Gate.io Market Watch: Will zkSync Become the Next Trending L2 Protocol?

Gate.io
4 min readApr 7, 2023

The development of applications built around Ethereum is outpacing the development of Ethereum itself. As the use cases continue to expand and more users adopt crypto, Ethereum developers are working to roll out major upgrades to improve transaction cost, scalability, and the throughput of the world’s most popular smart-contract blockchain.

However, these developments take time. The stakes are high, and it cannot be rushed. In the meantime, several layer 2 (L2) scaling solutions built on top of Ethereum have filled the void, offering lower cost and faster transactions while still utilizing the security of layer 1 (L1) Ethereum.

Exploring zkSync

Take Matter Labs’ zkSync as an example. It’s one of the leading L2 scaling solutions on Ethereum, providing cheaper and quicker transactions by shifting the majority of the network activity off L1. zkSync achieves this while retaining the security and finality offered by Ethereum.

Gate Learn, the free blockchain education platform of Gate.io, has an in-depth article about zkSync, covering how it works, transaction finality, and more. But without diving into too much detail, here’s a quick rundown.

zkSync derives its name from the underlying technology it’s founded on: zero-knowledge rollups (ZK-rollups). Zero-knowledge refers to the ability of ZK-rollups to prove that transactions are legitimate without revealing information within. ZK-Rollups implement zero-knowledge tech that executes thousands of transactions off-chain, which are then later submitted to the main blockchain (in this case, Ethereum) for verification.

This is how zkSync can process so many transactions at once while retaining the ability to scale and leverage Ethereum’s security. Moreover, these are the core advantages of zkSync that have attracted hundreds of decentralized applications to its ecosystem.

zkSync Era, a new era in zkEVM’s

One of the challenges ZK-rollup-based solutions face is Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility, which means that smart contracts designed for Ethereum are compatible. As a result, a race opened up to produce the first publicly launched zkEVM. Just recently, the team behind zkSync launched zkSync Era, a zkEVM chain, while the original non-EVM chain is now referred to as zkSync Lite.

zkSync native token airdrop

The recent launch of zkSync Era brought speculation that zkSync may launch and airdrop a native token to users. This comes after Arbitrum recently launched its ARB token, airdropping billions of dollars worth of tokens to users that met specific activity criteria on its blockchain. However, as reported by CoinDesk, Matter Labs CEO Alex Gluchowski recently reaffirmed the team’s long-held plan that a token airdrop won’t come until the zkSync network is fully decentralized and said that “there are no plans to launch a token for now.”

Despite the stance of Matter Labs, users are still preparing in advance for if or when Matter Labs eventually airdrops a native token. Speculating based on the criteria from the Arbitrum airdrop, some users are preparing by minting NFTs, generating activity in Dapps, bridging ETH between the mainnet and zkSync, and more, all in hopes that these actions may provide a ticket to a potential future airdrop.

According to Matter Labs, a token launch is still “far on the horizon.” That said, users should beware of fake zkSync airdrop scams that are popping up across social media.

The future of zkSync

Zksync has long remained one of the top layer 2 scaling solutions on Ethereum, holding a significant portion of the market share. Its ecosystem has grown to include decentralized applications that cover just about every niche DeFi and Web3-ready areas. Whether or not zkSync launches a token, the chain could likely continue growing, especially with its first-mover advantage in zkEVMs.

If and when an airdrop occurs in the future, zkSync may likely follow the path of Arbitrum’s ARB token and Optimism’s OP token, which were airdropped about one year apart from each other. For comparison, these tokens skyrocketed into the top 100 crypto assets in relatively short periods, with market caps measured in the billions.

Understanding which L2 will come out on top

While this article only scratches the surface of zero-knowledge scaling solutions, if you want to know more about what differentiates ZK-Rollups (zkSync) from optimistic rollups (Optimism, Arbitrum), Gate Learn is a great place to start. While one can only speculate if zkSync will outshine Optimsim or Arbitrum in the future, understanding their underlying technologies is vital to be prepared.

Gate Learn features a wide array of free blockchain courses and articles, covering everything from layer 2 scaling solutions, Web3, and DeFi to the fundamentals of blockchain, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and everything in between. Readers are exposed to a mix of basic, intermediate, and advanced content to help them navigate the blockchain and crypto world.

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