to offer lower transaction fees than Ethereum mainnet.
  • The Layer 2 network will be compatible with all existing Ethereum applications and emulate the Ethereum Virtual Machine at the op-code level.

Polygon’s new Layer 2 network is set to launch its testnet later this summer ahead of a full mainnet launch in early 2023.

Polygon Reveals EVM-Compatible Layer 2

Polygon has announced a new Ethereum-compatible Layer 2 network.

Revealed on-stage during the fifth Ethereum Community Conference in Paris Wednesday, Polygon zkEVM is the blockchain company’s first fully Ethereum-compatible Layer 2 network. 

Unlike the MATIC blockchain, which functions more like an Ethereum sidechain than a Layer 2 network, Polygon’s new offering will use Zero-Knowledge Rollups to batch transactions and confirm them on Ethereum mainnet, inheriting the security and decentralization of the base chain. As a result, gas fees on Polygon zkEVM will be significantly lower than Ethereum mainnet, and eventually the MATIC blockchain. 

Polygon zkEVM will be compatible with all existing Ethereum applications and emulate the Ethereum Virtual Machine at the op-code level. Developers will be able to launch their projects using Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity, breaking down a key barrier to entry. Additionally, existing Ethereum tooling, such as the MetaMask wallet and development environments like Hardhat, will also be compatible with Polygon zkEVM. 

“Many believed that a zkEVM was years away, or not practical or competitive,’” said Polygon Hermez co-founder Jordi Baylina. While Zero-Knowledge-based scaling solutions have been discussed for some time, they were widely expected to take several years to materialize. However, Polygon and other companies building on Layer 2, such as StarkWare and Matter Labs, have made significant strides in the ZK-Rollup space over the past year as the race to scale Ethereum intensifies. 

Polygon’s new Layer 2 is a continuation of Hermez Network, a ZK-Rollup-based scaling solution the firm acquired for $250 million in August 2021. Following the acquisition, Hermez Network rebranded to Polygon Hermez and continued working on its Layer 2 network under its new stewardship. Now, after rebranding to Polygon zkEVM, the network is gearing up to launch a public testnet later this summer ahead of a full mainnet launch planned for early 2023. 

Disclosure: At the time of writing this piece, the author owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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