What is zksync & its top products?

June 16, 2023

A short guide to understanding zksync and its ecosystem.

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zkSync is a Layer 2 scaling solution, designed by Matter Labs, to address the scalability and high gas fees associated with the Ethereum blockchain.

It is faster and cheaper than the Ethereum network while maintaining its security and decentralization. By leveraging zero-knowledge proofs and zkRollups, zkSync significantly enhances throughput, reduces transaction costs, and provides near-instant transaction confirmations.

What is a Zero-Knowledge (ZK) Rollup?

A ZK Rollup makes use of zero-knowledge proofs (ZK-SNARK & ZK-STARK) to verify transactions without revealing the private details.

This allows for enhanced privacy and security, as information such as token amounts participating in the transaction remain undisclosed. Furthermore, because only the compressed transaction data is stored on-chain, it results in lower gas fees when compared to traditional layer two solutions. Additionally, due to the cryptographic proof, assured data integrity can be maintained - guaranteeing records are accurate and reducing chances of double spending.

Because of this potential combination of advantages one may find great utility from ZK rollup in DeFi applications requiring a large amount of throughput and space efficiency while still offering high security standards.

What is zkSync?

zkSync is a Layer 2 scaling solution to address the scalability and high gas on Ethereum.

There will be two different versions of zkSync Layer 2: zkSync Lite and zkSync Era.

zkSync Lite

A functional ZK rollup and currently ranks as the seventh-largest Layer 2 scaling solution in Ethereum. Although it's not the final solution for zkSync, it will continue to operate.

However, its future popularity is uncertain, especially with the upcoming release of zkSync Era, which will provide more advanced smart contract capabilities.

zkSync Era

An exciting development that brings an Ethereum-like user experience to developers and users.

What sets it apart are its instant transaction confirmations and remarkably low transaction fees.

Unlike traditional ZK rollups that are limited to basic transactions like transfers, swaps, and mints, zkSync Era is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), enabling more advanced and flexible smart contract capabilities.

How does zkSync's solution work?

ZkSync’s L2 protocol is based on the ZK Rollup architecture, which stands for Zero-Knowledge Rollup. This layer 2 solution operates outside of the main Ethereum network, referred to as layer 1.

It works by bundling hundreds of transactions off-chain and then generates a cryptographic proof known as a SNARK (succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge).

This proof is then posted back onto the layer 1 chain so that all users and miners can verify it against the original transaction data. The security of this process relies on both the availability and validity of data.

The benefits from using zkSync are twofold:

1. Since they aren't operating on the main layer 1 chain, they don't need full miners paying to process each transaction, meaning fees are much lower than traditional Ethereum transactions.

2. Additionally, due to their commitment to data reliability and availability, zkSync claims that their system can handle around 2000 times more transactions per second than Ethereum's current speeds.

This could drastically reduce wait times for payments and transfers on their platform compared to if it operated directly on the Ethereum main chain.

Main features of zkSync

  • Extremely low transaction fees
  • ~1/100th of mainnet costs for ERC20 tokens and ~1/30th for ETH transfers
  • Trustless protocol
  • Funds are cryptographically secure, as in the Ethereum mainnet
  • Users are always in control of their funds

What's the Difference Between zkSync Era and zkSync Lite?

1. Functionality:

  • zkSync Lite: While not the ultimate solution for the zkSync ecosystem, zkSync Lite is a fully functional ZK rollup. It supports basic transactions like transfers, swaps, and mints, providing scalability and reduced fees compared to the Ethereum mainnet.
  • zkSync Era: On the other hand, zkSync Era is designed as a zkEVM (zkSync Ethereum Virtual Machine), offering an Ethereum-like user experience for developers and users. It goes beyond basic transactions and enables more advanced and arbitrary smart contract capabilities, similar to what is possible on the Ethereum network.

2. Transaction Confirmations:

  • zkSync Lite: With zkSync Lite, transaction confirmations may take some time, although they are still significantly faster compared to the Ethereum mainnet.
  • zkSync Era: zkSync Era introduces instant transaction confirmations, allowing users to experience near-instantaneous transaction finality. This feature enhances the user experience and enables seamless interaction with decentralized applications.

3. Transaction Fees:

  • zkSync Lite: zkSync Lite reduces transaction fees compared to the Ethereum mainnet but does not offer extremely-low transaction fees.
  • zkSync Era: One of the major additional benefits of zkSync Era is the provision of extremely-low transaction fees. Users can enjoy cost-effective transactions, making it attractive for various use cases.

4. Smart Contract Capabilities:

  • zkSync Lite: zkSync Lite focuses on basic transaction types and does not support complex smart contract execution.
  • zkSync Era: The compatibility of zkSync Era with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) enables it to facilitate more advanced and arbitrary smart contract capabilities. Developers can build and deploy sophisticated smart contracts within the zkSync Era ecosystem.

Does zkSync have a Token?

zkSync doesn't have a native token yet, but its roadmap confirms plans for the introduction of a token. As zkSync aims to decentralize its operations, a token is expected to play a crucial role in achieving this goal within the crypto community.

Top DApps on zkSync


Curve is an exchange liquidity pool on Ethereum. Curve is designed for extremely efficient stablecoin trading and low risk, supplemental fee income for liquidity providers, without an opportunity cost.


A decentralised order book exchange powered by zk rollups. Highly-efficient order book model allows our users to receive the best possible price quotes for their assets. 0% maker fee, 0.05% taker fee.

Yearn Finance

Yearn is a decentralized suite of products helping individuals, DAOs, and other protocols earn yield on their digital assets.

Orbiter Finance

Orbiter Finance is a decentralized cross-rollup Layer 2 bridge, already supports zkSync and arbitrum.


Velocore is a groundbreaking solution, synthesizing top-tier DEX methodologies into a novel, high-performance flywheel. Protocols can incentivize veVC holders or procure veVC to strategically reallocate emissions towards their liquidity pools, thereby delivering a supple and capital-efficient mechanism to expedite and augment liquidity.

Onchain Trade

OT is a new DeFi protocol allows single token liquidity pools (instead of pool pairs). This is made possible by grouping deposited tokens into a virtual pair with the native OSD stablecoin. Single token liquidity pools are more capital-efficient, resulting in a more optimized experience for all participants including traders, liquidity providers and 3rd party projects.

Space-fi Star

SpaceFi is a cross-chain web3 platform on Evmos and zkSync, with DEX+NFT+Starter+Spacebase as initial product. Its ultimate vision is to connect Cosmos and Ethereum Layer2 ecosystem, exploring assets cross-chain and interoperability solutions.


SyncSwap is a seamless decentralized exchange (DEX) on the zkSync Era.

Powered by zero-knowledge technology, SyncSwap brings more people easy-to-use and low-cost DeFi with complete Ethereum security.


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