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zkSync (abbreviated as ZKS, with the token $ZKS) is a Layer 2 protocol built on Ethereum that utilizes zero-knowledge proofs. Similar to Starkware, zkSync employs ZK Roll-up technology. You can find an explanation of ZK Rollup in the “Starkware Airdrop Guide.” Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, believes that ZK Rollup is the future of Ethereum. Its purpose is to help Ethereum scale and address the issue of high transaction fees caused by network congestion.
A key difference between zkSync and Starkware is the verification protocol they use. zkSync relies on SNARK (Succinct Non-Interactive ARgument of Knowledge), while Starkware utilizes STARK (Scalable Transparent ARguments of Knowledge). SNARK involves computing and verifying data, while STARK directly verifies data on the chain after offline verification. Each protocol has its own advantages.
Another significant distinction is that Starkware has developed its own programming environment due to the zero-knowledge proof verification, resulting in a higher learning curve for developers compared to zkSync.
zkSync Lite is the first version of zkSync, which achieves a speed of 300 transactions per second (TPS). It is not compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and does not support smart contracts. The first version of zkSync Lite primarily helps alleviate the burden on Ethereum.
The second version of zkSync, known as zkSync Era, follows Starkware’s approach and supports Solidity (through zkEVM) and Zinc (the internal programming language of the rollup), enabling support for arbitrary smart contract functionality. The second version achieves a faster speed of 20,000 TPS.
For users, the greatest benefit is the use of zkSync Era, which significantly reduces gas fees. Even during peak periods, gas fees will not exceed $2 USD.
Matter Labs is the company behind zkSync, founded by CEO Alex G. in 2018. The team includes:
zkSync has gone through five rounds of funding, raising $258 million (excluding the $200 million commitment from BitDAO), compared to Starkware’s $273 million in funding. Therefore, zkSync and Starkware dominate 70% of the Layer 2 market share, making them the two leading projects in the Layer 2 space. Starkware has a valuation of $8 billion, while zkSync, with an earlier funding round, has a valuation of over $2 billion, which should be comparable to Starkware’s latest valuation.
If you missed the ARB airdrop, the airdrop for the two leading Layer 2 projects is expected to be even more impressive. Currently, ARB is priced at $1.18 USD, so the price of ZK tokens will be higher. Additionally, zkSync has explicitly stated that they will distribute tokens, with 30% of the tokens going to the community. Therefore, there is a high probability of a ZK airdrop, and users are advised to pay attention to this article. The precise timing of the airdrop will be updated simultaneously, as the current token airdrop time is only an estimate.
This airdrop will have a similar process to the ARB airdrop. The official rules for the airdrop have not yet been announced. Airdrops involve project interactions and may incur gas fees. It is recommended that users perform the operations when the Ethereum network is not congested.
There are many online scams related to the airdrop. All interactions should be initiated from the official ZKS website. In addition to the third-party wallet Metamask, you can use chainlist.org, which supports wallet integration.
Pay attention to gas fees. Apart from gas fees, there are currently no additional costs for any interactions, including later NFT minting.
This step involves cross-chain transfers of ETH from the Ethereum mainnet to ZKS, also known as depositing. Since it’s different chains, when you cross your ETH to ZKS, it won’t be visible on the ETH Mainnet in your wallet. Instead, it will be displayed on the zkSync Era chain. Before performing this step, it is recommended to add the zkSync Era chain link to your Metamask wallet using chainlist.org. To do this, go to chainlist.org, select zkSync Era, and follow the instructions. This way, the ETH you cross over will be displayed in your Metamask wallet. Keep in mind that many subsequent operations will be performed on ZKS, and the gas fee will be deducted from your ZKS ETH balance.
Select the Ethereum wallet on lite.zksync.io, then log in to Metamask. This way, you will be able to see several basic tasks on ZKS Lite. Without logging in, these tasks will not be visible.
After logging in, select the first option, “Transfer,” which allows you to cross-chain a portion of ETH from the Metamask Ethereum mainnet to zkSync. Here, it’s important to note that you should select the Ethereum mainnet as the network in your wallet, not the previously added zkSync Era network.
If you’re familiar with Uniswap, this step will be similar. It involves buying and selling tokens on a decentralized exchange. Here, it’s important to note that clicking on “Swap” will take you to Zigzag, which is ZKS’s decentralized exchange. Here, you can sell ETH for USDT and then buy back ETH with USDT. Since USDT or USDC won’t be used in the subsequent interactions, ETH is used frequently. It is recommended to use limit orders for trading, as market orders have high slippage.
As Zigzag is ZKS’s decentralized exchange, it may have a minimum cumulative trading volume requirement of 10,000 U based on the previous ARB airdrop terms. Therefore, it is suggested that users interact daily and perform token swaps of 10 U, with a transaction fee of approximately 0.27 U per transaction. For users who find it cumbersome, they can perform a single swap of ETH equivalent to 10,000 U (not recommended). Additionally, the ZZ token is the token of the Zigzag exchange, and holding it is optional.
After completing the previous two steps, you can return to the previous interface and click on “NFT” to mint an NFT.
Here, you need a content address to mint an NFT, unless you are familiar with it. Otherwise, I do not recommend using this mint NFT feature. I recommend using Mint Square within the Zksync Ecosystem instead. You can simply upload a JPEG image to mint an NFT there. Please note that you should select the Zkysnc network when minting an NFT.
The overall development of the ZKS ecosystem is much better and faster than that of Starkware. Therefore, there are many airdrops and token releases associated with the ecosystem. Recently, the ZKS ecosystem’s zKApe had an airdrop of ZAT tokens. Interested users can also refer to the QA airdrop content to learn more. Subscribe and stay updated with the latest airdrop news.