In March of 2021, Elon Musk wiped out $300 billion in Bitcoin’s value with a single tweet. In short, his message was that for environmental reasons, Tesla will no longer accept bitcoin as payment. He went further than just a tweet, and in May, Tesla announced it would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment. Elon is not alone, as many have expressed concerns over the amount of energy required to mine Bitcoin and several other leading cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, which facilitates 4,000+ DApps on its platform. However, Australian start-up zkTube Labs is here to change the impact mining has on the environment and, in the process, solve some of Ethereum’s congestion and high gas fee problems without compromising security.
Melbourne-based zkTube is ready for its official Mainnet launch on September 10th, and for the crypto mining and overall Blockchain community, their solutions cannot come fast enough.
The initial concept for the zkTube Protocol prototype originated in 2018 when Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin proposed a mining solution for anti-ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit). At the time, Lance Zhang, founder of zkTube, had participated in the “Ethereum Scalability and New Ideas Exploration of POS Mining” and came up with the innovative concept of a Layer 2 solution for crypto mining. However, it wasn’t until October 2020 that Zhang and the founding team officially started searching for solutions to Ethereum’s growing congestion and escalating gas fees. Aside from the obvious negative effects of these delays and costs there was an additional, and arguably, more important problem: the impact that mining for Ethereum is having on the environment. This last issue is not negligible as studies, such as the one published by the University of Cambridge in February of 2021, have indicated that mining from cryptocurrencies burns the equivalent electricity needed to power countries the size of Argentina and Norway. For the zkTube Labs team, it was clear that there had to be a better way to mine for cryptocurrencies. The result is their Layer 2 Zero-Knowledge platform and accompanying wallet, PayTube.
In the words of Daniel Puzny, zkTube’s CEO, “zkTube is a world-first Layer 2 mining protocol that adopts Zero-Knowledge proof, which enhances scalability and transaction throughput, lowers gas fees, and improves privacy for Ethereum, all whilst significantly reducing energy consumption”.
While the technology and backend of zkTube might be complicated, the end result is not: zkTube has created a platform that allows users to mine for cryptocurrencies, or perform any of the typical blockchain transactions, for a fraction of the price and at much higher speeds. In fact, zkTube is over 200 times faster than Ethereum. Additionally, the Zero-knowledge technology allows one party (the prover) to confirm to another (the verifier) that something exists or is correct, like a password or an amount, without having to reveal what that something is. The essence of Zero-Knowledge proofs is that it is trivial to prove that one possesses knowledge of certain information by simply revealing it.
Given this technological breakthrough, it is no surprise that zkTube has had no shortage of interest from investors. In April 2021, the project raised $1.1 million in its seed round. Just two months later, in June, the zkTube team raised an additional $4 million, and in August, another $2 million. Well funded and with their technology optimized, zkTube Mainnet is ready for launch on September 10th, 2021.
“Aside from zkTube’s low-cost, low environmental impact, and high-speed mining solution, the launch of the PayTube wallet is incredibly exciting. The wallet will be first of its kind, and the added layer of discretion achieved using Zero-Knowledge technology, could not be more timely given the all-too-common stories of NFT platforms and wallets getting hacked nowadays”, said Raul Heraud, zkTube’s COO. Given the additional encryption of the PayTube wallet, zkTube is well-positioned to become a leader in the NFT world. In fact, the group is already in talks with some of the largest players in the GameFi sector.
The zkTube community is strong. Despite the Mainnet not being launched yet, zkTube community has over 200,000 members. The Mining test network has been online for about a month and already has over 135,000 nodes in 81 countries performing 11,000 transactions on a weekly basis. It is clear that early adopters see the value in zkTube’s solutions and want to be part of what is expected to be the first Layer 2 unicorn.
zkTube is based in Melbourne, and it is over 50-people strong, with more than 30 technical engineers and consultants in the field of cryptography. Together, they make up zkTube Labs and PayTube Explore, along with a leadership team that looks after both business units and explores new ideas. Senior management comes from International Blockchain Labs, a well-known Australian fintech company, and world-renowned universities including Deakin University, The Wharton School, and MIT Sloan. Their previous work experience is varied and just as impressive, including big names like JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Bain & Co., and NGS Crypto, Australia’s largest blockchain mining company.
The zkTube team is not stopping with these innovative solutions, as plans for new products, partnerships, and even acquisitions are in the books for the following twelve months. In the not-so-distant future, the group has the ambitious goal of listing on NASDAQ. For now, the focus will be on growing zkTube’s operations in Dubai and Canada, where they already have strong alliances and are in the process of co-building the country’s first official mining pool. Given the results to date, there is little doubt that zkTube will achieve its projected milestones and, likely, even more.