Zircuit started from the desire to explore new ideas, technologies, and approaches to securely scale Ethereum. Founded by a team of experienced researchers in the web3 space, Zircuit arose from the desire to take new ideas and build them into a novel solution to make the space more accessible and secure for everyone.

Zircuit’s research is wide-reaching but focuses on a two areas:

  • Security: Zircuit is built with advanced security protocols and is always looking for ways to bring additional security to web3 users on and off of our network. See the Sequencer Level Security page for more on our first innovation.

  • Performance: To truly scale the Ethereum ecosystem, the zero-knowledge technology we use must be as cheap and fast as possible to maximize chain interoperability and minimize user costs.

Zircuit researchers are also interested in other related to rollups, blockchain adoption, and web3 in general. We’re interested in providing the best user experience, exploring and developing web3 standards, proper software engineering, and education.

Highlights & Recognition

Zircuit researchers have been fortunate to receive recognition from their peers through grants and paper publications. In this section, we highlight some concrete research projects that the team members have contributed to.

  • Sequencer Level Security. Zircuit pioneered the novel concept of Sequencer Level Security (SLS) for rollups. An SLS-enabled sequencer considers the effect that transactions have on-chain, and if it is undesirable, it temporarily prevents transactions from being executed. This provides the smart contract operators and users with an opportunity to take mitigation steps before suffering harm.

  • Correctness of Halo2 Circuits. Zircuit researchers leveraged lightweight formal methods to catch large classes of bugs and errors that can present themselves during development with the Halo2 library. Such methods can help detect unused gates, unconstrained cells, unused columns, and under-constrained circuits, among other potential vulnerabilities. This work presents a pioneering approach to PLONKish arithmetization and Halo2 circuit analysis, combining abstract interpretation, bounded-model checking, and more. Zcash awarded a grant for Improvements to this work.

  • Rollup Security. This project explored security issues that are closely related to rollups. Researchers explored unique features of these systems, like fraud proof validation, escape hatches, and approaches to data availability. As rollups and these features mature, the time to review and understand these features -- both at a high level and at the code level -- is now. This work is influencing planned features for Zircuit and was funded by the Ethereum Foundation.

  • Improved Mathematical Primitives. Our research has looked at optimizing Multi-Scalar Multiplication (MSM) operations used within Halo2 (and other proof systems). This work looked at optimal window sizing, parallelism techniques (including for CPU, GPU, FPGA, and ASIC), pre-computation methods, elliptic curve point representations, and more. This work is being incorporated into Zircuit and will be shared in the future.

For more details, see our selected publications as well as our talks and presentations.

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