By Aleks Larsen, Ryan Sproule, and Yuan Han Li
ZK-rollups are generally considered the endgame scaling solution for Ethereum. In short, they allow you to execute an arbitrarily large amount of computation off-chain while guaranteeing its validity in a succinct, cryptographic proof that is published on and verified by Ethereum. This is a long-awaited silver bullet, as it makes it possible to scale Ethereum without compromising on decentralization or security. However, an efficient, EVM compatible ZK-rollup was thought to be years away until fairly recently.
Today, we’re thrilled to announce that Blockchain Capital co-led a $200M Series C financing for Matter Labs, the creator of zkSync — the world’s first EVM compatible ZK-rollup — which recently kicked off its mainnet rollout. The Matter Labs team is one of the strongest we’ve met in all of our years in crypto and is uniquely suited to the challenge of scaling Ethereum. The founders are experienced operators and research pioneers: Alex Gluchowski previously co-founded three companies and has been CTO at four, and Aleksandr Vlasov is a visionary researcher with a PhD in Electrical Engineering. Together they’ve built a wildly impressive team with deep experience ranging from leading engineering teams at SpaceX to helping create and sitting on the boards of some of the largest open source projects in the world, including JQuery and NodeJS.
After years of intense R&D and a number of technical breakthroughs, Matter Labs has built an elegant and practical zkEVM that allows existing Ethereum applications to deploy with minimal to no changes while still being able to efficiently generate proofs. It supports Solidity and common Ethereum developer tools and introduces new features like native account abstraction, enabling safer wallet designs and better UX patterns that can help make crypto applications mainstream accessible. It’s also built with an LLVM compiler that will eventually allow it to tap into programming libraries written in popular languages including Rust and C++, massively expanding the tools available to smart contract developers while retaining full composability between applications.
Notably, zkSync will allow developers to build high-performance, custom layer 3 chains that can choose to inherit as much of Ethereum’s security as they desire, providing powerful options for applications that want their own blockchains. Over time, this will form a network of ZK-rollups that can communicate with each other through native bridges secured by zero knowledge proofs, setting the gold standard for how to connect blockchains. This is a highly beneficial architecture with significant advantages in interoperability, scalability and flexibility. As more chains adopt the zkSync prover, we suspect the network will have increasing gravitational pull driven by both Ethereum’s and zkSync’s own network effect.
zkSync thus solves the current problems of existing applications while introducing new tools and setting an exciting foundation that can evolve to meet the future needs of blockchain developers. In a world where the ground is constantly shifting underneath blockchain developers, a secure and future proof solution is welcomed. This is evidenced by more than 150 Ethereum projects who have indicated their intent to deploy on zkSync (the largest of any layer 2 at launch), a group which includes industry leaders like Chainlink, Uniswap, Sushiswap, Aave, Argent, 1inch, Gnosis, Curve, and many others.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Matter Labs team is driven by a mission to accelerate the mass adoption of crypto for personal sovereignty — a mission that we deeply align with at Blockchain Capital. Their commitment to that mission has guided their plan to decentralize their technology and their decision to make it available through an MIT Open Source license that gives developers full freedom to view the code, modify the code, and fork the code. At the end of the day, values are the driving force that shape the future of crypto, and we couldn’t be more excited to back a team that so deeply embodies the values of crypto.