What is Atlas?
Atlas is the first ever blockchain platform that offers Ethereum level security, while being able to handle thousands of transactions per second for your app.
- Ethereum level security of assets
- Impossible for anyone to falsify transactions
- High scale (2000 TPS)
- Create a zkEVM chain in 1 click
- 1 command deploy
Atlas chains are zkEVMs. A zkEVM is an EVM compatible chain that use zero knowledge proofs to verify all transactions that occur on it. It is mathematically impossible to falsify any transactions on the chain. This results in previously impossible capabilities for a blockchain: Ethereum level security AND extremely high scale (up to 2000 TPS)
Every Atlas chain is its own Layer 2 that rolls up to Ethereum.
Unlike most layer 2s, you do not share the chain with other apps. Since this chain is just for your app, we call it an “app chain”. This means you don’t compete for block space against other apps, significantly reducing gas prices.
Atlas is uniquely suited for building protocols that serve as the backends for high scale apps. You could build a decentralized social network, a game economy, ride sharing network, and more. Many of these apps are simply not possible to build with existing infrastructure. To show off the types of apps that can be built, we made a fully on chain discord using an Atlas app chain.
Since we are leveraging zero knowledge proofs, Atlas chains are able to inherit security from Ethereum’s consensus. It is impossible to falsify any transactions or steal assets on an Atlas chain. Even if we were hacked, it would be impossible to generate a valid proof to transfer assets without the owner’s permission.
This is not true with any non ZK based rollup. Other rollups (such as optimistic based) rely on a sufficiently decentralized node network to ensure security, rather than math. It is VERY difficult to have a sufficiently decentralized network, only Ethereum and Bitcoin have been able to achieve this. The unfortunate reality of these networks, despite what they deceptively advertise, is that they are highly centralized, and run the majority of nodes. This means they can be easily manipulated by the controlling party.
Rather than a validator network, a zkEVM has a prover (for generating proofs to submit to the L1) and a sequencer (for ordering transactions). We run the prover and sequencer on your behalf. This guarantees safety of assets, since it’s mathematically impossible for us to generate a fraudulent proof. However, a centralized prover and sequencer means that the network is not fully censorship resistant, as we could theoretically not include a transaction when generating proofs. There is also not 100% guaranteed uptime as exists on Ethereum, because our prover and sequencer could theoretically go down, pausing new transactions until they come back online.
In the future, we will offer an alternative to our managed prover and sequencer: users can submit their transactions to a network of provers of sequencers, any of whom can publish a transaction. This will ensure 100% censorship resistance and 100% uptime, but will have lower throughput and be more expensive.
Users can withdraw any funds via the Layer 1 bridge contracts at any time, without approval needed from anyone.
App chains trade atomic composability and shared liquidity for scale and low gas prices. If you need to build something that requires atomic composability with other apps and/or a lot of liquidity on the chain, you likely are better off building on a shared chain (Layer 1 or 2).
Take Uniswap for example. Uniswap works by letting users trade in liquidity pools for token contracts deployed to Ethereum. For this to work, there has to be:
- token contracts deployed to the same chain as the Uniswap contracts
- liquidity locked in the Uniswap contracts
These are unlikely to be the case on an app chain. As a result, apps that require similar functionality to Uniswap currently need to remain on shared chains.