NEAR and Polygon Partner to Launch zkWASM

The NEAR Foundation and Polygon Labs have announced a collaborative effort to develop a zero-knowledge (ZK) prover for Web Assembly (WASM) blockchains. This initiative, termed “zkWASM,” is poised to bridge the gap between WASM-based chains and the Ethereum ecosystem, as revealed in a joint announcement on November 8, 2023.

zkWASM stands as a revolutionary prover in the realm of blockchain technology. It aims to enable WASM-based networks to integrate seamlessly into the Polygon ecosystem, marking their first-ever participation. The primary motivation behind the creation of WASM, a binary instruction format, was web browsers. However, its utility has expanded to potentially serve as a compute engine for blockchain networks, offering an alternative to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

The integration of zkWASM into Polygon’s Chain Development Kit (CDK) is a pivotal aspect of this collaboration. The CDK empowers developers with tools to create customized blockchain networks based on their specific needs. With the inclusion of zkWASM, developers will gain the capability to design WASM networks and incorporate them into the broader Polygon ecosystem, which includes the Ethereum mainnet itself.

This partnership signifies a major step for NEAR in its integration with the Ethereum network. Illia Polosukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol, emphasized that “NEAR is integrating more with Ethereum by innovating in new research frontiers, and the shared expertise of NEAR and Polygon will expand the ZK landscape and defragment liquidity across chains.” This approach is expected to improve liquidity for users and enhance the overall efficiency of the NEAR network.

One of the most significant advantages of the zkWASM prover is its impact on NEAR validators. By employing the zero-knowledge proof method, the computational overhead involved in confirming a shard is significantly reduced. This reduction in computational demand is projected to lead to “better scalability and increased decentralization” for the NEAR network, according to the joint statement.

Polygon is concurrently working on developing a multichain ecosystem, known as “Polygon 2.0.” This new system will feature bridges operating on zero-knowledge proof-based transition mechanisms, facilitating the transfer of assets across different chains.

The development and expected launch of zkWASM next year marks a significant leap towards creating a more secure, interoperable, and scalable Web3 ecosystem. This partnership between NEAR and Polygon exemplifies the collaborative spirit in the blockchain community, driving innovation and integration across different platforms and technologies.

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Polygon Labs Proposes Celo’s Transition to Ethereum L2 Using Their Chain Development Kit

Polygon Labs has officially proposed a technical upgrade for Celo, suggesting its transition from an independent EVM-compatible L1 to an Ethereum L2. This proposal was made public on September 21, just 9 hours after its initial announcement by SandeepN.

The Proposal in Detail

Polygon Labs’ recommendation revolves around Celo deploying an L2 using the Polygon Chain Development Kit (CDK). This open-source toolset allows developers to create their own ZK-powered L2 for Ethereum. It also facilitates the conversion of existing L1s to Ethereum L2s with minimal friction, emphasizing modularity.

Key Value Propositions of Polygon CDK

Enhanced Collaboration: By joining a robust ecosystem of ZK-powered L2s, there’s potential for increased cross-community collaboration.

EVM-Equivalent Environment: Developers can achieve the closest alignment with Ethereum technically possible.

Security: The system leverages Ethereum’s proven consensus layer combined with the security of zero-knowledge proofs.

Low Fees: Achieved through a zkEVM validium architecture and off-chain data availability.

Unified L2 Ecosystem: This merges the Ethereum mainnet and Polygon ecosystem into a single expansive economy.

Customizability: The system offers an app-chain stack and interoperability with all Polygon L2 chains.

Fast Transactions: Near-instant withdrawals and rapid cross-chain interactivity are secured by ZK.

High Standards of Support: Meeting the standards of major Web3 projects and Web2 companies.

Ethereum Alignment and Background in ZK

Polygon Labs has consistently aimed to scale Ethereum and its core values. With L2 and rollups on its roadmap, Ethereum’s future is geared towards scaling securely and seamlessly. Polygon Labs’ core developers have invested years in ZK technology to align closely with Ethereum. Innovations like the Plonky2 ZK proving system have enabled L2s to see reduced fees and finality times, all while inheriting Ethereum’s decentralization, security, and existing tooling.

Upgrade Value Propositions

The proposal addresses both the initial value propositions suggested by cLabs and unique value propositions unlocked by Polygon CDK. These responses delve into the technical value of deploying with Polygon CDK and position this decision within the broader efforts of scaling Ethereum.

Potential Impact on the Celo Community

Validators: The Polygon CDK offers deployment in rollup or validium mode, allowing current Celo validators to participate. They would either act as a data availability committee or as sequencers.

Developers: Developers will benefit from the EVM-equivalent nature of Polygon CDK, maximizing the network effects of Ethereum alignment.

Users: Transaction fee changes with Polygon CDK are expected to be minimal.

CELO Holders: CELO will remain the governing token of the Celo ecosystem, with holders retaining control over core smart contracts and the validator set.


Polygon Labs’ proposal aims to expand on the value propositions highlighted by cLabs for Celo’s upgrade to an Ethereum L2. The dialogue between Polygon Labs and the Celo community is anticipated to continue, with the shared goal of achieving optimal technical upgrades for the blockchain community.

Image source: Shutterstock


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