ZkLend, the decentralized money market protocol native to Starknet, an Ethereum Layer 2, completed its mainnet launch on Oct. 19.

Users can now permissionlessly deposit assets to earn yield or borrow tokens via zkLend’s retail-focussed platform, Artemis.

The alpha mainnet deployment for Artemis went live on May 11, offering capped support for ETH, USDC, USDT, DAI, and WBTC. zkLend marked the completion of its mainnet launch by removing the pool limits today. It also introduces support for Lido’s liquid staking token, stETH.

ZkLend added that it plans to serve institutional users via its forthcoming “Apollo” platform. Apollo is a permissioned interface offering compliance features tailored for institutional users.

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Starknet Activity Rises

Starknet recently emerged as a major contender in the race to scale Ethereum, with the network currently ranking as the second-most active Layer 2 by daily throughput and the fourth-most popular by monthly activity, according to L2beat.

Starknet’s on-chain activity took off in late July when its daily throughput exceeded three transactions per second (TPS) for only the second time. Its daily throughput climbed steadily over the following six weeks to tag an all-time high of 10.16 TPS on Sept. 9, but has since pulled back by 42%.

Unlike most Layer 2s, Starknet has foregone Ethereum Virtual Machine compatibility in favor of developing its own smart contract engine and bespoke programming language, Cairo.

While EVM-compatible chains benefit by allowing developers to easily port code over from the Ethereum mainnet, Starknet and its ecosystem projects believe Cairo offers greater scalability and performance than its EVM-based rivals.

“The decision to forego EVM compatibility is a strategic investment in the unparalleled scalable technology of the Cairo VM, highlighting the benefits realized when not restricted by EVM design,” zkLend told The Defiant. “It is more flexible and robust, with less compromises from custom pre-compiles, catering to developers that are looking to innovate and build their own application framework.”

ZkLend is the fourth-largest DeFi protocol on Starknet despite only exiting its alpha launch phase today. The protocol boasts a $4.5M total value locked, according to DeFi Llama.

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Brian Fu, the co-founder of zkLend, said the protocol plans to launch on other Layer 2 networks and offer cross-chain money market services in the future.

“zkLend aims to become the liquidity layer that facilitates credit in an omni-network state by consolidating deposits and borrowings across different L2 rollups,” Fu said.

LSTs on zkLend

ZkLend also launched support for Lido’s liquid staking token (LSTs), stETH, on Oct. 19.

However, the news comes as Lido faces increasing criticism from the web3 community for refusing to self-limit its market share despite its validators controlling 31.5% of staked Ether’s supply. Researchers have warned that any single entity controlling a third of staked Ether could undermine the decentralization of Ethereum.

ZkLend told The Defiant it plans to extend support to multiple different LSTs in the future. Additionally, the team is exploring LST-backed stablecoins such as Tenet’s LSDC token.

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