The development team behind Ethereum scaling solution zkSync, Matter Labs, has just raised a fresh $200 million.
Blockchain Capital and Dragonfly co-led the Series C round and was joined by Variant, a16z, and LightSpeed Venture Partners. Investment giants a16z also contributed funding to the project back in November, leading Matter Labs’ Series B.
zkSync is one of many different technical approaches to scaling the Ethereum mainnet.
As the “zk” indicates, the technology uses zero-knowledge proofs to reduce the data footprint on Ethereum while maintaining security and network decentralization. It also uses roll-ups, which batch and bundle transactions off of the mainnet to improve efficiency.
Importantly, zkSync’s roll-ups are EVM-compatible, meaning they work with any blockchain using an Ethereum Virtual Machine. Examples of other EVM-compatible networks include Avalanche, Solana, Polygon, and Binance Smart Chain.
Besides its ability to port to these various networks, it also means that developers who have already built products on Ethereum can quickly turn to zkSync for their scaling needs.
The team also announced that it would be open-sourcing all of its code, too, as per the MIT Open Source Initiative.
“Anything other than full open-source, is censorship of code, censorship of ideas, and censorship of innovation,” the chief product officer at Matter Labs Steve Newcomb told Decrypt. “We are going to MIT Open Source every last bit of all the important aspects in our mainnet, so that we protect all three of those freedoms.”
In terms of adoption, many projects within the DeFi space have already signaled their intent to integrate zkSync.
“We have 150 launch partners,” Newcomb said. “We can include in that launch partner list Chainlink, SushiSwap, Uniswap, Maker, 1inch, Gnosis, and Wintermute. I can keep going, it’s basically everybody.”
Aave, the popular lending and borrowing platform, has already voted to deploy on zkSync’s testnet earlier this November. Likewise, MakerDAO, Uniswap, and SushiSwap voted to do the same in February.
According to Matter Labs' roadmap, the project is currently in the first phase of its three-phase mainnet rollout. This means that the network is still technically closed while it continues to run tests, but the team expects a full rollout to users by the end of this year or early 2023.
In the second phase of the mainnet rollout, dubbed “Fair Launch Alpha,” the 150 projects that have signaled interest in porting over to zkSync will be able to do so to continue stress testing the network.
And as for a token, something competitors like Optimism have already launched, Newcomb said that “patience is our strategy with the token.”
“We are not in a hurry to do the token,” he told Decrypt. “There’s a trilemma that exists in decentralization: the trilemma of decentralizing your organization, decentralizing your technology, and decentralizing your economy. The token is only one part of this. And we want to make sure we handle that trilemma really, really well.”