A Comparison of the Two Top Ethereum Layer-2 Scaling Solution for NFTs

Analysts are confident NFTs’ future is bright since the technology has near-infinite use cases in the real world. As they prove revolutionary, users are aware that they deploy from public chains. Leading networks like Ethereum could be activity dense, helping transact trillions in value. However, the platform is limited on scalability, forcing Gas fees to the roof, damaging user experience and bogging down adoption of exciting innovations like NFTs.

Ethereum’s Quest to Scale

Accordingly, Ethereum developers have immediately focused on creating practical and secure scaling solutions of the base layer. The use of the layer-2 roll-up technique is being widely embraced, and L2 Labs Foundation behind ZKSpace is leveraging ZK Rollups as their preferred layer-2 scaling option as they set sight on DeFi and NFTs. ZKSpace is a full-feature layer-2 solution expressly based on ZK Rollups. It consists of three products, one of them being ZKSea.

Scaling NFTs on Ethereum

ZK Rollups as a layer-2 scaling solution is popular among Ethereum developers. Compared to Optimistic Rollups, there is no need for trust. At the same time, the solution allows for better privacy. Most importantly, by leveraging ZK Rollups, users can benefit from cheaper transaction fees and better scaling, a reason why observers are convinced this layer-2 scaling option has a brighter future. By leveraging ZK Rollups, ZKSpace, the creators of ZKSea, are focused on launching a better scaling solution geared on the multi-billion NFT sphere, with the goal of outperforming existing solutions, especially Immutable X.

Immutable X is an Ethereum-based layer-2 scaling solution focused on NFTs. Their objective is to lower transaction costs while allowing instant transfers of NFTs. Presently, Immutable X uses Starkware’s Validium based on the Rollup technology. However, the development team, Immutable, plans to introduce ZK Rollups, presenting an option for NFT users but with few trade-offs. For example, using Validium increases operational efficiency. Still, it comprises the security of the ZK system at the expense of data availability. On the other hand, using a complete ZK Rollup solution would heighten security. However, NFT users would be required to pay more.

Comparing ZKSea and Immutable X

Flexibility and Security

ZKSpace—the developers of ZKSea– is providing a wholesome solution based entirely on the ZK Rollup to resolve specific pain points facing ImmutableX users. While both solutions adopt the order book model for cheap and instant transfer of assets in their respective marketplaces, ZKSea would allow users to pay transaction fees in various assets such as ETH, USDT, WBTC, or ZKS–the native token of the ZKSpace ecosystem. Immutable X users must pay transaction fees using IMX—their native token only. At present, Immutable X users only have to use Validium-a solution, which while more efficient, dumps down on security. ZKSea will guarantee user security by relying on ZK Rollups using ZK SNARK—which requires an element of trust. This option prioritizes security and ensures that all transactions are posted on-chain. Also, ZKSea has flexible scalability and can process tens of thousands of transactions every second, better than Immutable X, whose creators claim the protocol has a TPS of 9k.

NFT Issuance and Transfer

Another critical enhancement ZKSea brings to the table is on NFT issuance and how easy it is to transfer NFTs. In their current setup, ImmutableX exists more like a close paradise with limitations on transfers and minting. For instance, users who want to issue NFTs on Immutable X must write an email asking for collaborative issuance.

Moreover, NFTs on the Ethereum mainnet cannot be directly deposited on Immutable X. Worse, if an NFT needs to be transferred from Immutable X, a Immutable X NFT smart contract needs to be prepared on the Ethereum mainnet beforehand. Overall, although ImmutableX supports the ERC-721 NFT standard with plans to add the ERC-1155 standards, this requirement is inconvenient and consumes more resources for NFT holders, affecting user experience.

However, because ZKSea provides a complete layer-2 token wallet where users can manage their assets, any transfer initiated from the protocol settles immediately without involving third parties, subsequently improving the user experience.

Furthermore, ZKSea provides users with a low-cost, secure layer-2 NFT creation tool enabling them to edit their home page and issue their NFTs freely. Their focus on smooth user-protocol interaction is aptly demonstrated by their efforts to further refine their API and Web App interaction modes, unlike Immutable X, which only focuses on enhancing API interaction.

Focus on User Experience

Blockchain has rapidly grown over the years, with NFTs emerging as another exciting sphere to explore. Amid the expansion, product developers always focus on continuously improving user experience. ZKSea and Immutable X are top portals for NFT users keen on minting cheaply on reliable networks whose creators have taken different approaches on scaling but with the goal of boosting user experience and providing options to do so without paying high fees they would otherwise pay on the mainnet.

As the sphere grows and more users adopt NFTs, ZKSea and competing solutions would always be at the frontline, bringing more powerful products to NFT enthusiasts. 

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