From its inception Loom Network aimed to provide a scaling solution for Ethereum dapp developers. Three years ago the most practical way to do so was to build an Ethereum sidechain secured by multiple distributed validators. To date, blockchains built using the Loom protocol have proved to be performant and secure, but the reliance on a consensus of validators to secure the chain has resulted in a lot of wasted CPU cycles, storage, and bandwidth. This wastage is an unavoidable artifact of distributed consensus because every validator has to run their own machines that all perform exactly the same computations when processing transactions.
Thanks to the extensive research work that’s been done into scaling Ethereum in recent years, we believe it’s time for a radical shift in our blockchain tech, rather than just incremental improvements. Our engineering team has been keeping an eye on practical applications of zero knowledge proofs, and the development of zkRollup based projects like zkSync by Matter Labs, and LoopRing. We believe that building a new Loom protocol based on zkRollup is the best way to reduce the environmental impact of our blockchains, while at the same time improving both the performance and security of the Loom protocol.
In the zkRollup based Loom protocol (which we’ll refer to as zkLoom from here on out) the validators accept transactions from clients, process those transactions, and then generate zero knowledge proofs (zkSNARKs) that are verified by a smart contract on Ethereum every time a new block is created on the Loom blockchain. The zkLoom protocol architecture offers a number of advantages, here are some of them:
- Forging a zero knowledge proof is practically impossible so the smart contract on Ethereum effectively guarantees that every transaction in a block committed by the zkLoom protocol has been processed correctly. If a hostile validator attempts to commit a block with an invalid proof the smart contract on Ethereum will reject that block, so a malicious validator can’t steal funds or cause an invalid state transition.
- Funds transferred by users from Ethereum to a zkLoom blockchain can be recovered even if all zkLoom validators go offline, or simply refuse to process transactions. This is made possible by safeguards built into the smart contract on Ethereum.
- Users no longer have to place their trust in validators, instead they can rely on the security guarantees provided by Ethereum. By leveraging Ethereum for security zkLoom blockchains can operate in a secure manner with only a few validators, which makes it much easier to bootstrap new blockchains, and to operate them at a lower cost.
LOOM Token Swap
Upgrading Basechain to the zkLoom protocol will require multiple steps, the first of which consists of deploying a new LOOM token contract to Ethereum mainnet. The current LOOM token contract is not upgradable, so there’ll be a token swap once the new LOOM token contract is deployed, which is expected to happen by the end of the year. We’ll publish more details about the token swap process closer to the deployment date.
If you’re currently delegating on Basechain your delegations will continue earning rewards as usual, even after the token swap.
We’ve recently released new CryptoZombies lessons to introduce blockchain developers to zkSync, if you haven’t checked them out yet head over to https://cryptozombies.io/en/course/