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Jun 6, 2024
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Exploring Bitcoin L2 w/ ZKM

Exploring Bitcoin L2 w/ ZKM

ZKM is creating a Zero-Knowledge Virtual Machine (zkVM) to improve Optimistic roll-ups and enable secure cross-chain transactions without traditional bridges. In our recent AMA, Ming emphasized the promise of zero-knowledge proofs for Bitcoin Layer 2, despite limitations in Bitcoin's smart contract capabilities.

ZKM's zkVM generates secure proofs of off-chain computations, assuring native asset security across blockchains. ZKM aims to develop zero-knowledge technologies through interoperability and community engagement. Explore the highlights below for a detailed look at ZKM's innovative approach and future prospects.

X Spaces: Exploring Bitcoin L2 with ZKM



  1. ZKM Background and Purpose
  2. ZKM’s Technical Approach
  3. ZKM’s Impact on Interoperability
  4. Challenges in ZKM’s Development
  5. ZKM’s Vision on Zero Knowledge Proofs
  6. Contact and Further Information
  7. Audience Question: ZK End Game for Bitcoin
  8. ZKM Bitcoin Layer 2 Contributions

1. ZKM Background and Purpose

  • Ming Guo, chief scientist and co-founder of Project ZKM, talked about the company and where it came from:

Our origin is actually created straightforward. So we're the people from Metis. So Metis, M-E-T-I-S. is an optimistic roll-up project in the Ethereum. ecosystem. So what we do is we developed a network for optimistic roll-up, which is a scaling solution in Ethereum

  • Starting from Metis, an optimistic roll-up project in the Ethereum ecosystem, ZKM aimed to solve the 7-day waiting period typical of Optimistic roll-ups, by introducing a ZK roll-up solution:

And Optimist roll-up has this problem of you have to wait seven days for a challenge to secure the asset transfer in the network. (...) And Optimist roll-up has this problem of you have to wait seven days for a challenge to secure the asset transfer in the network.

  • ZKM began as a test solution for adding this feature to Optimistic Roll-up at Metis but became an independent project to look into a wider use of the solution:

So ZCamp started as a trial solution for adding this feature to the Optics and Rollup at Metis. But then we see more application with this solution. and it's spent off as an independent project. So that's the origin of ZKM

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2. ZKM’s Technical Approach

  • ZKM is creating a Zero-Knowledge Virtual Machine (zkVM) that can create secure proofs of off-chain computations for different blockchains:

So the idea is to scale it by offload many things to the layer two. So layer two has to kind of execute a smart contract off chain. Then there's a problem. (...) So this is, you have to execute smart contract off chain. So you run a different EVM and this is not the same. And then you need to secure it.

  • zkVM is not an EVM but can confirm EVM-supported smart contract actions are right without being an EVM itself:

zkVM is a different virtual machine. It doesn't really just execute a 3M smart contract like Solidity or, you know, like it's not an EVM, but it can actually move an EVM supported smart contract, execute it correctly, so you do that through, but it's not an EVM.

3. ZKM’s Impact on Interoperability

  • ZKM aims to offer secure cross-chain solutions through their entangled roll-up tech, which can bridge assets between blockchains without relying on traditional bridges:

And as you just said, all these roll-up chains, they're sort of entangled. (...) So two chains are just magically entangled by the entangled roll-up network. And so you can, with this entanglement of information across chain, you can do many things. You can do state transfer, you can do transactions, you can, you know, the application is limitless.

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  • Moved assets through ZKM's entangled roll-up to keep native security, showing the security features of all base chains, and not depend on less secure bridged assets:

And the most striking feature of this is, you know, the ability to do things. technology is that the assets are native assets. They are, they are as secure. as the foundation layer one chain that underneath it.

  • The entangled roll-up way is both new and workable for cross-chain communication, supporting native assets with security equal to the base blockchains:

Basically, bridge assets are so insecure, the suggestion is that you don't use it. But in Entangled Rollup, it is a cross-chain asset network that supports native assets, which has never done before, and as secure as the foundation chain.

4. Challenges in ZKM’s Development

  • Creating zkVM has been hard as it involves creating secure proofs for smart contract actions that need to be checked on main chains including Ethereum and Bitcoin, because of the smart contract capacity limits of Bitcoin:

So this is a challenge. It's very difficult to build one. So we just released our ZK-VM back in February. Just this week, we're actually releasing another version of our zkVM. Another challenge, of course, is on the Bitcoin side. So Bitcoin, since Bitcoin smart contract engine is very limited

  • Getting ZKM's tech to work on Bitcoin is difficult because Bitcoin’s smart contract engine is not fully featured – it doesn’t do actions like multiplying or looping:

It doesn't do like multiplication. It doesn't do loop. So it's not even truly complete. It was very difficult to develop a. and verify engine on Bitcoin network. So this is the challenge facing these solutions.

5. ZKM’s Vision on Zero Knowledge Proof

  • Ming believes ZK proofs are a possible final play for making blockchain tech bigger even on layer two solutions for Bitcoin, though the implementation might be slow because of the cautious nature of Bitcoin core developers:

The end goal is that you can carry out any computation, which is obviously like everyone wants, right? Like, you know, we can do this in two ways. One is ask the core developers of Bitcoin to implement this, right? This is obviously very difficult, right? Because Bitcoin core developers are very conservative for a reason

6. Contact and Further Information

  • Ming can be contacted via Project ZKM's main Twitter account or at his personal handle, @DAC_Economy:

So you can see that I'm from Project ZKM. So this is the main Twitter account of our project. I'm also known as DAC Economy. That is my personal ex-Twitter handle, DAC Economy. So DAC stands for Decentralized Autonomous Community

7. Audience Questions: ZK End Game for Bitcoin

  • Ming suggested that zero-knowledge proofs could be the best scaling solution for Bitcoin, but putting it into use may involve new operation codes or using current operations in creative ways:

And in order to implement this Holy Grail, like a full, overall like redesign of the Bitcoin smart contract engine is desired, but unlikely, or it may take a long time. So many of the developers that wants that actually just beg for one, add one opcode, you know, and I mean, yeah, it is that you have probably heard the petition to add one more opcode, like it's called OP underscore CAT, OP cat. So with this, they could have a big jump of capability

  • Developers interested in Bitcoin scalability want to build zero-knowledge-proof-based layer two solutions or find new ways to use existing smart contract features on Bitcoin:

Another alternative way is that we do this with the, with available to us, but using the the zero knowledge proof scheme that we generate the proof, but we simple, we do it in a more maybe simple by the way to have it verified on Bitcoin using the existing a smart contract engine. It's much harder. But it's believed to be doable because developers, they're desperate, but they're smart.

8. ZKM Bitcoin Layer 2 Contributions

  • Ming explained that ZKM is heading into Bitcoin Layer 2 with a universal settlement network, emphasizing that their unified native assets are as secure as the base blockchain:

So I would just like to say that ZKM is venturing into Bitcoin there too. And we're providing what is called a universal settlement network. And we support unified native assets. So remember, the native assets is much more secure, as secure as the foundational blockchain. So this is, well, I don't want to just shamelessly promote ourselves, but it's quite revolutionary, as we think. So I am really excited to share. more of the space with the Bitcoin community, which actually I came from. My first blockchain project is in the broader Bitcoin space.

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