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Are Hyperchains The Scaling End Game? | Alex Gluchowski, Anthony Rose

Thu Jun 29 2023

ZK Stack

00:00 - 06:49

  • ZK Stack is an interoperable modular solution for building L2s and L3s based on Ethereum.
  • The ZK Stack provides an out-of-the-box interoperability solution called hyperbridges.
  • Hyperbridges enable seamless and trustless bridging between different hyperchains using shared prover technology.
  • The ZK Stack allows developers to build Ethereum-based roll-ups in a modular stack.
  • Matter Labs has released the ZK stack as the next step of the evolution of the ZK Sync project.
  • ZK Credo is a manifesto that codifies the core values and principles guiding Matter Labs' mission.

Ethical Framework for ZK-powered Networks

06:24 - 14:05

  • The team wants to formalize an ethical framework for ZK-powered networks and is seeking community feedback.
  • The ethical framework will outline the properties of hyperscalable networks that must be implemented to fulfill the mission.
  • The principles in the framework serve as a set of lenses for making technical decisions.
  • ZK Sync's vision is to involve the community and work together towards achieving the mission.

Customization in ZK Stack

13:42 - 21:52

  • The ZK Stack is a modular framework that allows developers to customize different aspects of their chain
  • Developers can choose between a centralized sequencer or decentralize the sequencer using consensus in layer 2
  • Data availability is a crucial component, and the default option is to rely on Ethereum's layer one for data availability
  • ZK Porter offers an alternative where data availability is secured by token holders who stake tokens
  • ZK Portal users can seamlessly interact with ZK Roll-up accounts within a single transaction
  • Developers have the freedom to shape all aspects of the chain, including restrictions and privacy options


21:28 - 29:17

  • Hyperchains are roll-up blockchains with a broad design space, ranging from validity to pure ZK roll-ups.
  • Hyperchains can be L2s settling down to Ethereum or L3s settling down to L2s.
  • Hyperchains allow for private transactions through the use of privacy protocols like ZK stack or other options in development.
  • Hyperchains can be isolated or plugged into a network, sharing liquidity and ensuring synchronous and atomic transactions.
  • The user experience with Hyperchains is seamless, with one transaction instead of multiple steps on centralized exchanges.
  • Hyperchains that want to be part of the network must use a single bridge head on layer one, offering shared approval as an option.
  • Users have full sovereignty over their chains and can generate their own proofs if they don't want to use shared trust assumptions.
  • Protocols will allow users to exit any chain if they don't like what's happening, maintaining the right to exit as a core property.
  • Composability between hyperchains is enabled through opting into a shared prover contract on Ethereum L1.
  • Transactions can be made between any address on any hyperchain in the network, regardless of L2 or L3 status.
  • Transaction latency will be very fast, starting at around 15 minutes and potentially going under one minute due to parallel proof generation.

ZK Sync

36:26 - 43:38

  • The ZK stack is a generalization of the code base developed for era, providing a toolkit for building hyperchains.
  • It includes core components like sequencer, circuits, prover, system contracts, bridging interfaces, and tooling like compiler SDKs and CLIs.
  • Using ZK technology allows for more flexibility and design choices compared to other approaches like optimistic rollups.
  • Certain design decisions need to be made from the start to leverage the superpowers of ZK technology.
  • Changing fundamental aspects of a chain after it has been deployed is difficult and can lead to compatibility issues.
  • Design of the payment interface in ZK Sync allows developers to customize their payment interface to suit their needs at scale.
  • Account abstraction provides a set of tools for development teams to customize their payment interface and improve user experience.
  • Transactions in ZK Sync can be as cheap as simple transfers on the Ethereum network.
  • ZK Sync architecture allows users to have different accounts with varying security guarantees and interchange between them easily.
  • Rollup accounts in ZK Sync offer high security but are more expensive to maintain, while porter accounts provide cheaper transactions but with slightly less secure funds.
  • Most users would likely have a majority of their funds in rollup accounts for higher security and use porter accounts for day-to-day activities with cheaper transaction fees.
  • Rollup and porter accounts can coexist within the same ZK Sync era chain, providing seamless synchronous connectivity between them.
  • Hyperchains are more suitable for application-specific chains or when customization and full control are required, rather than generic chains like ZK Sync era.
  • Decentralizing the sequencer is a non-negotiable aspect of ZK Sync era's design philosophy, and efforts are underway to achieve this decentralization.

Decentralized Sequencer in ZK Stack

43:10 - 50:41

  • The philosophy behind the design of era is to have a decentralized sequencer.
  • The engineering team has been working on the decentralized version of the sequence for months and it will be available on public testnet soon.
  • Decentralizing the sequence is important for achieving reliability metrics and liveness of the chain.
  • The decentralized version of era will be part of the ZK stack, allowing flexibility for different use cases.
  • There are plans to allow community contributions to build modular options into the stack.
  • The decentralized sequencer will involve validator nodes performing ordering and processing transactions.
  • A proof-of-authority network may be used initially on testnet to test the decentralized sequencer.
  • The design for decentralizing both the sequencer and Prover is being worked on, with a focus on running them on consumer hardware.
  • A common standard for proving mechanisms in different ecosystems is still being developed, but trustless bridging between roll-ups is possible with some limitations.

Standardization and Innovation in ZK Stack

50:16 - 57:46

  • Building on a stack that is incompatible with the ZK Sync ecosystem will make migration challenging
  • There is tension between standardization and innovation in the design and implementation of proof systems
  • Standardized proofing within the ZK stack allows for consistent and shared benefits
  • L2s have taken inspiration from Cosmos' app-specific approach to interoperability
  • D Y DX's commitment to Cosmos indicates a need for more control and decentralization
  • The difference between the Zika stack and the cosmos ecosystem lies in how bridges work
  • Hyperbridges enable seamless, trustless interaction between hyperchains
  • The ZK stack allows for the creation of hyperchains as L2 or L3 solutions with varying designs

Future of ZK Stack

57:21 - 1:02:08

  • The design of the Hyperchain can vary, with options like Validium or pure ZK roll up.
  • Hyperjanes have native communication between them due to the shared prover system.
  • Early partners are excited to build their own hyper chains and explore different design choices.
  • Partners want interoperability with the broader ecosystem but also want to keep some state private.
  • Different partners have different reasons for wanting private state and have made different design choices.
  • Progress from four or five key partners building towards their own solutions with the ZK stack is expected in the coming months.
  • Using external DA layers for data availability services does not affect interoperability benefits.
  • Moving funds from one hyper chain to another ensures safety even if the original chain crashes or data availability is compromised.
  • ZK Sync can be followed on Twitter for updates and information about their codebase and team.
  • Feedback on ZK Krito is encouraged, as well as discussion with the community about building solutions for the ZK stack.