Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin believes that ZK-EVMs will become crucial to Ethereum’s layer-1 security and verification process in the future.
In his latest blog post, Vitalik shares how he thinks the way in which Ethereum maintains its security and decentralization is its multi-client philosophy.
Buterin noted that the privacy-enforcing characteristics of ZK technology could disrupt the broader EVM ecosystem. By combining several transactions into one proof, Layer 2 protocols in ZK rollups have scaled Ethereum and successfully utilized ZK proofs.
ZK-EVMs, however, de facto become a third sort of Ethereum client, just as crucial to the network’s security as execution clients and consensus clients are now, as they develop to verify execution on Mainnet.
Vitalik aims to preserve the advantages of the “multi-client philosophy” while simultaneously making use of ZK-EVMs to increase the Ethereum network’s scalability, security, and decentralization as the ecosystem grows.
The Ethereum co-founder stated that if users use ZK-EVMs to verify layer 1, they could use a Single ZK-EVM, Closed multi ZK-EVM, or Open multi ZK-EVM.
According to Buterin, the main technical issues of deploying ZK technology with many clients are related to latency and data inefficiency.
Additionally, because different ZK-EVM implementations or protocol rules are interpreted differently by different Ethereum clients, zero-knowledge proofs are handled differently by each client, says Buterin.
The Ethereum co-founder says that the latency challenge could be addressed by being careful when designing the single-slot finality protocol and the data efficiency issue would have to be addressed by having a separate protocol for aggregating verification-related data.
“Clients will likely start experimenting with ZK-EVMs to prove Ethereum block execution on their own, especially once we have stateless clients and there’s no technical need to directly re-execute every block to maintain the state,” Buterin added.
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