ConsenSys is set to deploy Linea, the ZK collection network, on the Ethereum mainnet.
Linea uses zero-knowledge (ZK) cryptography to offer cheaper and faster blockchain transactions. ConsenSys says fee rates, known as gas prices, will be 15 times less on Linea than on Ethereum.
ConsenSys says it currently has no plans for a Linea token.
ConsenSys, the research and development company behind the popular Metamask Crypto Walletplans to deploy its layer-2 network, Linea, to the Ethereum mainnet this week.
The so-called aggregation network is known as zkEVM, meaning it is based on zero-knowledge (ZK) cryptography – one of this year’s hottest blockchain trends – and is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) programming environment, so the existing Ethereum -Based applications can be ported without significant additional work. Pools are considered a critical element of the Ethereum blockchain roadmap as they offer users cheaper and faster transactions compared to parent network often congested.
App developers will be able to deploy their projects on Linea’s ‘alpha’ network on Friday, with the general public gaining access to it from next week.
With the release of the mainnet alpha, Linea joins a number of recent ones zkEVM projects competing to expand accessibility on Ethereum, the second largest blockchain by transaction volume. Aggregation networks like Linea are expected to eventually become the primary method by which users access Ethereum, which is considered impractical for many users and use cases due to its high fees.
“Because natural gas prices in layer 2 are 15 times lower than in layer 1, many use cases made possible,” Nicolas Liochon, global head of product for Linea, told CoinDesk.
ConsenSys is run by Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin and builds some of the ecosystem’s core infrastructure, including MetaMask as well as Infura.
Stressing that ConsenSys remains “dedicated to Ethereum,” Liochon said that “by moving operations to level 2, we can basically increase, by multiple orders of magnitude, the number of people who will be able to use the network.”
The first Ethereum pools on the market, Optimism and Arbitrum, were so-called “optimistic” pools – based on a slightly different technology that comes with the disadvantage of long settlement times.
Newer ZK aggregations like Linea work in a similar way – grouping large groups of transactions and “sorting” them en masse on the Ethereum ledger – but their developers are betting that ZK crypto will ultimately make them faster, cheaper and more secure than optimistic alternatives.
Unlike some of zkEVM’s competitors, ConsenSys chose to build its network bytecode compatible with EVM – a technical nuance that could theoretically make Linea easier to use with existing Ethereum developer tools.
Many existing layer 2 networks, such as Arbitrum and Optimism, have “thrown” tokens to early adopters after launching on the Ethereum mainnet. Tokens could be sold for a quick profit or used as votes to help manage protocol updates. Dangling the prospect of an airdrop is seen as a way of encouraging users to try new networks.
There has long been speculation that ConsenSys could eventually release a token for Linea. While Liochon wouldn’t speculate on the possibility of a Linea token, he said that if it ever arrives, it won’t be for a while.
“What do we want to do? Do we want to get rich quick or do we want to build something?’ Liochion asked. “Yeah, basically, I think we should make things.”
The Ethereum Aggregation Landscape
Linea’s launch comes on the heels of zkSync and Polygon, the first two zkEVM networks to launch on the Ethereum mainnet, released software development kits (SDKs) that allow coders to clone their code to build their own collection networks.
ConsenSys says Linea will become fully open source in the coming weeks, meaning developers will be able to use its code freely (though ConsenSys currently has no plans to release an SDK).
Zero-knowledge collection technology is new and still evolving. As Linea enters its alpha launch, it will still have certain points of concentration in its system – which Liochon refers to as “training wheels” – as a way to protect users from unexpected errors and other hiccups.
For now, ConsenSys will still be the only party allowed to submit zero-knowledge proofs to Linea’s Ethereum smart contracts. In layman’s terms, this means that the company will act as a kind of transaction traffic policeman for now – directing transactions and packaging them into the packets it sends to Ethereum.
“If you’re fully decentralized, basically the idea is that anyone can submit evidence,” Liochon said. “But you have to be 100% sure there is no problem with the proof system. We’re not there yet.”
Edited by Bradley Keoun.