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Admin role and governance

Polygon zkEVM’s Admin consists of three (3) developers of the Polygon team, who oversee any upgrades of the zk-rollup software.

Whenever there are bug fixes or updates to be made, the Admin uses a special Admin Multisig Contract to approve the changes.

Approval by any two of the three Admin members (2-out-of-3) is required.

However, there’s a minimum 10-day waiting period before the changes get executed.

The 10-day delay allows users to carefully assess the proposed changes and decide whether to exit or not.

Another smart contract called Timelock Contract is responsible for enabling the 10-day delay.

An outline of the upgrade process is outlined here.

Admin contract in detail

The Admin owns the Ethereum account that controls the Consensus contract, and it is the only account that can call the following functions;

  • setTrustedSequencer
  • setForceBatchAllowed
  • setTrustedSequencerURL
  • setTrustedAggregator
  • setTrustedAggregatorTimeout
  • setPendingStateTimeout
  • setMultiplierBatchFee
  • setVeryBatchTimeTarget
  • setAdmin
  • deactivateEmergencyState

All ProxyAdmin.sol instances that can upgrade the contract implementations of the zkEVM Protocol belong to the Admin account.

Moreover, all proxies are owned by the Admin account, making it the only account (other than the Security Council Multisig) authorized to make modifications to the contracts used to implement the zkEVM Protocol.

Timelock controller

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What is Timelock Controller

Timelock Controller is a smart contract that enables setting up a delay to provide users some time to leave before applying potentially risky maintenance procedures.

The Timelock Controller has been added to the zkEVM Protocol in order to improve user security and confidence.

The Admin can schedule and commit maintenance operations transactions in L1 using a Timelock Controller, and the timelock can be activated to carry out the transactions when a specified minDelay time has passed.

The Polygon zkEVM team has decided to use the OpenZeppelin’s TimelockController.sol contract to inherit security as well to avoid the lengthy and complicated audit process. We have changed the getMinDelay method in the contract and this modified implementation is named PolygonZkEVMTimelock.sol contract.

In the event that the zkEVM contract system is in Emergency Mode, the new getMinDelay will set the time minDelay to 0. This is when the Security Council Multisig takes control.

The zKEVM Protocol’s Admin role is set to an instance of PolygonZkEVMTimelock.sol contract address since the deployment of the zk-rollup.

Governance of zKEVM contracts

The Admin carries significant and critical responsibility, which is why it is composed of three (3) members as opposed to just one person. For this reason, the Admin Ethereum account of a PolygonZkEVMTimelock.sol contract instance is assigned to a multisig contract that acts as a governance tool for the zkEVM Protocol, therefore achieving some degree of overall decentralization.

Below figure shows the governance tree of Polygon zkEVM L1 contracts.

governance tree of zkEVM L1 contracts

Protocol maintenance operations can only be performed by following these steps:

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Due to the governance chain among protocol contracts, all transactions generally follow the below steps.

  1. Maintenance operations transactions are proposed and stored into governance multisig contract. Polygon team reaches a consensus on whether or not to apply these operations. Voting inherits security from L1.

  2. Once a decision has been reached, and the results are favorable to perform maintenance operations, the governance multisig can be triggered to schedule the transactions to be executed but only when the 10-day time delay has passed.

  3. Once a time delay has passed, the Timelock Contract dubbed PolygonZkEVMTimelock.sol executes the scheduled transactions.


Last update: December 6, 2023
Authors: EmpieichO (95.65%), Nadim Kobeissi (4.35%)