Episode 179: Diving into Arbitrum’s Optimistic Rollup

This week, Anna and James host Ed Felten and Steven Goldfeder, co-founders of Arbitrum, an Optimistic Rollup project born before the term “Optimistic Rollup” was even coined.

Ed and Steven tell Arbitrum’s story, from its beginnings as a chain-agnostic university project in 2014 to become an Ethereum-based Optimistic L2 Rollup solution based on fraud proofs. They cover Arbitrum’s interactive fraud proofs, how they differ from other solutions like Optimism, and how Arbitrum and the Optimistic Rollup helps Ethereum scale.

Here are some links for this episode:


If you're looking to work in blockchain and the zk space, check out the ZK Jobs board! You'll find great opportunities to work at the forefront of blockchain tech, divided into business, engineering and cryptography positions.

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Thanks to this episode’s sponsor, Aave

Aave is an open source, decentralised non-custodial liquidity protocol on Ethereum.

With Aave, users can participate as depositors meaning they provide liquidity to earn a passive income. or they can also act as borrowers to borrow in an overcollateralized way or undercollateralized way (think: one-block liquidity Flash Loan).

Aave recently deployed a new market on Polygon’s sidechain to let users pay much lower gas fees. Assets can be transferred from Ethereum with the Polygon Bridge and put to use on Aave’s Polygon markets.

Learn more about it here.

So thanks again, Aave!


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Previous Episodes

Episode 325: Web Proofs with Tracy from Pluto

In this week’s episode Anna chats with Tracy Livengood, co-founder of Pluto; an applied cryptography org building developer tools which add verifiable data from web data to an on-chain application, using ZK.

They discuss Tracy’s move from being an engineer in Web2, what prompted his move into the decentralized web and how he eventually found his way into the ZK space. He shares the concept of ‘Web Proofs’, and how Pluto can use some of the TLSNotary stack to bring private web data into on-chain applications, as well as a future tool set he hopes to develop with the project.

Episode 324: Discovering New Elliptic Curves with Antonio Sanso and Youssef El Housni

This week, Anna and Nico catch up with Antonio Sanso, Researcher at the Ethereum Foundation and Youssef El Housni, Engineer at ConsenSys and builder of Linea.

They discuss Antonio and Youssef’s new work, Families of prime-order endomorphism-equipped embedded curves on pairing-friendly curves, and dive into Elliptic Curve cryptography, Bandersnatch and Verkle Tries amongst much more, before dissecting what terms in the title of this paper truly mean. After getting into the weeds of cryptographic technicalities, the group explores where this work could be used and what it would enable.

Episode 323: The Role of Reth with Georgios

This week, Anna and Tarun catch up with Georgios Konstantopoulos, CTO of Paradigm and long-standing friend of the ZK Pod!

First they cover the work Georgios has been doing since he last appeared on the show, covering everything from updates on Foundry to the more recent work on Reth. They then dig into what makes it different, what inspires its design, where it is heading and the eventual end goals of the project. They also chat about the general client node landscape, from the ETH 2.0 research days to present day, before diving into discussing different clients from different teams, how this diversity can protect a chain and how each client can differ.

Episode 322: Definitions, Security and Sumcheck in ZK Systems with Justin Thaler

In this week’s episode, Anna and Guillermo catch up with Justin Thaler, Associate Professor at Georgetown and Research Partner at a16z.

The group dive into a handful of points from Justin’s ‘17 Misconceptions about SNARKs’ article, discussing if his views have changed since it was published back in 2023 and whether some points have become common knowledge since the article first rippled through the ZK community. They then dive into his new zkVM Jolt, which was initially described along with Lasso in 2023, but has now been implemented and is open to contributions from the community.

Episode 321: STIR with Gal Arnon & Giacomo Fenzi

In this week’s episode, Anna and Kobi chat with Gal Arnon, Ph.D student from the Weizmann Institute of Science & Giacomo Fenzi, Ph.D. student in the COMPSEC Lab at EPFL.

Gal and Giacomo are amongst the co-authors of ‘STIR: Reed–Solomon Proximity Testing with Fewer Queries’ and in this conversation, they discuss how their research led them to work on these topics and where the thesis for this particular work sparked from. They set the stage by exploring the history of FRI and discussing some hidden nuances in how FRI works. And then they introduce STIR, a system that can be used in place of FRI, which incorporates various optimisations to improve the performance.

Episode 320: A Deep Dive into Shared Sequencers with Espresso’s Ben Fisch

In this week’s episode, Anna and Brendan Farmer catch up with Ben Fisch, CEO of Espresso Systems. They explore the inner workings of the current L2 sequencing landscape and then discuss how a shared sequencing marketplace like Espresso works. They touch on how MEV plays a part in the new system, how the role of the sequencer can be separated into subroles, how all these parts will work together in such a system and much more.

Episode 319: The Past & Present of the L2 Landscape with Jordi Baylina

In this week’s episode, Anna catches up with Jordi Baylina, OG Ethereum contributor and Polygon zkEVM Technical Lead. They cover what Jordi has been working on since he was last on the show in 2021. Back then, zkEVMs were still just an idea. Now that many of these systems have launched, they have a chance to look at how these fit into the general L2 landscape.

They cover Jordi’s view on engineering decentralized systems and how these are rolled out, and the recent research from Polygon, including their AggLayer proposal. They wrap up on what inspires him to keep contributing in the space.

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