The Ethereum network has been steadily working on its scaling solutions for the past few months, and one of the most exciting developments has been the launch of zero-knowledge EVMs (zkEVMs). These advanced solutions make use of zero-knowledge proof technology to provide greater transaction throughput than is achievable using other layer 2 technologies. With throughput rates of approximately 2000 tps, zkEVMs represent the next era of scalability for Ethereum.
By significantly reducing the amount of data that needs to be stored on the Ethereum mainnet – which holds proof of the transactions contained in the rollup – zkEVMs have a greater throughput than optimistic rollups. Additionally, they offer lower transaction costs, faster finality, and proof of the underlying computation taking place.
Since their inception, a lot of activities have been taking place in the zkEVM space, with more established layer 2 networks such as Polygon, Arbitrum, and Optimism offering compatible alternatives. However, there are variations in the ease of switching over to these different technologies, with each network requiring specific compilers and infrastructure to work with.
Despite the uptake of zkEVMs, established layer 2s still account for most of the total value locked (TVL) on these networks, with zkEVMs being in the low hundreds or tens of millions in terms of TVL. Nevertheless, teams looking to launch new applications on public networks will find zkEVMs very attractive if they can comfortably handle 2000 tps.
However, until clear winners emerge from the current crop of zkEVMs, teams will need to keep in mind that they may need to be willing to migrate down the line. The lack of standardization in layer 2 networks means that there are currently multiple teams building their own layer 2 technology stacks, leading to a proliferation of open walled gardens.
In conclusion, the scaling alliances taking place within Ethereum are exciting, but teams looking to pick an L2 to double down on should take some time to do so. As the landscape is likely to look quite different in 12-18 months from now versus where we are right now, it’s important not to go all-in on one layer 2 if you don’t have to.