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News/A Comprehensive Review of ZKSync and StarkNet: Which One to Choose?

A Comprehensive Review of ZKSync and StarkNet: Which One to Choose?

Apr 25 2023

last year4 minutes read
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StarkNet vs zkSync: An In-Depth Layer 2 Showdown

Written by Van 

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Ethereum's explosive growth has led to network congestion, sky-high gas fees, and snail-paced transactions. Layer 2 scaling solutions, such as zkSync and StarkNet, are the promising light at the end of the tunnel. This article offers a comprehensive comparison of these two popular solutions from a user's perspective, examining their features, benefits, pitfalls, and ecosystems.


The Rising Star: zkSync

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zkSync, an Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solution, brings a host of benefits to the table. We dive into the user advantages, features, drawbacks, personal encounters, and the flourishing zkSync ecosystem in this section.

zkSync: The Advantages and Challenges

Advantages of zkSync:

  • Faster Transactions: zkSync considerably reduces transaction times, making it a great option for swift operations.
  • Lower Gas Fees: Compared to Ethereum, zkSync has significantly less gas fees, making transactions more cost-effective.
  • Enhanced Security: The use of zero-knowledge proofs in zkSync provides it with a high level of security, adding an extra layer of trust for users.
  • Multichain Rollup Architecture: This feature allows greater scalability, making zkSync a promising player among zk rollup projects.
  • Cross-chain Swaps and Integrations: zkSync supports seamless cross-chain swaps and is compatible with popular dApps and wallets, broadening the scope of zkSync projects.

Challenges of zkSync:

  • Increased Complexity: The advanced features of zkSync can lead to increased complexity, which may pose challenges for some users.
  • Lower User Adoption: Despite its benefits, zkSync currently faces lower user adoption compared to some Layer 2 solutions.
  • Ethereum Dependency: Being a Layer 2 solution, zkSync is reliant on Ethereum’s infrastructure, which may limit its standalone capabilities.
  • Ongoing Development: zkSync is still in the developmental stage, leaving room for further improvement and potential unforeseen issues.

zkSync Network Statistics

Total Value Locked (TVL): 

  • zkSync Lite: $79.1M (as per L2Beat)
  • zkSync Era: $214M (as per L2Beat), $112.3M (as per DefiLlama)
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Source: DefiLlama

Fees for various transactions:

  • zkSync Lite: Activation Fee - $2.12, Transfer - $0.08, Mint NFT - $0.22, Withdraw - $7.65
  • zkSync Era: Bridge - $8.53 (native bridge), $1.85 (third-party bridges like Orbiter Finance and Layerswap), Approve token: $0.15-$0.24, Swap: $0.5-$0.8, Provide liquidity/Deposit tokens: $1-$1.24

Transactions per Second (Tps): 2.67 transactions/second, according to L2Beat.

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Source: L2Beat

User Activity (data sourced from Orbiter and other blockchain explorers):

  • Total transactions: 22,208,855 on zkSync Lite, 10,332,400 on zkSync Era
  • Total Accounts: Over 2 million, with zkSync Era accounting for 806,068
  • Total Deposited: zkSync Era - 162,615 ETH ($296,121,915), zkSync Lite - $892,048,281 (both ETH & ERC-20 tokens)
  • Total Depositors: zkSync Era - 458,171, zkSync Lite - 837,448  
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Source: Dune

zkSync User Impressions and Layer 2 Solution Comparisons

  • Total Value Locked (TVL): zkSync's TVL is larger than Metis, Loopring, and Immutable X, but falls short when compared to Arbitrum and Optimism among Layer 2 solutions.
  • Transaction Fees: zkSync's fees, while not the lowest amongst other Layer 2 solutions, remain significantly lower than Ethereum's high fees. For an in-depth comparison of fees, you can refer to the Dune dashboard.
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Source: Dune
  • Transactions Per Second (TPS): zkSync may not be the fastest, but it delivers acceptable transaction settlement times.
  • Adoption: zkSync ranks third in terms of total accounts on the blockchain, trailing behind Arbitrum and Optimism.
  • Unique Feature: zkSync sets itself apart from other Layer 2 networks with its gas fee refund policy. An estimated gas fee is deducted in advance, and any unused fee is returned post-transaction. However, this feature comes with a charge, and sufficient ETH is needed to cover it.
  • Recommended Bridges: For ETH, the recommended bridges are Orbiter, Multichain & Layerswap. For stablecoins, Meson is suggested.
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Source: Twitter

zkSync Ecosystem: A Flourishing Universe

  • The zkSync Ecosystem boasts of over 280 listed projects, making it a flourishing universe of zk rollup projects. 48 of these are currently live on the zkSync Era.
  • Over 100 of these projects in the zkSync ecosystem are DeFi projects, predominantly DEXes with order book or Automated Market Maker (AMM) systems. This suggests a significant trend towards zkSync projects in the DeFi space.
  • With the introduction of yield farming and derivatives exchanges, the zkSync ecosystem becomes even more appealing. The potential for profits and diversification in these areas is enormous, making it worth exploring further.
  • Some of the intriguing projects to try out include SyncSwap, Mute.io, ZigZag Exchange, and SpaceFi. Each offers unique features and capabilities, adding value to the overall ecosystem.
  • The zkSync airdrop, though not being confirmed, is also a notable feature, providing an opportunity for users to earn rewards.

StarkNet: Scaling Ethereum and Enhancing User Experience

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StarkNet is a powerful Layer 2 solution for Ethereum that provides a range of benefits to users. In this section, we will explore the user benefits, features, drawbacks, personal experiences, and the expanding ecosystem of StarkNet.

StarkNet: The Pros and Potential Hurdles

Pros of StarkNet:

  • High Throughput: StarkNet offers high throughput, ensuring the network can handle a large number of transactions efficiently.
  • Reduced Gas Costs: Compared to Ethereum Layer 1, StarkNet has much lower gas costs, making transactions more affordable.
  • Ethereum-Level Security: With STARK proofs verified on-chain, StarkNet maintains a level of security similar to Ethereum Layer 1.
  • Excellent Scalability: Its excellent scalability makes low-cost or even zero-cost transactions possible for end-users, contributing to the expanding StarkNet ecosystem.

Potential Hurdles of StarkNet:

  • Early Development Stage: As StarkNet is still in its early stages of development, it may face unforeseen challenges and issues.
  • Usage Complexity: The complex nature of StarkNet's operations may prove difficult for some users to navigate.
  • Ethereum Dependence: Like zkSync, StarkNet also relies on Ethereum’s infrastructure, which can limit its standalone capabilities.
  • Limited Platform Integration: Currently, StarkNet has limited integration with other platforms, which may restrict its utility in certain contexts.

StarkNet Network Statistics

Total Value Locked (TVL): $35.22M, according to L2Beat.

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Source: L2Beat

Fees for various actions:

  • Sending tokens: $0.31
  • Swapping: $0.78
  • Adding liquidity: $0.36 to $0.91
  • Bridging: $21 with the native bridge, $2.2 with third-party bridges like Orbiter
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Source: Orbiter

Transactions per second (tps): 1.16; StarkNet is currently experiencing congestion, which is causing delays in transaction completion.

User Activity (data sourced from Viewblock.io):

  • Total transactions: 7,419,663
  • Total Accounts: 471,223
  • Total Deposited: 51,013 ETH ($93,200,751)
  • Total Depositors: 370,190
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Source: Artemis

StarkNet User Impressions and Layer 2 Solution Comparisons

  • Total Value Locked (TVL): StarkNet's TVL is smaller compared to its Layer 2 counterparts.
  • Transaction Fees: Fees on StarkNet are slightly cheaper than the zkSync Era but aren't as competitive as other Layer 2 solutions or alternative Layer 1 chains.
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Source: L2fees
  • Transaction Time: Due to network congestion, transactions on StarkNet take approximately 7 minutes.
  • Adoption: StarkNet has seen impressive growth in blockchain technology adoption over the past six months. In just three months, it has experienced a 903% increase in daily active addresses, standing out among all the chains tracked by Artemis.
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Source: Artemis

StarkNet Ecosystem: An Expanding Universe

  • The StarkNet Ecosystem, despite being relatively newer compared to zkSync, is rapidly growing. There are already over 100 projects listed, with 62 deployed on the mainnet.
  • There are 54 DeFi projects in the StarkNet ecosystem, mostly a combination of DeFi and Infrastructure sectors, highlighting the Starknet vs zkSync competition in the DeFi realm.
  • DEXes with AMM systems dominate the StarkNet ecosystem, much like the zkSync ecosystem.
  • Interesting projects to consider in the StarkNet ecosystem include JediSwap, SithSwap, Nostra, and Mint Square. Each of these contributes to the expanding universe of the StarkNet ecosystem.
  • Unlike zkSync, StarkNet doesn't work with the Ethereum Virtual Machine, meaning you can't add it to MetaMask. Instead, wallets like Argent or Braavos are required to use StarkNet.
  • The "Pro Score" dashboard on Braavos can help you stay informed about your activity and participation within the StarkNet ecosystem. It's also a great place to discover new dApps.
  • The recommended bridges for ETH include Orbiter and Layerswap, which are integral parts of the Starknet ecosystem and help facilitate transactions.
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Source: Twitter

StarkNet vs zkSync: A Comparative Analysis

Comparison PointszkSyncStarkNet
SecurityLeverages zkRollup technology for high security.Uses zk-STARKs, offering stronger cryptographic security.
ScalabilityEfficient transaction process, but not as scalable.Superior scalability, handling large numbers of transactions.
EcosystemMature, diverse ecosystem with 280+ projects.Expanding rapidly with 100+ projects, focusing heavily on DeFi.
Transaction Time & CostNear-instant transactions with low fees.Longer transaction times but offers cost-effective fees.
CompatibilityFully supports Ethereum-compatible smart contracts.Partial EVM support, hence limited compatibility.

 

Both zkSync and StarkNet are competent Layer 2 solutions that offer their unique benefits. If you're prioritizing transaction speed and full compatibility with Ethereum, zkSync could be an ideal choice. However, if scalability and a DeFi-focused ecosystem are your main concern, StarkNet may serve you better.

With the zk rollup projects like zkSync and StarkNet on the rise, the StarkNet vs zkSync comparison becomes essential to understand their distinct features and choose the one that suits your needs best. Whether you're interested in the StarkNet token or the zkSync airdrop, or you're looking to contribute to the StarkNet ecosystem or explore the array of zkSync projects, the possibilities are vast and promising.


FAQ About zkSync and StarkNet

Q: How do zkSync and StarkNet impact transaction speed and fees for users?

A: Both zkSync and StarkNet reduce transaction fees and increase speed. However, zkSync focuses on simplicity and user experience, while StarkNet emphasizes scalability specifically for DeFi projects.

Q: What is the anticipated impact of the zkSync airdrop on the overall value of zkSync projects?

A: The zkSync airdrop is expected to significantly boost the overall value of zkSync projects. This is primarily because airdrops often lead to increased attention and engagement from the community, which can result in higher trading volumes and potentially an increase in the value of the projects' associated tokens. Furthermore, it may attract new participants to the zkSync ecosystem, fostering its growth and development.

Q: StarkNet vs zkSync: Which Layer 2 solution offers more promising prospects for crypto investors?

A: Both StarkNet and zkSync offer unique benefits that can be promising for crypto investors. StarkNet provides scalability and privacy with its zk-STARKs technology, which is a non-interactive zero-knowledge proof system that doesn't require a trusted setup. On the other hand, zkSync stands out with its ability to process transactions off-chain while ensuring data availability on-chain, resulting in faster and cheaper transactions. The choice between StarkNet and zkSync will largely depend on an investor's specific requirements and risk tolerance.

Q: How does zkSync's scalability and security features compare to StarkNet in the StarkNet vs zkSync debate?

A: Both zkSync and StarkNet prioritize scalability and security, though they approach these goals differently. zkSync utilizes zkRollup technology for scalability, which enables it to process thousands of transactions per second while keeping costs low. Its security is ensured by Ethereum's layer 1, providing the same level of security as the Ethereum network itself.

StarkNet, on the other hand, uses zk-STARKs for scalability and security. zk-STARKs allow StarkNet to process a high number of transactions without compromising on privacy or security. However, it's important to note that StarkNet does not rely on Ethereum's layer 1 for security, which sets it apart from zkSync.

Q: How do zkSync and StarkNet address network congestion and user experience?

A: Both zkSync and StarkNet relieve network congestion by processing transactions off-chain. This greatly enhances user experience by reducing fees and increasing transaction speed.

Q: Are there any unique features that set zkSync and StarkNet apart for users?

A: zkSync is recognized for its user-centric approach, simplicity, and instant confirmations. In contrast, StarkNet is well-known for its advanced scalability features and robust DeFi ecosystem.

Q: How do zkSync and StarkNet handle cross-chain transactions and interoperability?

A: Both zkSync and StarkNet aim to support cross-chain transactions and enhance interoperability with other blockchain networks. However, they are still primarily focused on Ethereum.


Conclusion

In summary, zkSync and StarkNet are both promising Layer 2 solutions that cater to different user needs. If you prioritize a simple, user-friendly experience and instant transactions, zkSync may be the right choice for you. If you are into DeFi and require a secure, scalable, and specialized platform, then StarkNet could be the ideal solution.

Both platforms are developing technologies to enable cross-chain transactions and interoperability. The improved interoperability allows users to access more decentralized applications while enjoying security and scalability.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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