A brief analysis of the advantages and challenges of the Ethereum Layer 2 solution zkSync

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Despite many problems and challenges, zkSync still has a great advantage over new public chain networks such as Binance Smart Chain.

Original title: “From zkSync to see the problems and challenges of the Ethereum Layer 2 network”
Author: Tan Guopeng, founder of Ownbit

In the past two days, we have been busy accessing zkSync natively on Ownbit wallet, and all technical links have been opened up. From our experience, zkSync has its very good side, but also its shortcomings. Many of the shortcomings are the problems and challenges shared by Layer 2 networks.

Main advantages of zkSync

1. The handling fee is really cheap. It is measured that the current fee for a token transfer on the zkSync network is approximately RMB 1.5, while the current fee for a token transfer on the ETH main network is approximately RMB 75;

2. Support token payment fee. For example, when you transfer USDC token on the zkSync network, you can choose USDC to pay the fee (without ETH), which is friendly to users;

3. The time required to withdraw coins to the ETH mainnet is short. Currently, it is measured that a withdrawal of a currency costs about RMB 150, and it takes approximately 3 hours to reach the account. Because the current total transaction volume is relatively small, according to the design, the more transaction volume, the less time it takes to withdraw coins. It is expected that the withdrawal time to the ETH mainnet will generally be within tens of minutes.

The main problems or challenges of zkSync

1. The security of the zkSync network itself. In order to achieve a faster confirmation speed of this network, Layer 2 networks generally adopt consensus protocols such as PBFT and DPoS. These protocols can support faster block production speeds, but they are usually more centralized.

In the official slogan of zkSync: As safe as the ETH mainnet. There are prerequisites. The premise is that you need to wait for the transfer transaction to enter the verified state to be as secure as the ETH mainnet. This usually requires more than ten minutes to wait. Therefore, relatively speaking, the Layer 2 network itself generally has the problem of being more centralized and relatively insecure.

Call the ETH mainnet contract to perform block verify and enter the Verified state

2. The Layer 2 mapping problem of contract accounts, this is a general problem. What happens if you send the token to an address that only exists on the ETH mainnet in the second layer of the zkSync network?

Will coins be lost? In order to solve this problem, zkSync specially designed the transaction type of changePubKey, allowing you to claim an address. If the address is an external address (EOA), you can sign with the private key and send a changePubKey transaction in the zkSync network to claim the address.

But if the address is a contract address, then there will be a problem. Because there is no corresponding private key for the contract address. At this time, it faces the risk of permanent loss of assets. The solution designed by zkSync is to execute an “onChain” type changePubKey transaction on the contract. This requires the contract address to have the ability to execute arbitrary code, otherwise the assets of Layer 2 will still face loss.

Tip: If the contract provides the following code call interface, it means that any code can be executed (where data is any bytes):

 destination.call.value(value)(data)

3. Token mapping problem. The tokens on the zkSync network and the tokens issued on the ETH mainnet maintain a fixed mapping relationship, and this mapping relationship is managed manually. Currently, decentralized arbitrary token mapping is not supported. If you want to map an unknown mainnet token to the zkSync network, you need to manually submit the token information to the zkSync team. This is also a relatively large limitation.

4. Support the problem of out of sync. Currently, major wallets and exchanges support Layer 2 networks that are not synchronized. It can be expected that in the near future, users will mistakenly send the exchange recharge to a Layer 2 transaction by mistake. If the exchange has not yet supported the Layer 2 network, there will be a situation where the recharge cannot be recognized.

5. The issue of supporting general EVM. Currently, it is still a major challenge for zkSync to support universal EVM so that Dapps on the ETH mainnet can be seamlessly ported. The general EVM is currently in the development process, but it is conceivable that its complexity is still relatively large. The problems introduced by the operating efficiency of the general EVM and the technical complexity of generating Proof are also worthy of our attention.

Concluding remarks

Despite many problems and challenges, zkSync still has huge advantages over other networks (TRX, BSC). Layer2 can meet the needs of users with low transfer fees, while also allowing users to enter and exit the ETH mainnet in a decentralized manner. This is an advantage that other parallel networks do not have. Therefore, the future development of zkSync is still worth looking forward to!

Disclaimer: As a blockchain information platform, the articles published on this site only represent the author’s personal views, and have nothing to do with the position of ChainNews. The information, opinions, etc. in the article are for reference only, and are not intended as or regarded as actual investment advice.

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