A Zero Knowledge (ZK) protocol is a privacy-first verification method that allows two parties to engage without having to reveal any personal information to complete the transaction. In recent days, the buzz around these ZK protocols seems to have steamed up in the blockchain sector. Recently, for instance, former Tornado Cash developer Ameen Soleimani said he was creating a new crypto mixer platform that will allow users to verify their identities via zero knowledge proofs. With this, the users will be able to prove that they are not linked to any notorious cybercriminal group without sharing any personal details like phone numbers or email ids to use the upcoming crypto mixer.
ZK protocols essentially gets all transactions secured on the blockchains via cryptography — which is a way of protecting information within complex codes to prevent it against bad actors.
A ZK verification usually takes place between two parties — the prover and the verifier.
In activated ZK protocols, provers need to confirm that they have the knowledge about the information they are trying to access, without revealing any details around their identities.
Here’s How ZK Protocols Work
Completeness and soundness are the two criteria, which the prover needs to verify to get the verifier to authenticate their access, the Binance Academy said in a post.
To fulfil the completeness criteria, the prover will need to provide an accurate relevant information about the subject.
For the soundness check, the prover should be able to predict if the prover actually holds the required information or not.
“Zero-knowledge protocols work by using clever mathematical techniques and interactive processes. It’s a way of building trust and maintaining privacy at the same time. In the coming days, ZK protocols will become more popular as a blockchain feature as they increase privacy and security while also spiking the scalability of the network,” blockchain architect Rohas Nagpal told Gadgets 360.
Usecases of ZK Protocols
Websites and blockchain-backed dApps can implement ZK protocols to eliminate the need for users to disclose personal credentials to enter 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 concealed from the public blockchain.
More Web3 platforms are now incorporating the ZK protocol to verify that their users are neither bots nor unauthorised to access its platforms. Not only could ZK protocols help developers save cost, but it could also add more security over transactions.
Worldcoin, a crypto unicorn, is using the zero-knowledge cryptography in a software development kit that its offering blockchain developers.
ZK protocols can also add more safety and privacy to file system controls, storage protection, and data security.