Popular on the Ethereum blockchain, zk-proofs are also coming to the Bitcoin network.
ZeroSync Association brings zk (Zero Knowledge) proof to Bitcoin (BTC) even as cryptographic techniques become popular on the Ethereum blockchain. Reports indicate that ZeroSync, a Swiss nonprofit, has received sponsorship from crypto investment platforms Geometry Research and StarkWare Industries. The newly formed association already has a working prototype, allowing users to validate the status and transaction history of the Bitcoin blockchain. ZeroSync’s prototype achieves this without downloading the entire chain or trusting a third party.
The ZeroSync Bitcoin zk-proofs prototype can verify Bitcoin consensus rules but not transaction signatures. Moreover, the prototype also seems slow and still needs speed and security optimization. Despite these limitations, the main lesson from the development of the prototype is that it works. Commenting on the Bitcoin zk-proof prototype, ZeroSync co-founder Robin Linus explain in a media session:
“It’s really at the prototype stage. But the grand vision is that you download that megabyte of evidence, and it’s as good as if you downloaded all 500 gigabytes.
On ZeroSync’s ability to verify transactions via cryptographic proof rather than just trusting honest nodes as suggested by pseudonymous bitcoin developer Satoshi Nakamoto, Linus said:
“You don’t have to trust; that’s the problem. The evidence proves it to you; it is the great invention.
In the Bitcoin whitepaper, Satoshi discussed the concept of Simple Payment Verification (SPV) nodes that exist on the BTC blockchain. According to the pseudonymous Bitcoin developer, these nodes are essential for small devices like mobile phones that cannot download the entire blockchain. “Verification is reliable as long as honest nodes control the network,” Satoshi said at the time. However, the author of the Bitcoin whitepaper also pointed out that the verification process is compromised during a network cyberattack.
ZeroSync Bitcoin zk-Proofs built on StarkWare programming language
ZeroSync uses Cairo, a programming language compatible with StarkWare, for the first version of its software. Weighing in on ZeroSync’s potential to transform the Bitcoin blockchain, StarkWare Ecosystem Manager Louis Guthmann said, “ZeroSync is the first production attempt to radically upgrade the Bitcoin protocol. It would transform how people perceive the system at a fundamental level.”
The zk-proof cryptographic technique has created a developer toolkit to facilitate applications such as proof of reserves on exchanges. Additionally, ZeroSync is also looking to enable transaction history compression on second-layer protocols such as Lightning Labs’ Taro.
Zero-knowledge proofs deploy cryptography to prove the validity of information without revealing the information itself. Using zk-proofs to validate the Bitcoin network allows nodes to sync instantly instead of taking hours or days to upload excessive data.
zk-proofs on Ethereum
Zk proofs have exploded in popularity on the Ethereum network, with the recently launched Polygon zkEVM beta being a prime example. Reports yesterday indicated that the Polygon zkEVM mainnet beta was offering decentralized application (dApp) users lower gas fees.
The announcement also revealed that Ethereum co-developer Vitalik Buterin will make the first transaction on the network’s zk virtual machine beta.
Tolu is a Lagos-based cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the essentials so that anyone, anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge. When not immersed in crypto stories, Tolu loves music, likes to sing, and is a movie buff.