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Zero-Knowledge Rollups

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You should have a good understanding of all the foundational topics and a high-level understanding of Ethereum scaling. Implementing scaling solutions such as rollups is an advanced topic as the technology is less battle-tested and continues to be researched and developed.

Looking for a more beginner-friendly resource? See our introduction to layer 2.

Zero-knowledge rollups

Zero-knowledge rollups (ZK-rollups) bundle (or "roll-up") hundreds of transfers off-chain and generate a cryptographic proof. These proofs can come in the form of SNARKs (succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge) or STARKs (scalable transparent argument of knowledge). SNARKs and STARKs are known as validity proofs and get posted to layer 1.

The ZK-rollup smart contract maintains the state of all transfers on layer 2, and this state can only be updated with a validity proof. This means that ZK-rollups only need the validity proof instead of all transaction data. With a ZK-rollup, validating a block is quicker and cheaper because less data is included.

With a ZK-rollup, there are no delays when moving funds from layer 2 to layer 1 because a validity proof accepted by the ZK-rollup contract has already verified the funds.

Being on layer 2, ZK-rollups can be optimised to reduce transaction size further. For instance, an account is represented by an index rather than an address, which reduces a transaction from 32 bytes to just 4 bytes. Transactions are also written to Ethereum as calldata, reducing gas.

Pros and cons

Faster finality time since the state is instantly verified once the proofs are sent to the main chain.Some don't have EVM support.
Not vulnerable to the economic attacks that Optimistic rollups can be vulnerable to.Validity proofs are intense to compute – not worth it for applications with little on-chain activity.
Secure and decentralized, since the data that is needed to recover the state is stored on the layer 1 chain.An operator can influence transaction ordering.

A visual explanation of ZK-rollups

Watch Finematics explain ZK-rollups:

Use ZK-rollups

Multiple implementations of ZK-rollups exist that you can integrate into your dapps:

ZK-rollups reading

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