How will the Polygon zkEVM mainnet beta launch change the Polygon ecosystem?

7 min readMar 30


Polygon zkEVM is not used to replace POS sidechain; Polygon zkEVM uses ETH to pay GAS fees and MATIC will be used for governance in Polygon ecosystem.

Author: Sill, ChainCatcher

Source: Polygon

On March 27, Polygon zkEVM mainnet beta version was officially launched, on which Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ether, has completed his first transaction.

However, the MATIC token price does not rise as expected, having dropped 5% in 24 hours, now quoted at $1.04. Of course, this is partly due to the whole market. Perhaps the situation will be better off when the mainnet is officially launched.

Compared to the FUD on Coinbase, the market gives less attention to the beta launch of zkEVM mainnet. Still, the release of Polygon zkEVM mainnet reflects the great breakthrough of ZK Rollup scaling solution in EVM compatibility.

The Polygon zkEVM mainnet can work seamlessly with most existing Ethereum smart contracts, development tools and wallets, enabling Ethereum developers to migrate applications to it with a one click; users can also experience its on-chain ecosystem by using “zkEVM-testnet RP” node through Ethereum wallets.

According to the Polygon zkEVM browser, in less than 24 hours since the mainnet beta went live, 7,821 transactions have been completed, 598 transactions have been submitted, and 7,873 blocks have been generated.

How does Polygon zkEVM work?

Polygon zkEVM is an Layer2 zkEVM scaling solution for Ethereum based on ZK Rollup technology, which is a scaling solution that uses “zero-knowledge proof” verification to implement Rollups.

Specifically, under the ZK Rollup scaling solution, Layer2 executes transactions, completes complex calculations, and compresses and packages multiple transaction data in batch, to create a “zero-knowledge proof” result of the off-chain calculations and submit it to the mainnet (Layer1) for proof verification. The verifier on the mainnet can quickly check whether this proof is correct and store the data partly on the mainnet to share the security of the mainnet.

The zero-knowledge data verification distinguishes ZK Rollup from Optimistic Rollup. Optimistic Rollup uses a “fraud proof” that requires a dispute period, so L2 to L1 transfers require a waiting period; while the ZK rollup uses a zero-knowledge proof algorithm that checks the validity of the data instantly and makes instant transfers.

However, because the zero-knowledge algorithm used in ZK Rollup is complicated, it is not compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which makes it hard to deploy applications on Ethereum since developers have to learn how to deploy them and the underlying code language applicable to such a scheme. This is why people have been saying “Optimistic Rollup is for short term, while ZK Rollup long term”.

To solve compatibility problem with EVM, some of ZK Rollup scaling solutions have redesigned their underlying programming language, while others have developed special compilers to achieve compatibility.

In addition to Polygon zkEVM, there are already several projects in the marketplace working on and deploying zkEVM-related products, competing to launch the “first” full-featured zkEVM. For example, on March 24, zkSync Era mainnet as zkEVM solution was officially launched, open to all users; In February, Scroll zkEVM announced that its Alpha test net went live on Goerli; StarkNet is also building an EVM-compatible compiler and will soon release its mainnet.

So what is the difference between Polygon zkEVM and these zkEVM projects?

Polygon zkEVM is fully equivalent to EVM, enabling developers to migrate EVM-compatible on-chain applications to it without any code change as well as seamlessly collaborate with each other on zkEVM chain using all Ethereum tools.

What does “fully EVM equivalent” mean?

ZK Rollups that are truly EVM equivalent can provide developers with the same experience as developing on Ethereum. They support developers to use all the same tools and frameworks they use when on Ethereum without the fear of L1 contracts breaking when deployed on L2 chains. This is critical for developers because it means much less overhead when migrating from L1 to L2. And users can also benefit from the EVM equivalent chain, getting access to wallets and tools they are familiar with on Ethereum.

In August last year, Vitalik, the founder of Ethereum published a paper called 《The different types of ZK-EVMs》 on his blog, dividing zkEVM compatibility into four categories: fully Ethereum equivalent, fully EVM equivalent, almost EVM equivalent, and high level language equivalent.

On February 15, Polygon officially posted that Polygon zkEVM has passed 100% of the Ethereum test vectors that apply to a zkEVM, which means developers do not need to modify or rewrite any code, and all Ethereum tools can work seamlessly with Polygon zkEVM, being full equivalence to EVM.

How will Polygon zkEVM change the Polygon ecosystem?

In addition to the product and technical innovations worthy of attention, most ordinary users care more about how Polygon zkEVM mainnet Beta launch will impact on the original Polygon PoS sidechain and Polygon ecology token MATIC.

According to DefiLlama data, the value of crypto assets locked up on the Polygon PoS chain (TVL) was $1.064 billion as of March 28, ranking fourth among all public chains. with 360,000 addresses active on it in 24 hours. However, the TVL has dropped 8% in the last 30 days.

MATIC price and the on-chain TVL data seem to reflect a falling flat of Polygon zkEVM launch.

In addition, some people questioned, “Will Polygon zkEVM replace Polygon POS when it comes out?”

Polygon’s official answer to this is “NO”, stating that zkEVM is not intended to replace POS sidechains.

Polygon co-founder Mihailo Bjelic has also stated in an interview that “the launched Polygon zkEVM will be a separate block network as a sidechain, and the Polygon POS chain will continue to operate as a sidechain. There will be two networks operating in parallel within the Polygon ecosystem with different value propositions, i.e. functionality and trade-offs. Developers can choose between them based on their preferences on security, scalability, and transaction fees. But POS sidechain is not as secure as ZK Rollup because ZK Rollup stores its transaction data on Ethereum, inheriting the same security from it; the POS sidechain stores its data by itself, instead of depending on Ethereum.

Also, Mihailo Bjelic adds that there are some ZK-based enhancements planned for the Polygon POS chain, and the scaling solution blockchain stakingcan drive its ecosystem. Exploration on how to integrate ZK technology into the Polygon POS chain can improve the security of the POS chain. However, he also said that if Polygon POS becomes ZK-compatible, it will use proofs the same way in ZK Rollups to prevent transactions fraud. It will still not store data on Ethereum, but on its own network or on a separate network under it.

If Polygon zkEVM is a separate block network, will it issue tokens?

PolygonzkEVM states in its official introduction document that the native token ETH is used to pay for GAS fees on zkEVM chain. MATIC can be used for on-chain staking and governance. Regarding whether to issue a new token, Polygon co-creator Sandeep Nailwal tweeted early on that “MATIC will be the staking token of all Polygon chains, for Gas fees ETH is going to be default on all public chains.

From this perspective, MATIC serves Polygon ecology as a governance token, mainly used for the secure operation and maintenance of the Polygon zkEVM network and other chains, such as users staking MATIC on the Polygon POS side chain to become operating nodes; staking MATIC on zkEVM to obtain the right to sort the submitted transaction data. ETH is only used to pay GAS fees on chain.

What are the Polygon zkEVM on-chain applications in the eco-system?

Given zkRollup’s high security, low GAS fees, real-time verification of transaction data and instant transfers, the Polygon zkEVM chain is better suited for building DeFi, NFT, Gamefi, enterprise, and payments apps.

Currently, there have been a number of official announcements on Polygon zkEVM. On March 24, Web3 game developer zkMeta announced to use zkEVM to build a GameFi specific zkRollup network on the Polygon network; on March 20, game public chain Immutable announced to build a zkEVM blockchain game with Polygon; on March 28, Layer2 cross-rollup bridge Orbiter Finance announced that Polygon zkEVM network, has been integrated to it, allowing users to transfer assets across chains between Polygon zkEVM and other supported networks.

In addition to the partnership program, Polygon zkEVM chain also has native cross-chain bridges, DEX and other products.

Official cross-chain bridge zkEVM Bridge supports users to transfer assets between L1 and zkEVM (L2). Currently, users are only supported to transfer ETH between zkEVM testnet and Ethereum Goerli Testnet.

Decentralized trading platform Clober is a native order book DEX on zkEVM chain that enables order matching and trade settlement on chain.

Lending application 0VIX is over-collateralized lending platform that supports zkEVM users to deposit or collateralize lending assets.

In addition, Polygon has officially released a commemorative NFT “To Ethereum, with Love” to mark the launch of the zkEVM mainnet beta.




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