NEAR Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to Electron Labs, a project that helps blockchains seamlessly communicate with each other, to improve cross-chain security.
Electron Labs’ unique technology allows NEAR’s super fast and secure sharded blockchain to communicate more efficiently with the Ethereum network. The grant will help Electron deploy a new way of validating and securing transactions between NEAR and Ethereum.
Electron will use ZK-SNARKS — a cryptographic proof that allows one party to prove it possesses certain information without revealing that information — to compress the gas expenses of running the NEAR light client on Ethereum.
“At NEAR, we’ve always believed the future of blockchain is multi-chain. But in order for that future to become a reality, security needs to be maintained. Electron’s high security, high-efficiency product helps information move freely, but securely between NEAR and Ethereum. We’re thrilled to help support Electron,” said Erik Trautman, NEAR Foundation CEO.
The reduction in gas expenses will enable Validity Proofs — a super secure way of validating transactions — to be added to all Rainbow Bridge transactions,— providing even more security when sending data cross chain.
Currently, NEAR’s Rainbow Bridge follows a Fraud Proofs approach. As a result, transactions from NEAR to Ethereum currently take up to 3 to 5 hours to complete. This is due to the high gas expenses associated with verifying NEAR’s ED25519 signature on Ethereum.
Electron provides a zero-knowledge-based approach to verification, where ED25519 signatures can be verified succinctly on Ethereum. Electron achieves this by batching a large number of signatures into a single snark proof, similar to zk-rollups on Ethereum. This technology enables the cheap verification of thousands of NEAR’s validator signatures, allowing all Rainbow Bridge transactions to be confirmed using the light client.
NEAR and Electron look forward to building a deep and lasting partnership.