Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin detailed in his personal blog the different types of ZK-EVM (the no-knowledge verification technology for the Ethereum virtual machine used to power smart contracts) and their features. The developer says that the main difference between the different ZK projects is the balance they strike between practicality and speed.
In addition to their peculiarities, all ZKs share a goalButerin says. This is to “use ZK-SNARK technology to perform cryptographic checks for transaction executions on Ethereum,” either on the main chain itself or in the second layers, through zero-knowledge pools (ZK). This is a kind of scalability solution that collects transactions and then makes them all together in the original layer.
Next, we will list the different types of ZK projects that were distinguished by the Russian-Canadian developer. In addition, the main pros and cons of each of them will be included.
ZK type 1
The first type of ZK-EVM that Vitalik Buterin is referring to is the “completely equivalent” type with Ethereum. This “does not change any part of the system” to make it easier.
Its main advantage is compatibilityProjects of this nature are necessary to “make Ethereum more scalable.” According to the Russian-Canadian expert, the ZK Type 1 is ideal for assembly, as it allows them to use a large amount of infrastructure.
As for the disadvantages of these ZK projects, The most important is the time and resource demand for checking transactions. This, he explains, is because they intend to completely replicate the Ethereum network, and therefore there is no way to “mitigate these shortcomings.”
ZK type 2
The second type of ZK is the “full equivalent of the Ethereum EVM.” This is it, Although it is not fully compatible with Ethereum, it is compatible with smart contracts created on this network..
They differ from the main network layer in the structure of blocks, among other technical data. Basically, they are making small tweaks to Ethereum So apps can confirm transactions more easily.
The weakness that Buterin discovered in the ZKs is that It does not eliminate the slowness of confirming operations in EVMAs well as his “incompetence and hostility.”
There is a “medium” ZK class (or 2.5, as Vitalik Buterin calls it) It is also equivalent to EVM, excluding gas costs). He explains that these have the advantage of improving confirmation times, but that they reduce compatibility and can “disable some applications”.
ZK 3 . type
The third type of ZK that the Etheric Leader describes is one that is “partially equivalent to EVM”. ZKs make “some sacrifices” to improve test times and development capabilities.
The downside of these ZK projects, of which Polygon is one of the foundations, is that Less app compatibility. This happens due to the use of many resources (such as pre-assemblies) that type 3 removes from ZK.
In the end, Buterin emphasizes that no ZK-EVM development team intends to create a Type 3 project, but rather transitional stage so that they can complete their step towards type 2.5. However, in the future, many Type 1 and 2 ZKs could “voluntarily” become Type 3 to improve their operations in terms of delays and costs, he explains.
ZK 4 . type
This last category includes That ZK is the equivalent of Ethereum in its high-level language. These ZKs “take smart contract source code written in a high-level language, such as Solidity or Vyper, and pass it into a language explicitly designed to be ZK-SNARK compatible.”
The positive result of this process is that Very fast test times are achieved. This efficiency is achieved by skipping some ZK checking steps from different execution steps in the EVM and starting directly with “high level code”. Buterin says this is a big step towards cost reduction and decentralization.
Meanwhile, its disadvantages relate to the incompatibility of some applications due to differences in their smart contracts, greater difficulty using certain binary codes in the EVM and fewer options in terms of “debugging” or error correction. In short, compatibility is greatly reduced.
ZK . future
To finish his article, Buterin confirms it There is no ZK better or worse than other types. He explains that they are different, and it’s all about the balance mentioned earlier.
Similarly, it is possible for a ZK project to start with low numbers (more compatible but less efficient) and eventually become high (more efficient but less compatible). “Personally, I hope everyone can be a type one one day, through a combination of improvements to ZK-EVMs and to Ethereum itself,” concludes the developer, explaining that “it will take time to get to that future.”