Crypto is currently languishing like the internet did in 1996 with slow speeds and few practical use cases, says Steve Newcomb, chief product officer of Matter Labs.
But a major increase in bandwidth and security soon after saw the internet become a crucial part of daily life across the globe — and we’re right on the cusp of that happening for crypto in the next few months.
“Nobody trusted their credit card on it and everybody thought it was a fad and there weren’t any use cases for it,” Newcomb explains.
“And then we had 10x moments in bandwidth and then SSL came, and HTPS where you got that lock — that was a 10x moment in trust. Suddenly in 2005 ecommerce just went through the roof.”
Crypto’s ‘10x’ moment could finally be here, with zkSync’s Ethereum Virtual Machine compatible mainnet launching on October 28. EVM is essentially the operating system for Ethereum and enabling it to work using zero knowledge rollups means everything running on Ethereum can seamlessly port over to experience a huge jump in speed and lower costs.
They’re not the only ones attacking the problem: Polygon launched its testnet for its own zkEVM this week with Aave, Uniswap and Lens all committing to deploy on it. Scroll launched its “Pre Alpha testnet” in July while StarkWare’s zk solution has been ploughing through millions of transactions a month.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin says ZK rollups mean crypto can finally be used for payments again. (Andrew Fenton)
These solutions are all well funded, with Scroll raising $30M, Starkware raising $150M and Polygon raising $450M. Newcomb hints that zkSync’s own funding round is in the same ballpark as Polygon’s, but it’s yet to be officially announced.
StarkWare is way out ahead of the pack, having launched its own ZK rollup solution nine months ago and it turned on recursive scaling in August. But it also made the risky decision to use a custom programming language called Cairo in order to scale more efficiently. This could see adoption by…