Polygon Labs and NEAR Foundation Partner to Develop zkWasm Prover, Bridging Ethereum and Wasm Blockchains

Polygon Labs and the NEAR Foundation have joined forces to collaborate on the development of a zero-knowledge (ZK) prover specifically designed for Wasm (WebAssembly) blockchains. This partnership aims to create a zkWasm prover that will serve as a vital bridge between Wasm-based chains and the Ethereum ecosystem, including the growing multichain network of Polygon CDK chains.

Polygon Labs, a prominent player in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, has announced its collaboration with the NEAR Foundation, a leading blockchain project, in an effort to boost the development and adoption of zero-knowledge technology. This strategic alliance also marks the NEAR Foundation’s entry as a core contributor to Polygon CDK (Chain Development Kit), a set of open-source software components designed to simplify the process of designing and launching ZK-powered Layer 2 (L2) solutions on the Ethereum network.

Sandeep Nailwal, the co-founder of Polygon, expressed his enthusiasm about this partnership, stating, “We are proud to collaborate with NEAR on this exciting research initiative to further drive the development and adoption of ZK technology. 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.”

The importance of WebAssembly (Wasm) cannot be overstated in the blockchain and Web3 landscape. Wasm is a powerful framework that enables the execution of complex programs in a browser, offering performance comparable to native computer applications. It plays a crucial role in powering popular decentralized applications and Web3 platforms. While Ethereum relies on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), several other blockchains, including NEAR and Polkadot, employ the Wasm Virtual Machine as their runtime.

The zkWasm prover, currently in development, will introduce a new runtime designed to generate zero-knowledge proofs that validate the native Wasm runtime’s correctness. This innovation promises to significantly enhance scalability and decentralization in blockchain ecosystems. By allowing native Wasm chains to leverage zero-knowledge proofs, NEAR Protocol aims to bring these chains closer to the Ethereum network, providing easier access to Ethereum’s liquidity. Furthermore, developers using Polygon CDK will have an additional choice of prover when launching a Polygon CDK chain, increasing flexibility and customizability.

One of the key benefits of this partnership is the establishment of an interop layer that will enable chains to become part of a unified ecosystem of Layer 2 Polygon CDK-deployed chains. This ecosystem will encompass a wide range of blockchain platforms, spanning alternative layer-1s, EVM layer-2s, and Wasm chains, allowing seamless interoperability and data sharing between them.

Illia Polosukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol, expressed his excitement about the collaboration, saying, “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. 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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