Polygon, Ethereum’s most used scaling platform, today announced a $400 million deal with zero-knowledge (ZK) startup Mir as part of the next step in scaling Ethereum and bringing millions of users to Web 3.
With this acquisition, Polygon said it gains access to the world’s fastest ZK scaling technology. They cite zero-knowledge proofs as a promising scaling solution because they allow many Ethereum transactions to be verified with a single proof. Mir has solved the problem of slow ZK proofs by generating faster recursive proofs.
While Ethereum has the potential to be the most widely used blockchain for Web3 applications, it is currently being held back by scalability challenges, which in turn lead to high transaction fees.
“The industry is still in an early phase when it comes to scaling and blockchain infrastructure in general,” Mihailo Bjelic, co-founder of Polygon, said. “One of the key missing components required to build highly scalable solutions has been performant recursive proof systems; they simply haven’t existed so far. This ends today. We are introducing a recursive proof system that is orders of magnitude faster than anything else and is practical to verify on Ethereum. This is a huge win for the entire industry.”
Polygon said it is actively building an arsenal of scaling solutions. The acquisition of Mir is a key component in Polygon’s $1 billion strategy for Ethereum scaling. It follows the recently announced merger of Hermez Network (now Polygon Hermez), the development of Polygon Nightfall, a privacy-focused rollup built in collaboration with EY, and Polygon Miden, a STARK-based, EVM-compatible ZK rollup scaling solution.
Alongside scaling tech, the deal brings more talent into the Polygon ranks. Mir, founded by Brendan Farmer and Daniel Lubarov, has a team with backgrounds and skill sets from engineering at Google to Ph.D. research in pure math and credentials from top cryptography research institutions like Berkeley and EPFL.
“Joining Polygon is an incredible opportunity for us to work toward scaling Ethereum.” Farmer said, “Polygon is one of the most dedicated and successful teams in the space, and we’ve been impressed by their commitment to ZK as a scaling solution for Ethereum. We’re very excited to dedicate our world-class team and the technology that we’ve developed toward achieving this vision.”
The Mir team was the first to implement recursive proofs based on PLONK and Halo, two pioneering zero-knowledge proof systems in 2020. This allowed recursive proofs to be generated in about 10 seconds on a laptop, a massive improvement. Mir’s latest iteration, developed this year, achieved recursive proofs in 170 milliseconds on a laptop — the fastest recursive proof implementation available today by orders of magnitude.2
Mir will be integrated into the Polygon ecosystem under its new name, Polygon Zero, alongside existing Polygon solutions, including Polygon PoS, Polygon SDK, Polygon Avail, Polygon Nightfall, Polygon Hermez, and Polygon Miden.
“Polygon plans to focus on ZK cryptography as the end game for blockchain scaling,” said Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Polygon. “We have made a strategic decision to explore and encourage all meaningful scaling approaches and technologies at this stage. We believe this is the way to establish Polygon as the leading force and contributor in the ZK field and onboard the first billion users to Ethereum.”