Ethereum’s scalability has been a topic of discussion for years, and solutions to this challenge have been eagerly anticipated. Polygon , a prominent player in the Ethereum ecosystem, has recently unveiled a set of tools that could revolutionize how developers interact with Ethereum’s Layer 2 (L2).
Polygon’s Chain Development Kit (CDK) is an open-source codebase that allows developers to craft their own customizable layer 2 chains using Polygon’s zero-knowledge (ZK) technology. These chains are designed to interconnect through a ZK-powered bridge, ensuring interoperability between each chain. The overarching vision is to create what Polygon terms the “Value Layer,” a unified platform where value transactions are as seamless as data transfers on the internet.
Jordi Baylina, the technical lead for Polygon Hermez zkEVM, highlighted the motivation behind these tools. Baylina stated that developers should have the ability to effortlessly and seamlessly initiate ZK-supported second layers on Ethereum and tailor them to the specific needs of their projects. A significant feature of the Polygon CDK is its capability to automatically tap into the liquidity of all Polygon chains and the broader Ethereum ecosystem. This ensures scalability on demand without fragmenting liquidity.
The Ethereum community has witnessed the rise of several layer 2 solutions, such as Matter Labs’ zkSync and Starkware’s Starknet, which have introduced their ZK-powered toolkits for developers. These toolkits empower developers to construct their chains. Polygon’s move is in line with this trend, offering tools that not only scale Ethereum but also integrate zero-knowledge cryptography as a fundamental component of its technological roadmap.
Polygon’s commitment to innovation doesn’t stop there. The company has also introduced a toolkit for developers to create application-specific chains, termed “Supernets.” However, the emphasis is now on the CDK, given its utilization of ZK proofs. The company believes that all existing Supernets can transition to the advanced ZK technology of Polygon.
The broader Ethereum community has been actively exploring the potential of zkEVMs (zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machines). These are virtual machines that can execute the same programming languages or bytecode as the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and validate this code using zero-knowledge proofs. These cryptographic proofs verify data without revealing any specifics about the data itself. Over the past year, several Ethereum scaling projects, including zkSync, Polygon, and Scroll, have announced significant developments in their zkEVM implementations. These have been launched in early alpha stages and function as independent Layer-2 blockchains.