What is zkEVM? A Breakthrough for Blockchain Games

05 Feb 2024

What is zkEVM_ A Breakthrough for Blockchain Games - cover

Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) stands out as a monumental innovation, reshaping our understanding of what blockchain technology can achieve. However, the EVM's journey was soon met with a formidable obstacle: scalability.

As the network grew, it became evident that scaling up to accommodate more transactions and complex applications was essential. But this need for scalability brought Ethereum to a crossroads, dictated by the blockchain trilemma – the balance between scalability, security, and decentralization. The Ethereum Foundation faced a critical decision; scaling the network threatened to compromise either its security or its cherished decentralization.

Therefore, for the longest time, many Ethereum-based web3 games relied on scaling solutions that were barely decentralized just to support the fast-paced gameplay.

At its core, zkEVM is a groundbreaking development that enhances Ethereum's scalability and privacy, two critical aspects that have long been stumbling blocks in the broader adoption of blockchain technology in gaming.

In the article, we will uncover what is zkEVM and how it is a breakthrough in the blockchain gaming sector.

What is zkEVM?

zkEVM (Zero-Knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine) is a specialized adaptation of the EVM that integrates zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs), specifically zk-SNARKs, to enable private and efficient transaction validation. This integration allows for the execution of Ethereum smart contracts while ensuring that transaction data remains encrypted, thus preserving privacy and reducing the computational load on the network, thereby enhancing throughput.

Simply put, zkRollups were not natively compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine — it required developers to make substantial changes to the code if they wanted to execute smart contracts. zkEVM is an advancement in rollup technology that offers complete EVM-compatibility.

By using ZKPs, zkEVM can aggregate (or “rollup”) multiple transactions into a single proof, which can then be verified on the Ethereum blockchain. This process of batching transactions together significantly reduces the data that needs to be stored and processed on the Ethereum main chain, thereby enhancing scalability.

ZKPs on EVM: A Complex Journey

The journey towards the realization of zkEVM, or Zero-Knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine, has been a complex and prolonged one, due to several technical and conceptual challenges.

At the heart of zkEVM lies the concept of Zero-Knowledge Proofs. However, ZKPs are computationally intensive. They require significant processing power to generate and verify. Implementing these in a system like EVM, which is already processing a vast number of transactions and smart contracts, posed a significant challenge. The computational burden could potentially slow down the network, negating the benefits of ZKPs in scalability.

To tackle the computational intensity of ZKPs, developers focused on developing more efficient cryptographic schemes and proof systems, such as zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKs. These systems are designed to generate and verify proofs more quickly and with less computational overhead.

Any new technology integrated into a system as large and significant as Ethereum must undergo rigorous standardization and security testing. This process is time-consuming but necessary to ensure that the technology does not introduce new vulnerabilities into the system.

There were several more challenges like ensuring data availability, handling state transitions, reducing circuit complexity, and managing storage requirements. Once these were overcome, the foundation for zkEVM was ready.

zkEVM in Gaming: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

Gaming on blockchain has often been criticized for issues like slow transaction speeds and high gas fees. Privacy is also a concern; many gamers prefer to keep their personal identities private. zkEVM solves these.

Enhanced Privacy and Security

Now, players can verify transactions and game interactions without exposing their personal data or game strategies. This enhanced privacy is crucial in an era where data breaches and privacy concerns are rampant.

Security in web3 gaming is extremely important because financial transactions are involved in most cases. zkEVM’s architecture inherently protects against common vulnerabilities found in traditional blockchain networks. By enabling secure, private transactions, it reduces the risk of hacks and frauds, ensuring a safer gaming environment for players.

Real-Time Gaming

One of the longstanding issues with blockchain games is latency. Due to the slow nature of many blockchains, it gets difficult to play high-speed games like racing, AAA, or MMORPG in a fully decentralized manner.

The only way to increase the speed of gameplay without sacrificing decentralizing would have been to pay exorbitantly high gas fees.

zkEVM addresses this by significantly reducing the computational load on the network. This leads to faster transaction speeds, a key factor in real-time gaming experiences. Additionally, the efficient processing lowers the cost of transactions (known as gas fees), making games more affordable to play and enhancing the overall user experience.

Diverse Gameplay

The improved scalability and reduced costs are not just advantageous for players but also for developers. Game creators can now build more complex, feature-rich games without worrying about the limitations of the blockchain.

This opens up new possibilities in game design and can lead to more innovative and engaging gaming experiences. Developers can also profit from a more extensive user base, as lower transaction fees and faster speeds attract more players.

Immutable zkEVM: Most Capable zkEVM Gaming Blockchain

Transak is an exclusive on-ramp for all games that would come up or transition to Immutable zkEVM. Immutable zkEVM, a product of Immutable, is an appchain built specifically for gaming.

Engineered with a focus on gaming transactions, Immutable zkEVM that it caters specifically to the needs of game developers and players. This optimization includes handling high volumes of microtransactions, a common aspect of modern gaming, with efficiency and reduced costs.

Thanks to the efficiency of zkEVM technology, the platform ensures low latency in transactions, which is critical for real-time gaming experiences.

Early games on Immutable zkEVM

Several games have already begun migrating to Immutable zkEVM. Some of them are mentioned below.

  • Guild of Guardians: A mobile RPG that uses blockchain technology, allowing players to collect, trade, and battle with unique, tradable heroes and items in a fantasy world.
  • Metalcore: A mech-based combat game set in a futuristic, war-torn world. It features large-scale battles, customizable mechs, and a blend of PvP and PvE gameplay.
  • Shardbound: A tactical collectible card game with a board game twist. Players summon units onto a battlefield, aiming to outmaneuver opponents using strategic placement and abilities.
  • Treeverse: An open-world MMORPG with a focus on social interaction and exploration. It features a vibrant, ever-expanding universe where players can embark on adventures and build communities.
  • Cool Cats: A light-hearted and colorful puzzle game featuring unique cat characters. It combines elements of strategy and luck, offering various levels and challenges.
  • BADMAD Robots: A fast-paced action game with a focus on robot combat. Players design and control robots, engaging in intense battles in dynamic environments.
  • Space Nation: A space exploration and strategy game. Players manage resources, develop technology, and colonize planets in a quest to become a dominant galactic force.
  • Eyeball Games: A collection of visually creative and challenging games that test players' observation and puzzle-solving skills, centered around unique eyeball-themed designs.
  • Imaginary Ones: An imaginative and whimsical game that revolves around exploring dreamlike landscapes and solving puzzles. It features charming visuals and a relaxing, story-driven gameplay experience.

How to Use Transak within Immutable zkEVM-Based Games

Create a Wallet Compatible with Ethereum

First, set up a digital wallet that supports Ethereum and layer-2 solutions like Immutable zkEVM. Examples include MetaMask or Trust Wallet.

In the game's settings or wallet section, connect your Ethereum wallet. This will allow the game to access your funds on the Immutable zkEVM layer.

Purchase Cryptocurrency through Transak

  • Look for the buy option within the game and select Transak
  • Select a payment method (credit/debit card, bank transfer, etc.).
  • Enter the amount you wish to buy, ensuring it meets the minimum and maximum limits set by Transak.

Start Gaming

With your wallet funded and connected to the Immutable zkEVM layer, you can now participate in in-game transactions. This includes buying, selling, or trading in-game assets, or engaging in any other blockchain-based activities within the game.

For more information, visit transak.com or follow on twitter.com/transak.

About the Author:

Transak Team