Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has proposed the addition of zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machines (zk-EVMs) at the protocol level, which could significantly speed up the verification process on the base blockchain. In a recent post, Buterin explained that integrating a zk-EVM on the base layer would not compromise decentralization or security. The technology would enable Ethereum Virtual Machines to execute smart contracts on the blockchain with ZK proofs.

Buterin highlighted that Ethereum was developed with a “multi-client philosophy” to ensure decentralization at the protocol level. Integrating zk-EVMs at the Ethereum layer 1 would make it the third type of client, alongside the “consensus” and “execution” clients. By adding zk-EVM verification at the Ethereum base layer, Buterin suggested that it might be the solution to “The Verge,” a part of the Ethereum roadmap that aims to make verification at the base layer easier.

While there are some potential challenges with data inefficiency and latency issues with the zk-EVM infrastructure, Buterin believes that they can be overcome. Moreover, he suggested that zk-EVMs would make running a full node on Ethereum even easier. If implemented, the zk-EVM ecosystem would make Ethereum blocks smaller, which would enable anyone to run a fully verifying node on their laptop or even their phone or inside a browser extension.

Several companies, including Polygon, StarkWare, ConsenSys, Scroll, zkSync, and Immutable, are deploying similar zk-EVM scaling solutions. While this is not financial advice, it is exciting to see technological advancements that could lead to a more decentralized and accessible blockchain infrastructure.

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