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10/5/2023

Immutable zkEVM: The Road to Mainnet and Beyond

Image text, Immutable zkEVM: The Road to Mainnet and Beyond
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TL;DR

With the recent launch of Immutable zkEVM Testnet, along with numerous games that have already begun building on it, Immutable zkEVM, powered by Polygon, is on track to become the home of gaming on Ethereum. All of Immutable’s products are now EVM-supported and we are incredibly excited for planet-scale games to begin integrating them into their games on Immutable zkEVM Testnet. 

But we know there are a couple things top-of-mind for the 50+ games that have now committed to Immutable zkEVM:

  1. What is Immutable doing to ensure AAA games can scale on Immutable zkEVM?
  2. What needs to happen between now and Mainnet launch?

Well you’ve come to the right place! We’re thrilled to share the following major updates:

  • Immutable zkEVM will feature dedicated app chains to support upcoming AAA game launches
  • Massive product improvements are being made across the player experience, revenue engine, and developer experience areas

In order to make all of this possible, Immutable zkEVM will be undergoing a technical upgrade in the coming months leading up to Mainnet launch. We’ll cover all of the details, along with milestones and timing, below. 

Launch Milestones

✅ Milestone 1 - Immutable zkEVM Testnet (August)

Immutable zkEVM Testnet went live in August, enabling anyone to build with Immutable’s next generation of products. So far, more than 20,000 addresses have been active across more than a hundred thousand transactions as developers begin building their games on Immutable zkEVM. 

As these developers build, their real-time feedback has been instrumental in helping us shape our zkEVM offering - here’s just a taste of what’s shipping in the next 3 months: 

Player Experience

  • Dashboard: a unified interface for managing your Passport wallet and assets
  • Invisible Signing: no confirmation signing for in-game transactions
  • Relayer: gas fee abstraction
  • Fiat Onramp & NFT Checkout: direct purchases with card
  • Smart Checkout: automated routing of funds to keep players in the game

Revenue Engine

  • Multi-Buy: atomically fill multiple Orderbook orders simultaneously
  • Gas-Free Interactions: no gas fees for Orderbook cancellations and approvals

Developer Experience

  • Unity: initial release of Immutable’s Unity SDK for zkEVM
  • Unreal: initial release of Immutable’s Unreal SDK for zkEVM
  • Collection Management: generate, deploy, and manage collections from DevHub
  • Organizations: invite different parts of your team into DevHub
  • API Key Management: full refresh

Testnet is nearly an exact replica of Mainnet. If you are building and testing on Testnet, you can be confident that switching to Mainnet will be seamless and easy when the time comes to launch your game. There will be no code modifications required and all of your product integrations will continue to function as they did on Testnet.

Milestone 2 - Immutable zkEVM Testnet Re-Genesis (November)

We will be performing a re-genesis of the Testnet in November, which will include switching the chain’s first EVM client from Polygon Edge to Geth. We’re making this change to ensure Immutable zkEVM stays as close to Ethereum as possible and can directly benefit from upstream changes, as well as being fully compatible with the entire Ethereum tooling ecosystem. Our vision is for Immutable zkEVM to eventually support all major Ethereum clients to promote client diversity and to ensure the chain is resilient to client-level bugs. To enable this, we’ve deliberately made the minimum possible chain-level changes to the standard Ethereum specification beyond the decisions outlined in Why choose Immutable zkEVM?

 

This multi-client approach will also enable us to access massive performance improvements from clients like Erigon and reth as those clients become more mature. We are determined to work hand in hand with Polygon to ensure client performance is not the bottleneck for games building on Immutable zkEVM. 

Milestone 3 - Immutable zkEVM Mainnet (December - January)

Immutable zkEVM is here! For the first few weeks after genesis, Immutable zkEVM will be in early setup mode. A small number of partners will be invited to begin deploying their games on Mainnet before it’s released to the public at the end of January, and Immutable will be ensuring key components of our ecosystem are live before that takes place. 

Once the chain is ready, Immutable will invite developers to this new chain in groups before opening it up to the public. If you’d like to join these early cohorts, please contact Immutable and begin building on zkEVM Testnet as soon as possible!

Initially, we will be enforcing a contract allowlist on Mainnet. Our goal is to onboard millions of users to true digital ownership, and we need to ensure users are protected from malicious activity. This will be rolled back over time as we become more confident in the chain’s security, stability, and our ability to keep users safe with products like Passport.

Milestone 4 - Immutable zkEVM Dedicated App Chains (2024)

The interest in Immutable from the gaming industry has increased significantly since announcing Immutable zkEVM. While we’re currently focused on landing our new zkEVM public chain in the market, we also recognize that many AAA game studios require their own chain due to the size of their games, the amount of transaction volume they expect to generate, and the level of customization they require. Immutable will be offering dedicated app chains with the same tech stack and capabilities as Immutable zkEVM. 

Immutable is committed to delivering a set of solutions that are flexible enough to meet the needs of all game studios, regardless of size, maturity, or objectives. Our transition from Edge to Geth will provide Immutable zkEVM with the customization and Ethereum compatibility required to ensure each dedicated app chain will have optimal liquidity, accessibility, and security. We’ll be sharing more on our app chain strategy in the near future. 

Milestone 5 - Prover Integration (2024)

A critical future milestone for Immutable zkEVM will be the introduction of the zk-prover. This will be the moment Immutable zkEVM is truly “zk”EVM, and provide a trustless Ethereum <> Immutable zkEVM bridge. Prior to this, users will bridge funds on and off the chain using one of a number of well-known public bridges, including Axelar.

Our approach of using standard Ethereum clients for Immutable zkEVM will enable us to take advantage of Type 1 zkEVM provers as they become sufficiently performant for production use. Today, the only live zkEVMs are Type 2/3s (e.g. Polygon zkEVM, Linea, Scroll) which require custom node implementations and have subtle incompatibilities with existing Ethereum tooling. Using Polygon Zero, our goal is to launch the first cost-efficient Type 1 zkEVM proving the best-maintained, best-performant Ethereum clients in the world. To ensure we have mainnet proofs as quickly as possible, it’s also possible we will use a Type 2/3 prover like Polygon zkEVM initially. 

Summary

Immutable zkEVM Testnet is live and available today, and the launch of Immutable zkEVM Mainnet will soon allow games to go live in production. Whether you’re building a game, a marketplace, or deploying any other web3 application - start building now to ensure you’re ready for Mainnet launch. 

To have your game ready for deployment on Immutable zkEVM, you can create a project in the Immutable Hub or immediately start building with our documentation!

We have more exciting updates to share about decentralization for Immutable zkEVM and the ability for games to have their own blockchains while staying connected to the Immutable ecosystem - stay tuned!

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