Ethereum Scaling Tool Polygon Launches its zkEVM Public Testnet

The company continues to be targeting the mainnet going live sometime in early 2023.

AccessTimeIconOct 10, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 28, 2022 at 10:10 p.m. UTC

Polygon said Monday its zero knowledge-EVM public testnet went live, which the company described as “the next step for Ethereum.”

Polygon is a scaling tool aiming to facilitate lower-cost transactions, and uses the Ethereum blockchain as its base protocol. With the introduction of zero-knowledge (ZK) rollup technology, Polygon is hoping to become the chief scalable system for Ethereum.

At ETHCC in Paris in July, the company said it would be launching its zkEVM public testnet over the summer, and was aiming for a mainnet launch in early 2023. So today’s announcement was at least somewhat delayed.

Polygon’s latest technology will deploy the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) for its ZK rollup, meaning that developers won’t have to use new programming languages and can move over their smart contracts from Ethereum without any hiccups.

Rollups are systems aimed at addressing scalability issues of blockchains, with the goal of making transactions faster and cheaper. Zero-knowledge (ZK) rollups process transactions in bundles and use “proofs.” These proofs are bite-size pieces of encoded data that confirm that the transaction is “true” and has not been altered.

ZK rollup development was long considered to be far away, but with Polygon’s announcement – as well as news from Matter Labs and Scroll that they are building their own zkEVM projects – the emergence of this technology appears well on its way.

“It was widely believed that zkEVM will take several more years to ship, which makes this an even more groundbreaking milestone, not only for Polygon but for the whole Web3 industry,” said Polygon co-founder Mihailo Bjelic in a statement to CoinDesk.

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is the software that runs smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. By integrating ZK-rollups with EVM (zkEVM), developers will not have to learn new programming languages, and can move their smart contracts over from Ethereum easily.

With the public testnet going live, some of the biggest decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, including Aave and Uniswap, as well as Web3 social platform Lens, will be among the first protocols to make use of the zkEVM testnet.

“We are moving towards giving our users the full benefits of a working zkEVM — scalability without compromise” said Polygon co-founder David Schwartz.


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Margaux Nijkerk

Margaux Nijkerk reports on the Ethereum protocol and L2s. A graduate of Johns Hopkins and Emory universities, she has a masters in International Affairs & Economics. She holds a small amount of ETH and other altcoins.