Zero Knowledge Proof (ZK) technology may sound a bit complicated at first, but its potential applications can help make a lot of your online activity much more private. This article, Twendee will share about what exactly meant by the term “zero knowledge proof technology” as well as the capabilities and advantages available through ZK.
What is Zero Knowledge Proof?
Wikipedia explains that: “In cryptography, a Zero Knowledge proof or Zero Knowledge protocol is a method by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that a given statement is true while the prover avoids conveying any additional information apart from the fact that the statement is indeed true.”
In fact, Zero Knowledge proofs first appeared in a 1985 paper, “The knowledge complexity of interactive proof systems” which provides a definition of Zero Knowledge proofs widely used today:
A Zero Knowledge protocol is a method by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that something is true, without revealing any information apart from the fact that this specific statement is true.
Zero Knowledge proofs have improved over the years and they are now being used in several real-world applications.
Entering blockchain technology
Blockchains bring a great degree of transparency to our digital economies, but having every transaction recorded on a public ledger presents privacy concerns and increases the amount of data circulating. Even though public addresses are a random grouping of numbers and letters, if an address is linked to a person or entity, then it’s possible for anyone to see all of their transactions, both past and moving forward.
Zero Knowledge technology is the missing part of the privacy puzzle. We do not need to have all our information transparent for the world to see. Instead, we could use a verification system to make sure that information is available to others without knowing what that information is via a Zero Knowledge proof.
For example, Zero Knowledge technology allows individuals, businesses and governments to verify data such as transactions and personal information or identification without handing over control of the information. This is a more secure way to verify information and relieves congestion by removing the need to send and store the information on Layer 1.
As the Ethereum network becomes more congested, the key use case of Zero Knowledge technology will be its ability to drastically improve scalability and reduce fees associated with cryptocurrency transactions.
Why do we need Zero Knowledge Proof Technology
Zero Knowledge Proof represented a breakthrough in applied cryptography, as they promised to improve security of information for individuals. Consider how you might prove a claim (ex: “I am a citizen of X country”) to another party (ex: a service provider). You’d need to provide “evidence” to back up your claim, such as a national passport or driver’s license.
But there are problems with this approach, chiefly the lack of privacy. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) shared with third-party services is stored in central databases, which are vulnerable to hacks. With identity theft becoming a critical issue, there are calls for more privacy-protecting means of sharing sensitive information.
Zero Knowledge Proof solves this problem by eliminating the need to reveal information to prove validity of claims. The Zero Knowledge protocol uses the statement (called a ‘witness’) as input to generate a succinct proof of its validity. This proof provides strong guarantees that a statement is true without exposing the information used in creating it.
Going back to our earlier example, the only evidence you need to prove your citizenship claim is a Zero Knowledge proof. The verifier only has to check if certain properties of the proof hold true to be convinced that the underlying statement holds true as well.
Advantages of Zero Knowledge Proof Technology
Zero Knowledge proof technology might be used in an extensive range of applications such as credit card authorization, account confirmation, and identity validation,…because this technology contains lots of advantages.
Security: ZK helps protect private information and avoid the disclosure of important information.
Proving the correctness of information: ZK allows to prove the correctness of an information without having to disclose the relevant information.
Feasibility: ZK can be deployed on many different systems without requiring too many computing resources.
Anti-forgery: ZK allows for the verification of the authenticity of information without having to disclose any additional information. Thus, it helps to prevent the forgery of information or meetings between parties.
Integrity: ZK ensures the integrity of the information shared between the parties, as it does not require the parties to disclose any information about the original data.
Wide application: ZK has many applications in various fields, such as access security, user authentication, data authentication, secure login, and financial transactions.
How does Zero Knowledge proof work?
A Zero Knowledge proof allows you to prove the truth of a statement without sharing the statement’s contents or revealing how you discovered the truth. To make this possible, Zero Knowledge protocols rely on algorithms that take some data as input and return ‘true’ or ‘false’ as output.
A Zero Knowledge protocol must satisfy the following criteria:
If the input is valid, the Zero Knowledge protocol always returns ‘true’. Hence, if the underlying statement is true, and the prover and verifier act honestly, the proof can be accepted.
If the input is invalid, it is theoretically impossible to fool the Zero Knowledge protocol to return ‘true’. Hence, a lying prover cannot trick an honest verifier into believing an invalid statement is valid (except with a tiny margin of probability).
The verifier learns nothing about a statement beyond its validity or falsity (they have “zero knowledge” of the statement). This requirement also prevents the verifier from deriving the original input (the statement’s contents) from the proof.
In basic form, a Zero Knowledge proof is made up of three elements: witness, challenge, and response.
With a Zero Knowledge proof, the prover wants to prove knowledge of some hidden information. The secret information is the “witness” to the proof, and the prover’s assumed knowledge of the witness establishes a set of questions that can only be answered by a party with knowledge of the information. Thus, the prover starts the proving process by randomly choosing a question, calculating the answer, and sending it to the verifier.
The verifier randomly picks another question from the set and asks the prover to answer it.
The prover accepts the question, calculates the answer, and returns it to the verifier. The prover’s response allows the verifier to check if the former really has access to the witness. To ensure the prover isn’t guessing blindly and getting the correct answers by chance, the verifier picks more questions to ask. By repeating this interaction many times, the possibility of the prover faking knowledge of the witness drops significantly until the verifier is satisfied.
The above describes the structure of an ‘interactive Zero Knowledge proof’. Early Zero Knowledge protocols used interactive proving, where verifying the validity of a statement required back-and-forth communication between proverbs and verifiers.
Zero Knowledge Proof’s Investment Opportunities?
At the same time, BNB Chain adds that it will accelerate ZK Tooling in 2023 . At the same time, Binance also aims to “more than triple” the number of validators to ensure better network governance.
Many projects are in the process of developing ZK technology and have made certain progress: Polygon’s zkEVM, StarkNet’s token launch, zkSync 2.0 (zkSync’s zkEVM) rebranding to zkSync Era and opening Fair Launch Alpha…
Some notable projects in the ZK array are:
Mina Protocol (MINA): Mina Protocol is a potential project that has received a total of 136.7 million USD in investment through 6 rounds of funding, MINA has been sold ICO through Coinlist. This Mina Protocol ICO takes place from April 13 to April 16, 2021 at a price of $0.25.
Dusk Network (DUSK): Dusk Network has a working partnership with Bitfinex and Ethfinex, and is a member of the Binance Information Transparency initiative. Dusk Network conducted an open sale from August 2018 to November 2018 at $0.0404 per DUSK, raising ETH at $176.45/ETH.
ZigZag (ZZ): AMM project on zkSync – ZigZag intends to conduct an airdrop for early adopters of the platform. At 22:00 on June 24, ZigZag will sell 2% of the total supply of 100 million $ZZ management tokens on its exchange. Promising for a wave of ZK in the market next time.
Metis Network (METIS): Metis – Layer 2 platform using Optimistic Rollup technology on Ethereum backed by “Mother Vitalik”. Using ZK technology, Metis will provide a new way to validate transactions quickly and avoid security risks.
Immutable X (IMX): Immutable X has launched a $500 million fund called Immutable Ventures that will be drawn from investment from Animoca Brands, BITKRAFT Ventures, GameStop, Arrington Capital, King River Capital, AirTree and Double Peak.
There are also other notable names such as: Aleo , StarkNet , zkSync …
Zero-Knowledge Proof is a great technology, although it is not new, but its application to the development of the Blockchain industry is still a lot of new things that need to be examined and proven by practice. Twendee is a leading technology company in Blockchain services in Vietnam. Zero Knowledge Proof is one of the key applications invested in by Twendee in developing Blockchain solutions and products for the company as well as those of partners and customers.
Enterprises who are interested in Zero-Knowledge Proof technology and expect new waves of this technology shouldn’t forget to leave a message for Twendee, our team will bring you great solutions.