December 8, 2022

Zero Knowlege (zK) Rolloups and FTM

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The Fantom Foundation has been steadily deploying programs to ensure quality dapps and talents in the network. For instance, it has plans to allocate a portion of their revenues for their affiliate rewards program. However, retaining and attracting quality is not their sole focus. It also prioritizes the scalability of the network, especially as the demand for it grows in time.

Blockchains are meant to process transactions in a decentralized manner. This means that computation and storage are very important metrics in determining whether a user would have a wonderful experience in exploring the network. Infinite storage has been solved by the technology of torrent infrastructure or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. On the other hand, infinite computation is yet to be solved - this is what the Fantom Virtual Machine wants to achieve with the help of zero-knowledge (zk) rollups.

One of the reasons why the FVM is being built is to avoid bottlenecks in the blockchain. By scaling its base layer in the form of zk rollups, Andre envisions reaching the highest possible consensus throughput of Fantom.

What is Zero Knowledge (zK)?

Zero-knowledge roll-ups are a type of scaling solutions that assist the base layer or the Layer 1. It processes transactions in batches off-chain - relieving the blockchain from extreme computational baggage. The zk-rollup operator then submits a report of the changes needed to be implemented into the blockchain instead of processing each transaction individually. Here is an oversimplified visualization between what updating the blockchain state with and without the zk rollups would look like.

Output State without rollups = Original State before Transaction + Changes from Proof per Transaction

Output State with zk rollups = Original State before Batch Processing + Changes from Proof per Batch

Risks and countermeasures

Decentralization implies keeping data and operations on-chain as much as possible, as it is secured by virtually immutable and permanent blockchain technology. To compensate for speed and scalability, zk rollups would operate around 50% of its mechanism off-chain. Does this mean that security is compromised?

This is where validity proofs or fraud proofs come in. These are mechanisms and cryptographic assurances that prove that the data transferred from off-chain to on-chain and vice versa are intact.

Another countermeasure is the reason why zk rollups are called zk rollups in the first place. Zero-knowledge means that the validator only receives the roll-up but does not have access to the data stored in it. This allows the verifier to prove that the data is complete and sound without having any idea as to what is contained in the rollup.

ZK opens the doors for a decentralized realm with infinite storage alongside infinite computational power - as Andre Cronje coined, the true blue skies goal.