July 17, 2023

zkSync Era Unveils Boojum

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zkSync, the pioneering Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum, has recently taken a major step towards enhancing its scalability and performance. Developed by Matter Labs, zkSync Era has introduced Boojum, a new STARK-powered proof system that promises to revolutionize off-chain transaction processing. 

By leveraging the power of consumer-grade GPU hardware, Boojum offers superior performance and scalability, setting the stage for a more inclusive and accessible network.

The Need for Scalability in Layer 2 Solutions

As the popularity of Ethereum continues to grow, the blockchain faces challenges in handling an increasing number of transactions. Layer 2 scaling solutions were introduced to address this issue by moving some of the computational work off the main blockchain. 

zkSync Era, one such solution, utilizes a proof system or prover to create proofs of computation for off-chain transactions. This significantly reduces the burden on the main blockchain, allowing it to process more transactions per second (TPS).

Boojum: A Game-Changing STARK-powered Proof System

Until now, zkSync Era relied on SNARKs, a type of zero-knowledge proof, to power its prover and enable faster transaction processing. While SNARKs offered a commendable 100 TPS, Matter Labs recognized the potential to achieve even greater throughput.

The team's efforts culminated in the development of Boojum, a proof system based on STARKs, which promises to outperform its predecessor significantly. STARKs (Scalable Transparent Arguments of Knowledge) have gained attention in the blockchain space for their impressive scalability and transparency. Boojum takes advantage of these features, unlocking the potential for several times more throughput compared to SNARKs.

Faster Transaction Proofs and Increased Accessibility

One of Boojum's standout features is its capability to run on consumer-grade GPUs, requiring only 16 GB of GPU RAM. This breakthrough allows regular hardware users to actively participate in the network, promoting accessibility and inclusivity. By reducing the hardware requirements, zkSync Era can access cheaper machines for increased horizontal scalability, making it a cost-effective and sustainable solution for a wider user base.

Anthony Rose, SVP of technology at Matter Labs, emphasizes that the increased performance from Boojum translates to faster transaction proofs. With Boojum, zkSync Era can handle transactions more efficiently, further alleviating the load on the Ethereum main blockchain.

Testing and Experimental Phase

The Boojum upgrade is currently live on the zkSync Era mainnet but in an experimental phase. During this phase, the system is generating and verifying 'shadow proofs' using real production data. This rigorous testing process allows Matter Labs to fine-tune Boojum, identify potential issues, and mitigate risks before a full migration to the upgraded system.

With Boojum, zkSync Era has unlocked a new era of scalability and performance for Ethereum Layer 2 solutions. As the team continues to refine Boojum during the experimental phase, the blockchain community eagerly anticipates a future where Ethereum transactions can be processed at unprecedented speeds while ensuring the network's sustainable growth and development.