Matter Labs, the development team behind zkRollup-based, Layer-2 scaling protocol zkSync, has announced plans for a public testnet launch of a Layer-3 scaling prototype, named “Pathfinder”, in the first quarter of 2023.
Matter Labs defines Pathfinder as a prototype that will demonstrate the use of a zkRollup working as a Layer-3 fractal hyperchain—a customizable and trustless linked blockchain. According to the company, Layer-3 will be the next step that enables infinite scaling and limitless customization for networks.
The project also introduces hyperbridges—a Layer-3 solution which aims to integrate native bridges in place of third parties. The company says that such bridges stand to increase the security of bridging ten-fold and “have the potential to increase trust in crypto for the masses”.
Matter Labs believes that the launch of the public testnet will serve as the foundation for public experimentation, research, and development of Layer-3.
Pathfinder is set to become the first Layer-3 network to be deployed on a public testnet. To facilitate this, the developers intends to first launch the zkEVM network on the Ethereum mainnet, which is scheduled to go live at the end of October.
The First zkEVM on the Ethereum Mainnet
Matter Labs’ announcemet of a Layer-3 prototype comes just 17 days before the launch of zkSync 2.0—the first zkEVM to be deployed on the Ethereum mainnet.
A zkEVM is a zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine, a form of Layer-2 scaling solution that increases throughput without sacrificing network security. The solution achieves this by bundling up hundreds to thousands of transactions, and sending them to Ethereum’s Layer-1 in batches in order to cryptographically verify them, thereby reducing the overall cost of transactions.
Experts consider zkEVM to be the holy grail of Ethereum scaling, with Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin stating that, while optimistic rollups might be effective now, over time zero-knowledge, proof-based scaling solutions will prevail.
Matter Labs has been developing zkSync since 2019, and has backing from a16z, Coinbase Ventures, Binance Ventures, and other high-profile venture funds.
However, Matter Labs is not the only firm racing to release a zkEVM. Following its acquisition of Polygon Hermez last summer, Polygon has announced the testnet release of its own zkEVM, while Scroll, Taiko, and other projects are also working to develop zkEVM solutions.
On the Flipside
- Though zkSync’s zkEVM will be the foundation upon which Pathfinder is built, the solution has not yet been released.
Why You Should Care
Matter Labs is at the forefront of Ethereum scaling. Development scaling solutions such as zkEVM and the newly announced Layer-3 prototype have the potential open the floodgates for the long-sought mainstream adoption of Ethereum.
Read more about the zkSync 2.0 release this month:
Matter Labs To Launch Revolutionary Ethereum (ETH) Scaling Solution zkSync 2.0 This Month
Find out more about Polygon’s zkEVM:
Polygon Launches World’s First Zero Knowledge Scaling Solution in Testnet