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Zero-knowledge proofs have been hailed as a major advancement in blockchain technology, but the effectiveness of these protocols will require optimized data availability solutions to unlock their full potential.
Anurag Arjun, co-founder of the Polygon data accessibility protocol and the Avail blockchain, highlighted the importance of data availability for ZK rollups in an interview with Cointelegraph.
ZK Rollups is a layer 2 blockchain scaling solution for blockchain networks that allows you to batch transactions and send them to a layer 1 blockchain with cryptographic proof. ZK proofs aim to provide faster and more efficient transaction processing while maintaining the security of the blockchain system.
As Ethereum continues its roadmap after moving to Proof-of-Stake after the merge, data availability will be an important factor in the growing reliance on convolution scaling protocols for batch processing and transaction verification.
Arjun, who has led Avail’s growth since the platform’s spinoff from Polygon Labs, said that future base-layer blockchain protocols will need to optimize data availability for evidence, verification, and calculation rather than execution.
“If execution scales with tiers 2 or rollups, the base layer doesn’t have to worry about execution. Now they need to optimize what they are used for, which is data availability.”
In transition, blockchain technology is moving from a “monolithic blockchain architecture” to more modular settings such as Avail, which provides the infrastructure for ZK rollups and other off-grid scaling solutions.
Related: Holy Grail Polygon Scaling Ethereum, zkEVM Beta Hits Mainnet
Arjun said that ZK evidence is underestimated given that it has removed the need for the economic assumptions of cryptocurrencies in blockchain systems:
“It changes the whole landscape, you no longer need those very heavy execution engines or validator trigger systems because you have ZKs that provide absolute proof of execution guarantee. The only thing you need is data availability.”
The importance of data availability for ZK proofs is related to the nature of the technology, which essentially provides proof of a transaction or network state without exposing the data itself.
“That’s why it’s called proof of validity, it doesn’t give any indication of what the data is like.”
Providing a protocol that handles data availability also solves the running costs associated with, for example, sending ZK rolls and optimistic rolls to the Ethereum blockchain.
As Arjun explained, rollups face two major costs when sending transaction data and confirmation data, with up to 70 percent of today’s costs being spent on storing transaction data on Ethereum. The cost of sending transaction data and the cost of verifying confirmation can be significantly reduced by using a base layer data availability protocol.
Arjun added that evidence and data go hand in hand, despite ZK providing verifiable mathematical proofs or “absolute proof of execution guarantee” on-chain without exposing the data or data that needs to be verified.