ZkSync's Path to Mass Adoption: Optimization & UX

Accessibility is one of the key terms outlined in ZK Principles. It's essential to making the dream of crypto mass adoption a reality, and, consequently, to the success of the blockchain.

So, how does the zkSync team plan to get there?

The answer is: Good Tech + Account Abstraction + Excellent Business Development

On the Path to Mass Adoption

Good Tech

To get retail and TradFi companies, your blockchain has to be at least as good as centralized fintech apps. That's a big challenge when you're aiming for decentralization. Blockchain development teams have to focus on optimizing their systems so they can compete with the likes of VISA, which boasts a throughput of 24,000 TPS.

zkSync is leading optimization efforts, with its upcoming data availability solution, zkPorter, along with the LLVM Compiler and the newly introduced Boojum proof system.

Streamlined Proof System with Boojum

Proofs play a critical role in zkRollups, as they enable Layer 2 (L2) solutions to derive their security from Ethereum. By posting proofs to Ethereum, these solutions can verify transactions without needing to upload all the data to the base chain, which is the whole point of L2s. This also means that a significant portion of transaction fees is due to the need for base-layer verification. Boojum stands out here, achieving both high performance and strong decentralization, even though it’s primarily a STARK system.

To give you a bit more context, there are two main types of proofs in this space: zkSTARKs and zkSNARKs. SNARKs are shorter and thus less expensive, but they come with some security trade-offs. On the other hand, STARKs are lengthier and more detailed, offering enhanced security. Most importantly, STARKs scale better.

Without diving too deep into technical jargon, let's just say the new proof system, Boojum, takes what previous systems did and does it better:

  1. It keeps the formalization efficiency high. In simple terms, it's really good at converting transaction data into mathematical proofs, sticking to PLONK-style formalization, which outperforms other proof systems.

  2. Boojum uses an efficient commitment scheme. This means it uses simpler math to prove transactions, which is a big plus.

  3. Fast witness generation: Witnesses are bits of information used to verify that a statement is true. Now, generating these witnesses is as speedy as creating the proofs themselves – and that's really fast.

  4. Perks for devs such as customization & single-stack approach

All these improvements mean Boojum is not just more efficient, but it also speeds up proof generation. This has a direct, positive impact on transaction throughput and lowers commission fees, and, reportedly, makes this model the highest-performance one.

Source: Celer Network
Source: Celer Network


And all this comes without sacrificing decentralization; in fact, it enhances it. Boojum manages to reduce hardware requirements significantly, needing only 16 GB of RAM.

Account Abstraction

The typical public address, also known as Externally Owned Accounts on EVM networks, isn't exactly the best representation of a user's wallet. Why? Because they can't be controlled by smart contracts, which limits their functionality and makes them seem pretty outdated, especially when compared to what you'd find in a modern fintech banking app.

For the average user aligned with crypto, the routine of managing a private key, confirming transactions, and approving tokens can be cumbersome and not user-friendly for everyday retail use. But it's not all doom and gloom. This is where Account Abstraction (AA) comes into play, offering a much improved & intuitive user experience.

Abstracted UX: The Pathway to Mass Adoption

As mentioned before, current wallet addresses are governed by private keys and lack the flexibility of custom smart contract logic. Account abstraction changes this game by transforming wallet addresses into smart contract accounts, enabling programmable logic.

So, what are the use cases?

  1. Improved private key storage and recovery experiences, such as social recovery.

  2. The option to make gas payments in any token.

  3. The flexibility to change both public and private keys.

  4. Modifications to transactions, including expiry times and other parameters.

  5. Execution of batch transactions.

  6. Allowlisting for added control and security.

  7. Setting up automatic payments.

  8. Implementing flexible security rules.

  9. You can do anything that’s programmable!

zkSync has integrated AA at the protocol level, with significant updates, particularly in the Testnet, to fine-tune its implementation. Now, the ball is in the court of developers to leverage this feature and craft user experiences that work with retail users.

Excellent BD

Once a project goes live, it’s not just about the fundamentals, which are crucial in the long run. Business development also plays a key role in driving adoption and improving metrics. The zkSync team has effectively shown their ability to boost ecosystem growth with a strategic approach.

Driving Adoption with Business Development

The BD department at zkSync has been hard at work bringing users to the blockchain. With $500M in TVL, reached in just half a year, their efforts in incentivizing growth have been nothing short of a success: the key strategy is to bring experienced teams to the blockchain that would create products that people want to use.

zkSync has partnered with Pudgy Penguins, which has committed to developing a Web3 game on their blockchain. Pudgy Penguins is one of the few NFT collections that can boast mass appeal. Resurrected by the community, its brand recognition is now further amplified by the success of the Pudgy Penguins toy collections, with projected sales expected to reach $10M on Amazon and Walmart, both in the US and internationally.

Another rumored blue-chip partnership is with BAYC, a brand that's recognized well beyond crypto. While it may not have the mass appeal of Pudgy Penguins, its strong brand recognition and loyal following make it an ideal collaborator. Securing a partnership with BAYC is a major zkSync team's success.

Lately, zkSync has been focusing a lot on GameFi. It's clear that more partnerships are in the pipeline, which positions zkSync as a frontrunner in Web3 gaming. There’s not much info on other Web3 spheres, but I believe they are looking into them as well, with more high-profile projects coming to the blockchain.

Mass Adoption Ahead

Both AA & the Boojum update are a big deal for the crypto world, as they are making it possible for crypto to become viable for mass adoption. The Boojum update is making things cheaper and faster, and using the blockchain can potentially feel as easy as using regular finance apps. And with AA, we're getting a user experience that just makes sense, even for people who aren't crypto-savvy.

This combo is the best shot at getting crypto into the mainstream, and zkSync is doing a great job at putting it all together.


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