Polygon Labs and NEAR Foundation Collaborate to Build a zkWasm L2 Prover as a Component for Polygon CDK

November 8, 2023
Image source: Dribbble

Polygon Labs and NEAR Foundation are collaborating on the development of a zero-knowledge (ZK) prover for Wasm blockchains. A zkWasm prover will bridge the gap between Wasm-based chains and the Ethereum ecosystem, including a growing multichain of Polygon CDK chains.   

With this strategic alliance, NEAR Foundation also joins Polygon Labs as a core contributor to Polygon CDK (Chain Development Kit). A zkWasm prover will add additional customizability for developers building with Polygon CDK, a collection of open source software components that make it easy to design and launch ZK-powered L2s on Ethereum. 

“We are proud to collaborate with NEAR on this exciting research initiative to further drive the development and adoption of ZK technology,” said Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Polygon. “The zkWasm prover maximizes developer customizability, which means projects will be able to select from a number of provers when building with Polygon CDK, whether that’s launching or migrating an EVM chain, or building a Wasm chain for closer Ethereum alignment and access to liquidity.” 

Wasm (WebAssembly) is a popular framework for running complex programs in a browser that offers comparable performance to native computer apps and helps power popular applications. In Web3, the Wasm Virtual Machine serves as a runtime in blockchains such as Near and Polkadot and is different from the Ethereum Virtual Machine.

The zkWasm prover will be a new runtime to generate zero-knowledge proofs that prove the native Wasm runtime execution is correct, which will result in better scalability and increased decentralization. This innovation can bring NEAR Protocol closer to Ethereum, enabling Wasm chains to tap Ethereum liquidity. At the same time, the  zkWasm prover gives developers who build with Polygon CDK another choice to the current prover available to launch a Polygon CDK chain. 

Through an in-development interop layer, chains will have the option, in the future, to join a unified ecosystem of L2 Polygon CDK-deployed chains, spanning alternative layer-1s, EVM layer-2s, and Wasm chains. 

“We are very excited to work with Polygon Labs to bring all the benefits of zero-knowledge proofs not just to NEAR but all of Web3,” said Illia Polosukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol. “NEAR is integrating more with Ethereum by innovating in new research frontiers, and the shared expertise of these two teams will bring a much-needed expansion of the ZK landscape and defragmentation of liquidity across chains. And by creating and using the zkWasm prover, NEAR will also improve the scalability and decentralization of the NEAR L1.”

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