Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZKP) is a cryptographic protocol that ensures privacy, which is something that traditional blockchain systems don't do. It lets one person show another person that they know a certain piece of information without giving away any more details about it. In the context of blockchain technology, ZKP can be used to check if a transaction or identity is real without giving away any sensitive information.
The Privacy Concerns in Traditional Blockchain Systems
In traditional blockchain systems, every transaction on the network is available publicly to all the nodes in the network. While this ensures transparency and immutability, it also makes it easy for anyone to see the transaction details. This includes the sender's and receiver's addresses and the amount of cryptocurrency being transferred. This lack of privacy can be a significant issue for individuals and businesses who want to keep their financial transactions private.
ZKP addresses this privacy concern by enabling parties to prove that a certain statement is true. It does this without revealing the statement itself. For example, Alice could prove to Bob that she knows the password to her email account without revealing the password itself.
This is possible by using mathematical algorithms to create proof that the statement is true. But without disclosing any additional information, privacy remains intact.
ZK-SNARK (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge)
In the context of a blockchain, ZKP has ways to prove that a transaction is valid without revealing anything about the sender, the recipient, or the amount that was sent. This is doable by creating a proof that demonstrates that the transaction adheres to the network's consensus rules, without disclosing any of the transaction details. This is called a ZK-SNARK (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge) proof.
ZK-SNARKs are a type of proof that allows one party to prove to another that they have knowledge of a specific piece of information. They do it without revealing any additional information about it. This is possible by using elliptic curve cryptography to create proof that a specific statement is true, without revealing any information about the statement itself. This proof can then be verified by anyone on the network, without revealing any additional information.
How Zero Knowledge Proof Works?
Zero-knowledge proofs are a type of cryptography that can be used to prove that a statement is true. It does this without revealing the statement's contents or how it came to light. This is achievable through algorithms that take data as input and output either "true" or "false." Validity of the zero-knowledge protocol requires meeting three criteria: completeness, soundness, and zero-knowledge.
Completeness means that the protocol will always return 'true' if the input is valid. If the statement is true, and both the prover and verifier are honest, then the proof is acceptable.
It means that if the input is invalid, it is impossible to deceive the protocol into returning 'true.' Therefore, a dishonest prover cannot trick an honest verifier into accepting an invalid statement.
The zero-knowledge requirement says that the person who checks the statement doesn't learn anything about it other than whether it's true or false. The verifier has "zero knowledge" of the statement and can't use the proof to figure out what the original input (the contents of the statement) was. A zero-knowledge proof consists of three components: the witness, the challenge, and the response.
Important Characteristics of Zero Knowledge
In a zero-knowledge proof, the prover aims to prove knowledge of a hidden piece of information known as the "witness." The prover assumes knowledge of the witness, which generates a set of questions that someone with that knowledge can only answer. The prover randomly selects a question, calculates the answer, and sends it to the verifier to start the proving process.
The verifier then randomly selects 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. This response allows the verifier to check if the prover has access to the witness.
The verifier asks more questions to make it harder to fake knowledge so that the prover doesn't just guess blindly. This process continues until the verifier gets satisfaction that the prover has genuine knowledge of the witness.
This interactive process is known as 'interactive zero-knowledge proof'. Early zero-knowledge protocols used this interactive method, where the prover and verifier had to talk back and forth to make sure the statement was true.
An Easy Example to Understand the Zero Knowledge Concept
Jean-Jacques Quisquater's famous "Ali Baba" cave story provides a clear illustration of how interactive proofs operate. The story involves Peggy, the prover, attempting to prove to Victor, the verifier that she knows the secret phrase to open a magic door. But she does this without disclosing the phrase itself.
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