ZetaChain: First Look

November 8, 2023

ZetaChain is a permissionless, Proof-of-Stake, and EVM-compatible omnichain Layer 1. The protocol connects applications built on ZetaChain to all other integrated blockchains within the ecosystem including even non-smart chains like Bitcoin. This gives ZetaChain application developers the ability to build out-of-the-box and cross-chain applications by deploying a single application on ZetaChain. 

What problem does ZetaChain solve?

Interoperability is a critical component of the broader Web3 ecosystem. Without it, assets, users, and applications remain siloed within a single blockchain and can result in fragmented liquidity across DeFi markets. 

Current interoperability protocols like bridges can offer a solutions to liquidity fragmentation, but bridges do not solve the problem of a fragmented user experience when using applications on different blockchains. They also often use questionable security models that wrap and lock tokens, creating patterns of risk for users. ZetaChain’s unique omnichain protocol enables web3 developers to deploy one contract for all chains and users one place to experience apps on any chain from wherever they are in the ecosystem. Users don’t have to worry about having the right gas assets, managing multiple wallets across networks, and dealing with clunky UIs with questionable trust models.

By connecting to other blockchains, ZetaChain brings together native assets, users, and applications in one unified place. The network is able to achieve this by adding unique functionality to their network architecture. 

Zeta’s Interoperability Advantages

No bridging or wrapping: ZetaChain doesn’t require any bridging or wrapping for interactions with supported chains. This reduces the risk associated with cross-chain applications as bridges and wrapping contracts are common attack vectors for malicious actors.

Native smart contracts:  ZetaChain’s Omnichain smart contracts allow for programmability between assets living on different chains. This introduces a number of possibilities for ZetaChain dApps, including more secure cross-chain DeFi and NFT collections that can live in multiple chains.

EVM Compatible: ZetaChain has built-in EVM compatibility. EVM & non-EVM chains alike can take advantage of Ethereum’s security and network effects. ZetaChain is also Bitcoin compatible, allowing for native BTC to be used as an asset for cross-chain DeFi applications.

Network Architecture

There are 3 core validator roles on ZetaChain that provide consensus and interoperability between connected chains:

Core Validators – These provide consensus to ZetaChain’s Layer 1 protocol. ZetaChain is built on the Cosmos SDK and Tendermint, which means that there will be a limited number of core validators (similar to the Cosmos Hub), and ZETA token holders can freely delegate to these validators in order to earn rewards for helping secure the network.

Observer Validators – These validators observe actions on blockchains connected to ZetaChain and send relevant events to ZetaChain’s core validators.

TSS Signer Validators – These validators allow ZetaChain to write/sign transactions from core validators onto connected chains in a decentralized way.

These three roles combined offer an omnichain building environment for smart contract developers with minimal attack vectors. Omnichain Smart Contracts can hold accounts and custody assets on external chains with the ability to execute any arbitrary logic in response to external chain events (via the TSS function).

The Token

The ZETA token is the first native asset and staking token on ZetaChain. It is also used to pay transaction fees for ZetaChain smart contracts and for moving value across other connected blockchains. 

An interesting feature of ZetaChain is that the only native value that can move cross-chain is the ZETA token itself. Zetachain seeks to limit attack vectors from cross-chain transfers while still allowing assets seamless cross-chain transfer.

The initial total supply of ZETA will be set at 2,100,000,000. The ZETA token will be used for staking on the network. 

How to Stake ZETA

ZetaChain is a Delegated Proof-of-Stake network, meaning ZETA holders can stake to a validator’s address and receive staking rewards for helping to secure the value of the network. Validators can also self-bond tokens from their own address.

Here’s a breakdown of the key ZETA staking parameters:

    • Slashing: Slashing is enabled on ZetaChain and slashable offenses are based on Cosmos SDK standards. These primarily include slashing and/or jail time for downtime and double signing. A validator’s self-bond stake can also be slashed for failing to observe or participate in network events. This further incentivizes validators to align with protocol standards.
    • Withdrawal period: 21 days
    • Payouts period: Paid to delegators/stakers in 21 day increments
    • Staking Rewards Rate: TBD – likely low double digits to start
    • Block time: 5 seconds


ZetaChain will be governed by ZETA token holders who stake. ZETA stakers will be able to propose and vote on changes to the network including, but not limited to:

  • Economic Parameters
  • New Chain Integrations
  • Validator Set Increase/Decrease
  • Network Upgrades

Figment involvement

ZetaChain mainnet is currenty live. We currently run a Core Validator, Observer Validator, and a TSS Signer Validator to optimize for rewards on ZETA staking. 

25% of rewards go to observer/signer nodes go to observer/signers and there will only be 9 of them in the validator set.

75% of rewards go to core validators.

ZetaChain History

Testnet: ZetaChain’s first devnet implementation went live in March 2022 and was opened up to the public the following month. It began as a Proof-of-Authority network before migrating to Proof-of–Stake. 

In June of 2023, Zeta launched its ‘long-term testnet’, Athens-3. Currently, 175 validators representing 166 unique organizations have participated in ZetaChain’s testnet. 

Mainnet: ZetaChain recently released more info on ZetaChain 1.0, mainnet, and its product roadmap. Mainnet is live as of January 31st, 2024. 

Staking with Figment

If you are interested in staking, Figment offers a host of services aimed at delivering safe and reliable staking rewards for your assets. Figment is the world’s leading provider of blockchain infrastructure. Our 250+ institutional clients rely on Figment to provide best in class staking services including seamless and easy integrations, complete staking coverage, detailed rewards reporting, insights, and more.

Figment’s Protocol team has extensive ZetaChain knowledge intended to help dive into the specifics such as rewards and staking information. Meet with us to learn more about staking

The information herein is being provided to you for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be, nor should it be relied upon as, legal, business, or investment advice. Figment undertakes no obligation to update the information herein. 


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