Applications and Use Cases

New Espresso Blockchain Prioritizes High Throughput, Scalability and Low Gas Fees

March 09, 2022

Researchers from Stanford University's applied cryptography research group announced a new layer-one blockchain being developed to enable high throughput and low gas fees. The Espresso blockchain will prioritize user privacy, decentralization and scalability through the use of zero-knowledge proofs. The technology enables a party to prove a statement is true without revealing the evidence behind the statement, according to Espresso Systems, the new company behind the solution.

Ben Fisch, co-founder and CEO of Espresso Systems, explained the blockchain uses ZK-Rollups, which is based on zero-knowledge proofs enabling transactions to be processed off-chain. The technology consolidates multiple transactions into a single proof that is easily verified, reducing bandwidth and computational loads on the consensus protocol. The method is being used on the Ethereum blockchain already via the StarkWare and zkSync scaling solutions.

“One thing that’s become evident of late is that it’s now not just a race to scale, but a race to scale and make the fewest tradeoffs possible with regards to decentralization,” said Fisch. “If you use a zero-knowledge proof to prove the validity of a large number of transactions that never get sent to the consensus protocol, then while the consensus protocol can verify their validity, they’re not able to provide data to users that is needed for constructing future transactions.”

He explained Espresso users rely on the ZK-Rollup server to access critical data, and data is centralized on the server. He added the company is working to carefully integrate the roll-up with consensus to maintain high throughput and low fees without compromising decentralization.

Espresso tackles privacy via a smart contract application known as Configurable Asset Privacy for Ethereum (CAPE). The application enables asset creators on the blockchain to customize who may see information related to ownership and movement of assets. CAPE is useful for financial institutions and money service businesses that create blockchain-based assets, according to Fisch. The application enables those organizations to balance customers' needs for privacy with an organization's need for risk management and compliance.

CAPE will run on any Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) blockchain and will debut on Ethereum's testnet within the next few weeks. Eventually CAPE will run directly on the Espresso blockchain and Espresso has built a bridge directly to Ethereum to enable assets to be moved from Ethereum to Espresso.

Espresso Systems has also raised $29.9 million in Series A funding, the company announced. The company has 26 employees, including 18 engineers, according to Jill Gunter, chief strategy officer and co-founder.

“One advantage that we have is that *we have the benefit of getting to design for this and build for this from the outset, whereas a lot of the other systems that are working to scale right now have these big, sort of backward compatibility issues where they’re having to design around the existing systems,” said Gunter. “If you look historically, other blockchain projects like Solana have had a lot of success being able to start fresh.”

Edited by Luke Bellos

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