Introduction to ZK Stack by Matter-Labs – Building a modular framework for ZK-powered sovereign chains

Introduction to ZK Stack by Matter-Labs - Building a modular framework for sovereign chains powered by zero-knowledge proofs.

Author: zkSync; Compiler: Kate, Marsbit

Today we are excited to share our expanded vision for fulfilling this mission: the ZK Stack, a modular framework for building ZK-powered sovereign chains.

ZK Stack at a Glance

• Free: ZK Stack is developed under the fully permissive MIT/ABlockingche open source license to ensure that it is available for free, and we strongly encourage you to contribute and use it according to your needs.

• Composable: The superchains built with ZK Stack can seamlessly connect in trustless networks with low latency and shared liquidity.

• Modular: Customize and shape every aspect of the superchain, from selecting the sorter and data availability pattern to defining your own token economy.

• Battle-tested: The zkSync Era, the most widely adopted ZK rollup on Ethereum, with substantial TVL and transaction volume, proves this. With such a track record, ZK Stack is a secure choice in terms of security and reliability.

• Future-proof: ZK rollups are the future of Ethereum scaling. Building the right architecture from the start is crucial to fully realizing the potential of ZK superpowers.

What is ZK Stack?

ZK Stack represents our response to the challenges outlined in ZK Credo. Since there is currently no solution that meets all the desired properties, we felt it necessary to create a solution and offer it to the community.

ZK Stack is a free, modular, open-source framework designed to build custom ZK-powered L2 and L3 (called superchains) based on code from zkSync Era.

The core of ZK Stack provides two key features: sovereignty and seamless connectivity. Creators (you) own the code and have unrestricted autonomy to customize and shape every aspect of the chain. The superchains operate independently, relying only on Ethereum L1 to achieve their liveliness and security, while the superbridge network facilitates interconnectivity of each superchain, achieving trustless, fast (within minutes), and cheap (per transaction cost) interoperability.

The zkSync Era leads the way in this highly scalable unified liquidity network, as a pioneer of the superchains.

For the zkSync core team, ZK Stack is also a significant paradigm shift. Up to this point, we have been solely focused on building the most advanced ZK tech as fast as possible, eventually launching and adopting zkSync Era – the first EVM-compatible ZK rollup – in record time. However, as the saying goes, “if you want to go far, go together.” Our current top priority is to help numerous teams understand ZK Stack and contribute to it. As more superchains launch, the number of core contributors will grow, and the community will become the true owner of the zkSync network, enabling it to maintain the spirit and values embodied in ZK Credo.

Who is ZK Stack for?

ZK Stack is not for everyone. If you are building a generic DeFi dApp or NFT project, deploying it on an existing Layer 2 (such as zkSync Era) will be a simpler process, allowing you to sync and compose with other protocols in the ecosystem, enabling features like flash loans.

However, there are two cases where you might prefer to build your own Layer 2 on ZK Stack:

1. When you need to customize your blockchain.

2. When you are satisfied with the asynchronous connection to a wider ecosystem.

Examples (not exhaustive):

• If you are building a game or social network and need a lightweight sorter that is not burdened by other dApps and use cases.

• For those building an exchange application chain that values low-latency sorting (think dYdX).

• Banks or enterprises seeking a closed private chain while remaining interconnected with other parts of the ecosystem.

• If your goal is to build an application network that can interact with each other without the inherent trust assumptions of x-chain bridges and at minimal cost.

• For scenarios where your use case is closely related to tokens and you plan to use it as the system’s base token.

Why choose ZK Stack?

The short answer is: it is future-proof.

You can’t build a zeppelin while simultaneously swapping out the propellers for turbofans.

You can’t lay down a narrow-gauge railroad and then launch bullet trains on it.

You can’t build a natural gas meter and then use it as a high-pressure liquefied natural gas receiving station.

Every fundamental technological shift requires re-designing and adjusting various aspects of the system to fully leverage the potential of that technology. If you don’t master these skills from the beginning, it will be difficult to take advantage of them later. Eventually, you will need to migrate and eliminate all network effects accumulated on old technologies.

ZK technology unlocks unique superpowers that existing non-ZK solutions cannot achieve. Utilizing these superpowers requires the courage to innovate and blaze new trails, which is exactly what we are doing at zkSync Era.

Here are some notable examples:

• Magical User Experience: ZK Stack has the only native account abstraction in the L2 space. Its design benefits from the no-Gas call data in our ZK-supporting architecture.

• Compression: Due to the succinctness of ZK proofs, certain transaction types (such as oracle updates) will be 1000x cheaper on ZK Stack than on other rollup platforms.

• Ultra-low Cost: In addition to the ZK rollup mode (where Hyperchain accounts inherit full Ethereum security), ZK Stack also supports optional scaling, providing extremely affordable zkPorter accounts for appropriate use cases.

We will be starting a series of technical deep dives where we explain the fundamental principles and details of the ZK Stack architecture. To facilitate in-depth and productive discussions, we will be going through the principles in ZK Credo one by one. Today, we will be focusing on ZK Stack’s most prominent value proposition: Hyperscalability.


ZK Stack allows you to build your own sovereign superchain without sacrificing interoperability and composability.

Each superchain integrates seamlessly into our infinitely scalable ecosystem, supported by shared provers and fractal scaling, forming a complete liquidity network. In this ecosystem, users can quickly transfer their assets in a trustless way (within minutes) and incur no additional costs on the superchain via Hyperbridges. Smart contracts will call each other asynchronously across chains. Superchains themselves will have sovereignty, allowing them to join other ecosystems and take their assets with them if they choose to leave.

Getting Started

Over the next few weeks, we will be making modifications to the codebase to make it easier to check out, configure, and deploy instances of ZK Stack. Our ultimate goal is one-click deployment!

If you are a developer interested in participating, we encourage you to reach out and assist us in expediting the process of achieving this goal.

Explore the zkSync Era documentation:

We will continue to update Blocking; if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us!


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