Airdrop Aspirations: zkSync

Published: July 19, 2023   |   Last Updated: January 25, 2024
Andrew Cahill
Andrew Cahill
Data Analyst
  • Airdrop Status: Unconfirmed
  • Airdrop Confidence: High
  • Token Launch: Confirmed
  • Project Category: Ethereum Layer-2 (L2)

Why We’re Watching zkSync:

Top L2s have had some of the biggest airdrops seen to date. 

In May 2022, Optimism, the second largest L2 by TVL, conducted an airdrop of ~160M OP tokens to early users.  A total of ~160,000 addresses claimed the first airdrop resulting in an average reward of ~1,000 OP tokens per address which translated to ~$1,500+ the week of the airdrop – however some users were airdropped as much as ~$40,000 based on the airdrop criteria.

In March 2023, Arbitrum, the largest L2 by total value locked (TVL) airdropped ~1.3B ARB tokens to its early users. Individual addresses that qualified got between 1,250 and 10,250 ARB tokens. That translates to ~$1,200 to ~$10,000 at current ARB prices. 

All signs point to a similar scenario (probably) playing out for zkSync. Since the launch of its zkSync ERA network, ~1.3M unique wallets have bridged funds to the network. 

While zkSync has not publicly confirmed that it will be conducting an airdrop, it has confirmed it will be issuing a token. And their team has used a lot of the same language others use when teasing airdrops: “

These factors put our confidence in a zkSync airdrop at “High”. The rest of this article outlines our “best guess” for how to qualify for the airdrop and provides some background on the zkSync project. 

What To Know Before Getting Your Hands Dirty

For starters, you will need to pay transaction fees to use the network.

  • The good news is that transaction fees on L2s like zkSync are ~95% lower than they are on Ethereum layer-1. So the steps below should (hopefully) run you in the tens and not the hundreds of dollars. 

Second, the steps outlined later in this article are “best guesses” for what should help qualify for an airdrop. 

  • They are based on how other airdrops have been conducted in the past. zkSync’s qualification criteria could be meaningfully different. And the project has not confirmed that it will actually be conducting an airdrop. 

Third, zkSync’s airdrop could still be a long way away.

  • Optimism’s airdrop occurred less than 6 months after its network launched. But Arbitrum’s occurred over 18 months after its network launched. That’s quite the wait.

All signs point to zkSync’s airdrop timeline being more similar to Arbitrum’s rather than Optimism’s timeline. 

Finally, creating several wallets and trying to earn an airdrop could actually disqualify you from earning this airdrop (and other future airdrops)

  • Protocol teams have become increasingly sophisticated with how they detect “spam” accounts. There is a chance that you could be disqualified from the airdrop if you try to game it. 

Now, let’s get into it.

PART 1: Using zkSync ERA

zkSync ERA is the latest and greatest version of zkSync. Unlike its predecessor zkSync Lite, zkSync ERA supports smart contracts and is EVM-compatible – meaning that it can support theoretically any application that Ethereum can.

Since Era is the upgraded version of the network and most of the innovation is happening there, most of our focus will be on Era. However, we will spend a little time on Lite to make sure all of our bases are covered.

The steps below are modeled after Optimism’s and Arbitrum’s airdrop criteria. To qualify for these airdrops, you needed to bridge funds from Ethereum to L2 networks and make transactions on the L2s. The more value you bridged, the more transactions you made, and the more consistent you were with using the networks, the more tokens you got dropped.  

So, here are the steps we’d recommend for zkSync :

  • Make 5-10 swaps on different DEXes on zkSync Era: DEX trades:
    • Swap between ETH and USDC on SyncSwap
    • Swap some tokens on Mute
    • Swap some tokens on Velocore
    • Swap some tokens on Symbiosis Finance
    • If you want to take things a step further, you can provide liquidity to Dexes by going to “pools” (Note that this will remove the funds from your wallet and brings additional risks)
  • Mint your own NFT on Mint Square
    • It could also help to buy/sell an NFT in the secondary market, but you may want to keep costs low
  • Mint a zkSync domain name on zkSync Name Service
    • You can customize your own, but note that domains vary greatly in price and you can get random ones for less than a dollar.
  • Login and connect your wallet to Tavaera
    • Mint your Citizen ID for free
    • Go to “Mint NFT” and “Mint a Guardian NFT”
    • Play a round of their Teva-Run game
  • Supply and Borrow assets on Eralend

PART 2: Using zkSync Lite

  • Make a few swaps between ETH & USDC on ZigZag
  • Mint an NFT by going to Pinata
    • Upload an image and copy the CID code it gives you
    • In your zkSync wallet go to NFTs → Mint NFT
    • Paste the CID code and press “Mint”

PART 3: Ongoing Checklist:

After completing the above checklist, complete the following once/month. (Per the Arbitrum airdrop criteria, transacting in distinct months earned you more tokens)

You can also bridge between the two using the Orbiter Bridge.

PART 4: Use the Wallet Checker tool to keep track of your usage on the network:

Simply go to this dashboard and paste your wallet address in the top box

  • Once you press submit you should be able to see your transaction total and more info about your wallet’s history (shown in the image below)
  • We do not recommend paying for this service or connecting your wallet. The basic tracking is provided for free and has all of the data you will need to check your standing. Connecting your wallet to any unfamiliar site could expose you to additional risks.

Background on zkSync:

zkSync is a L2 protocol working to scale Ethereum, similar to Arbitrum and Optimism.  Arbitrum and Optimism are optimistic rollups, meaning they assume all transactions are valid unless proven otherwise. They’re optimistic. This allows them to only verify transactions that raise red flags and process a relatively high amount of transactions per second.

zkSync is a zero knowledge (zk)-rollup, meaning that it proves all transactions are valid before confirming them. While zk-rollups are in earlier stages of development compared to optimistic rollups, they are arguably more secure, provide more privacy, and could deliver more scalability over the long term. 

zkEVM’s, such as zkSync ERA, bring two unique offerings to L2s: ZK proofs and EVM-compatibility.

What are Zero Knowledge (ZK) Proofs?

ZK proofs allow someone to prove that they know something, without revealing what that information is. This has several benefits for blockchains. First, it allows transactions to be much cheaper because it requires a lot less information to be validated by Ethereum. It also preserves privacy for users without putting their information at risk.

For example, a ZK proof could validate that a wallet user is from a certain country without requiring that user’s name or passport number.

What is EVM-compatibility?

EVM-compatibility refers to how easily other blockchains can communicate and integrate with Etheruem and solves a major problem for emerging blockchains: Attracting developers and protocols. Being EVM-compatible allows developers to take existing dApps on Ethereum and “copy paste” them to other networks such as zkSync ERA. 

The last important thing to note is that the zkSync’s network is broken into two separate blockchains. Just like Arbitrum has Arbitrum One and Arbitrum Nova, zkSync is divided into:

  • zkSync Lite which was the first version of the network that launched in June 2020. It supports simple transactions such as payments and swaps.
  • zkSync Era which is the upgraded version of the network that was launched in March 2023. While zkSync Lite only supported simple transactions, Era’s EVM compatibility made the network capable of supporting (theoretically) any dApp that Ethereum supports. 

While the main focus is on Era, the previous Arbitrum airdrop shows us that usage of the Lite network should not be ignored.

Here are some stats on zkSync Era as of June 19, 2023:

  • 40.5M total transactions on zkSync Era Mainnet
  • ~950,000 wallets on the network
  • $155M TVL (17th ranked chain)
  • 52 Protocols are live are zkSync Era, 200+ have expressed interest
  • zkSync’s parent company, Matter Labs, has raised $450M of funding