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Pioneering collaboration between leading ZK researchers and WASM experts to create a zero-knowledge prover accessible through Polygon CDK.

November 8, 2023, 14:00, Lisbon, Portugal. NEAR Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to fostering the growth and advancement of the NEAR ecosystem, and Polygon Labs, a software development firm specializing in cutting-edge Ethereum Layer 2 scaling architecture, have announced a strategic partnership to develop zkWASM, a zero-knowledge (ZK) prover designed for WASM blockchains.

  • The collaborative effort of zkWASM taps into the extensive zero-knowledge R&D by Polygon Labs alongside NEAR Foundation’s specialized WASM proficiency, positioning this ZK solution at the forefront of the Web3 market.
  • In the future, zkWASM will serve as one of the three provers accessible to developers opting for the construction of Polygon Chain Development Kit (CDK), an open-source codebase for the launch of ZK-powered L2 chains for Ethereum.
  • NEAR Foundation solidifies its role as a core contributor to Polygon CDK.
  • This pioneering research initiative is set to pave the way for enhanced trustless interoperability across Web3, including seamless connectivity between NEAR and the Ethereum ecosystem.

Lisbon conference announcement

By harnessing Polygon Labs’ expertise in ZK scaling technology and NEAR’s comprehensive understanding of WASM runtime, the zkWASM prover is primed to take the lead in the market among other wasm provers upon its forthcoming launch. Both teams disclosed this collaboration during today’s announcement at NEAR’s annual flagship conference, NEARCON, in Lisbon.

Advancing Web3

This joint declaration brings together two prominent protocol teams with the aim of building a more secure, interoperable Web3 ecosystem. The zkWASM prover not only brings NEAR Protocol closer to Ethereum but also empowers WASM chains to access Ethereum liquidity.

In the future, through an ongoing interoperability layer development, chains will have the capability to access shared liquidity within a unified ecosystem of CDK-deployed chains, including alternative layer-1s, EVM layer-2s, and WASM chains.

By employing a zkWASM prover, WASM chains will be able to settle transactions efficiently and cost-effectively with optimal security assurances, unlocking the full potential of zero-knowledge for the multi-chain future of Web3.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with NEAR on this exciting research initiative aimed at driving the development and adoption of ZK technology. The zkWASM prover facilitates maximum developer customizability, enabling projects to choose from various provers when building with CDK, whether that involves launching or migrating an EVM chain or constructing a WASM chain for closer alignment with Ethereum and access to liquidity,”


– Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Polygon.

The implementation of a zkWASM prover will mark an upgrade for NEAR validators—instead of the arduous task of validating a shard, validators will be able to generate a single zero-knowledge proof, significantly streamlining validator requirements. This will result in improved scalability and increased decentralization for the NEAR Protocol.

New frontiers

“We are enthusiastic about collaborating with Polygon Labs to bring all the benefits of zero-knowledge proofs not only to NEAR but to the entire Web3 ecosystem,” expressed Illia Polosukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol. “NEAR is bolstering its integration with Ethereum by exploring new research frontiers, and the combined expertise of NEAR and Polygon will expand the ZK landscape and foster liquidity integration across chains. The creation and utilization of the zkWASM prover will also enhance the scalability and decentralization of the NEAR L1.”

The zkWASM prover is currently in active development and is slated for launch next year.

About NEAR foundation:

NEAR foundation is a Switzerland-based nonprofit foundation whose mission is to enable community driven innovation to benefit people around the world. One of its core areas of focus is the NEAR ecosystem, which includes a fully operational decentralized Blockchain-based platform for building decentralized applications.

NF carries out its mission, primarily through the allocation of support and resources to other nodes in the near ecosystem, rather than via direct intervention or operations.

Unlike many organizations of its type, NF‘s ultimate goal is to minimize its own scope and footprint by continuing to divide functions and resources to the ecosystem; and support the development of decentralized infrastructure necessary for those ecosystem functions to operate in a self-sufficient manner. For more information visit the website.

About Polygon Labs:

Polygon Labs develops Ethereum scaling solutions for Polygon protocols. Polygon Labs engages with other ecosystem developers to help make available scalable, affordable, secure and sustainable blockchain infrastructure for web3. Polygon Labs has initially developed a growing suite of protocols for developers to gain easy access to major scaling solutions, including layer 2s (zero-knowledge rollups and optimistic rollups), sidechains, hybrid chains, app-specific chains, enterprise chains, and data availability protocols.

Scaling solutions that Polygon Labs initially developed have seen widespread adoption with tens of thousands of decentralized apps, unique addresses exceeding 220.8 million, over 1.18 million smart contracts created and 2.48 billion total transactions processed since inception. The existing Polygon network is home for some of the biggest web3 projects, such as Aave, Uniswap, and OpenSea, and well-known enterprises, including Robinhood, Stripe and Adobe. Polygon Labs is carbon neutral with the goal of leading web3 in becoming carbon negative.

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