A zero-knowledge protocol (ZK) is a privacy-first-verification method that allows two parties to engage without having to disclose personal information to complete the transaction. In the past few days, the excitement surrounding these ZK protocols in the blockchain space seems to have picked up steam. For example, recently former Tornado Cash developer Ameen Soleimani said he is creating a new crypto mixer platform that will allow users to verify their identity via zero-knowledge proofs. With it, the users can prove that they are not affiliated with any notorious cybercriminal group without sharing any personal information like phone numbers or email ids to use the upcoming crypto mixer.
ZK protocols essentially secure all transactions on the blockchains using cryptography – a way of protecting information within complex codes to protect it from bad actors.
ZK verification usually takes place between two parties – the prover and the verifier.
In activated ZK protocols, auditors must confirm that they have knowledge of the information they want to access without revealing details about their identity.
This is how ZK protocols work
Completeness and solidity are the two criteria that the verifier must verify in order for the verifier to authenticate their access, Binance Academy said in a post.
To meet the completeness criteria, the reviewer must provide accurate relevant information about the topic.
For the plausibility check, the Prover should be able to predict whether the Prover actually has the required information or not.
“Zero-knowledge protocols use clever mathematical techniques and interactive processes. It’s a way to build trust while maintaining privacy. In the coming days, ZK protocols will become more popular as a blockchain feature as they increase privacy and security while increasing network scalability,” blockchain architect Rohas Nagpal told Gadgets 360.
Use cases of ZK protocols
Websites and blockchain-powered dApps can implement ZK protocols to eliminate the need for users to reveal personal credentials to access their ecosystems.
The Zcash cryptocurrency uses zero-knowledge proofs to facilitate transactions with another layer of privacy and anonymity. To process transactions in the Zcash Altcoin, the sender and recipient addresses as well as the transaction amounts are hidden from the public blockchain.
More Web3 platforms are now integrating the ZK protocol to verify that their users are neither bots nor unauthorized to access their platforms. ZK protocols could not only help developers to save costs, but also provide more security in transactions.
Worldcoin, a crypto unicorn, uses zero-knowledge cryptography in a software development kit offered by its blockchain developers.
ZK protocols can also provide more security and privacy for file system controls, storage protection, and data security.