Cronos, Partner of, to Start Layer 2 Network With Matter Labs

The new "Cronos zkEVM chain" is launching initially as a test network, based on Matter Labs’ software tools, which can be used to spin up new layer 2 and layer 3 “hyperchains” atop Ethereum.

AccessTimeIconDec 14, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. UTC

Cronos Labs, the developer behind the Cronos blockchain, announced Thursday the launch of a new layer-2 network, joining the growing ranks of second-tier projects that have opted to build auxiliary networks within the dominant Ethereum ecosystem.

The new "Cronos zkEVM chain" is launching initially as a test network, based on Matter Labs’ software tools, which can be used to spin up new layer 2 and layer 3 “hyperchains” atop Ethereum.

The testnet, powered by zkSync’s ZK Stack software kit developed primarily by Matter Labs, will add a new chain to Cronos’ existing ecosystem, currently consisting of the Cronos EVM blockchain, and Cronos PoS chain. The crypto exchange is a partner with Cronos Labs, according to its website, contributing to the source code of the PoS chain.

It is also the first public testnet making use of Matter Labs’ ZK Stack, according to a press release. Cronos zkEVM mainnet will follow, aiming for the network to be up in the second quarter of 2024.

"Seeing a layer 1 like Cronos being the first to make the move to deploy as a hyperchain is a great testament to the ZK Stack architecture,” Omar Azhar, head of business development head of Matter Labs, told CoinDesk over Telegram. “Cronos and have shown they are able to build an impressive community – currently an addressable user base of more than 80 million crypto users."

Cronos, while a fraction of the size of Ethereum, the dominant smart-contract blockchain, nevertheless maintains a respectable rank among the top-20 projects, in a universe of primary blockchain networks that Messari numbers close to 200.

According to DeFiLlama, Cronos boasts some $354 million of total value locked, or TVL – a commonly used metric, similar to deposits, that analysts use to rank blockchains' relative stature in decentralized finance. That's good for a No. 11 ranking in the industry, but still pales in comparison with Ethereum's $28.2 billion.

The latest blockchain addition to the Cronos ecosystem is part of a wider trend of projects launching layer-2s, which is made possible through the easily available software stacks, also sometimes referred to as blockchain development kits.

“The Cronos zkEVM testnet represents an opportunity for Cronos Labs and our partners, including VVS, Fulcrom and Veno, to experiment with ZK layer 2 technology in order to prepare the next phase of growth starting in 2024,” Ken Timsit, managing director of Cronos Labs, said in a press release seen by CoinDesk.

Edited by Bradley Keoun.


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Margaux Nijkerk

Margaux Nijkerk reports on the Ethereum protocol and L2s. A graduate of Johns Hopkins and Emory universities, she has a masters in International Affairs & Economics. She holds a small amount of ETH and other altcoins.