How private is your privacy
Blockchain technology is revolutionizing financial industry, dramatically changing the way we transfer money. There is no more need to rely on authority, instead you can use decentralized infrastructure to issue and manage money. But decentralization goes with a certain price for it’s advantages. All accounts and transactions become absolutely transparent for community through public blockchain. To resolve that problem several protocols were invented: CryptoNote & Ring Signatures, Zero Knowledge Proof, Enigma developed in MTI, Ekiden developed by Oasis Labs. All of them have their pros and cons. One of the most popular and balanced in term of cryptocurrencies’ applications is Zero Knowledge protocol that was implemented through zk-SNARKs algorithms. Nowadays some cryptocurrencies are already using zk-SNARKs protocol. It secures transactions and accounts, shields them from community and helps keeping your privacy. Zk-SNARKs scope sounds perfect though recent evolution of zk-technology named zk-STARKs is about to improve privacy issues.
One of the main controversial issue of zk-SNARKs is “trusted setup”. It means that starting of zk-SNARKs blockchain includes generation of initial parameters that should be destroyed in order to obey privacy. If someone will know initial parameters, he will be able to generate false proofs and compromise the whole decentralized system. Think about it. For instance can you trust elections running on zk-SNARKs platform, if there is a chance that initial parameters are not destroyed and it’s possible to forge the results? Zk-STARKs algorithms do not need secret initials parameters leading to much greater level of trust in solutions based on this technology.
Technical features of zk-STARKs
There is also technical weaknesses of zk-SNARKs systems. Generation of proof is 10 times faster in zk-STARKs. And what is more important, zk-STARKs verifier time doesn’t grow linearly with the rise of chains to proof unlike zk-SNARKs. It means, that it would take substantially less time to provide zk-STARKs transactions in comparison with zk-SNARKs and efficiency of zk-STARKs blockchain wouldn’t so rapidly decrease with the rising of blocks chain. We must admit that size of proof in zk-STARKs is thousand times greater than zk-SNARKs one, though total zk-STARKs communication complexity may be even less than zk-SNARKs. Experiments show that joining to existing zk-STARKs blockchain takes a fractions of second and 1.2 Mb of communication, while the same zk-SNARKs process takes 28 minutes and 18.9 Gb of communication. Altogether it shows better scalability of zk-STARKs technology. There is another zk-STARKs advantage that may play role in future. It’s algorithms are unsusceptible to quantum computing attacks. It means that you can be calm about your privacy within zk-STARKs blockchain no matter of quantum computers success.
Stay on edge
All this benefits of zk-STARKs technology make it very popular in blockchain industry. Many of teams are researching this technology and suppose to implement it in their solutions, but none of them were released. We are not standing away that conception and also research zk-STARKs conception because we are sure that it’s the best existing way to go further in providing higher level of privacy and long term stability for blockchain. Blockchain technologies do develop rapidly and we are tend to be at the edge of innovations.
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