Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin shared his thoughts on an “under-discussed but still very important” aspect of the ethereum ecosystem in a recent blog post this weekend.
The post is titled “How will Ethereum’s multi-client philosophy impact ZK-EVM?” and focuses on technical challenges, trade-offs, and potential solutions to create a multi-client ecosystem for ZK-EVM.
The multi-client problem of Zk-EVM
Vitalik believes that ZK-EVM will develop into an important part of Ethereum’s layer 1 security and verification process in the future. Zero-knowledge (ZK) technology allows developers to prove the authenticity of a transaction or message without revealing any auxiliary information. Thus, it allows one party to convince the other that information is true without revealing any knowledge other than the value of that information.
However, the privacy-enforcing nature of ZK technology could disrupt the broader EVM landscape, as Ethereum clients will subtly enforce different protocol rules.
Layer 2 protocols in ZK rollups successfully use ZK proofs, which scale Ethereum by pooling multiple transactions into a single proof. However, as ZK-EVM evolves to verify execution on mainnet, “ZK-EVM has effectively become a third type of Ethereum client, as important to network security as real clients.” Exam and current consensus client”.
Considering ZK-EVM as a third type of Ethereum client, Vitalik asks the question:
“How do we actually create a “multi-client” ecosystem for ZK to prove the correctness of Ethereum blocks?”
As the ecosystem expands, Vitalik hopes to maintain the advantages of the “multi-client philosophy”, while leveraging the capabilities of the ZK-EVM to improve the scalability, security, and decentralization of the Ethereum network. .
According to Vitalik, the main technical challenges of using ZK technology for multiple clients are related to latency and data inefficiencies. Additionally, individual Ethereum clients handle ZK proofs differently due to specific interpretations of protocol rules or ZK-EVM implementations.
ZK-EVM . Multi-client solution
Despite these challenges, Vitalik believes that it is possible to create an open multi-client ZK-EVM ecosystem, which will greatly benefit the security and decentralization of Ethereum.
Below is a representation of the various clients used on the execution and consensus layers of the Ethereum ecosystem.
Vitalik believes that having multiple clients increases the security and decentralization of the network by reducing the risk of a single fatal failure in a single deployment, which could lead to a network-wide failure. Additionally, the multi-client concept helps prevent the concentration of power within a development team or organization and promotes decentralization of governance.
Vitalik proposes three possible solutions to this problem, as follows:
- Single ZK-EVM: Abandon the multi-client model and choose a single ZK-EVM to verify blocks.
- Closed multi-client ZK-EVM: endorse and follow the consensus of a specific set of multiple ZK-EVMs, and there is a consensus layer protocol rule that a block requires proofs from more than half of the ZK-EVMs. The EVM in this set is considered valid.
- Open multi-client ZK-EVM: Different client applications have different ZK-EVM implementations, and each client waits for a proof of compatibility with its own implementation before accepting a valid block.
In the context of ZK-EVM, Vitalik supports the idea of an open multi-client ZK-EVM ecosystem. Different client applications have different ZK-EVM implementations, and each application waits for its own proof of compatibility before accepting valid blocks.
“To me, (3) seems ideal, at least until and unless our technology is so advanced that it can be formally proven that all ZK-EVM implementations are equivalent. Together…”
However, once the technology improves to the point where ZK-EVM achieves some standardization, Vitalik believes the solution will be to choose the most efficient option. “Option 3 appears to be less challenging than the other two options, at least for now,” he said.
Vitalik also gave a nod to recent rapid advances in AI, saying that advances in AI could “accelerate” the development of ZK-EVM proof-of-concept implementations.
“In the long run, of course anything is possible. Maybe AI will speed up the formal verification process so that it can easily prove that ZK-EVM implementations are equivalent and identify any errors that cause differences between them.”
ZK coin price rises
Top ZK tokens such as Polygon (MATIC), ImmutableX (IMX), Loopring (LRC) and Zcash (ZEC) have delivered profits to their holders over the past week. As the story of ZK coins heats up, the token prices of important projects in the ecology continue to rise.
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