Bitcoin / ZK-Rollup Research Fellowship

Sponsored by HRF and Starkware

ZK-rollups are a smart contract technology that offload computationally-intensive work from a main blockchain to a segregated layer. Although somewhat nascent, there are multiple instances of working ZK-rollup solutions deployed in production today, primarily on the Ethereum network. 

Could ZK-rollups one day help the Bitcoin network with scaling or privacy?

HRF and Starkware are sponsoring a 4-month research fellow to help answer this question.

The product of the fellowship will be an industry concept paper that addresses the following:

1) Can ZK-rollups help improve Bitcoin scalability?

2) What would ZK-rollup-based Bitcoin apps look like?

3) Are there any ways in which ZK-rollups could help upgrade or complement the Lightning Network — or would they be an entirely different structure?

4) How would Bitcoin Core need to change to integrate ZK-rollups? Are there any known current improvement proposals (e.g. OP_CTV) that would help?

5) What would be the main downsides and risks of bringing ZK-rollups to Bitcoin?

6) Are there ways to combine ZK-rollup scalability benefits with privacy benefits on Bitcoin? If so, to which extent and at what cost?

The fellowship is being created with the acknowledgment that ZK-rollups may not be a helpful or appropriate addition to Bitcoin, but with the open mind that they might be.

The fellow will receive 1 BTC to support their efforts during the research and writing period. This gift is made possible partly from Starkware, and partly from a recent donation made to HRF by CMS Holdings.

Applications can be sent to [email protected]. Please include relevant information about your industry or academic background, a research plan in terms of who you will speak to, and your current sense of the impact ZK-rollups could have for Bitcoin.  Applications are no longer being taken.