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In this article we take a look at a layer 2 scalability solution called ZK-Rollups. ZK-rollups send transactions using a cryptographic verification method called Zero-Knowledge Proof.
What is Zero-Knowledge Proof?
ZKP means zero-knowledge proof. This is something that is in cryptography and has been in place since the 1980s. Specifically, 1985 in the paper titled “The Knowledge Complexity of Interactive Proof-Systems” by 3 researchers, including Silvio Micali. Yes, the Algorand guy.
ELI5 How it works: you are in a lift. If it is just you and I, and it smells like fart, and I didn’t do it, it means you did it. But if there are 25 people in the lift, you can’t tell who did it. In the same way, ZKP is a type of technology that masks identity. With math.
It's just a form of cryptography that's very important and we use them in different ways. Now zero-knowledge has two applications in the crypto space, one is called ZK-Snarks and one is called ZK-Rollups. These two have some very different functions. The main function of ZK-Snark is privacy. However, ZK-Rollups is for scalability. The ZK-Snarks is usually used in the layer 1 solutions whereas ZK-Rollups is used in layer 2 solutions.
What is Layer 1 vs Layer 2
Layer one is really the base layer and layer two is the scalability layer. Let’s take the analogy of transportation. Layer 1 is a bicycle driving 1 person (you) from A to B. Layer 2 is a bus, that consolidates 20 people and drive everyone from A to B. It is more efficient.
What are ZK Roll-ups?
ZK-rollups send transactions using a cryptographic verification method called Zero-Knowledge Proof. It is a way for different parties to prove to each other that they have specific information without having to disclose the details of what it is. A great advantage of this is that this process can happen almost instantly, and there is virtually no chance for corrupted state submissions.
Let's go back to the example of roads and cars. We have two different time period. State 1 includes all existing transactions and State 2 is the time period where new transactions are being approved.
What Else Did You Miss?
How do we get from State 1 to State 2?
How does that look like in a smart contract application?
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