Cryptocurrencies introduced cutting-edge technologies encouraged by the increasing concerns regarding security and privacy. Following every crypto scepticism, we witness an innovation that restores trust and confidence in blockchain technology.
Despite the robust security system embedded in the private key and smart contract protocols, hackers still find their way to breaching transactions and dry wallets from their funds. Therefore, today, we will discuss a new security practice that can promote blockchain security.
Zero-knowledge fundamentals can be challenging to grasp. However, we will simplify the process in the following.
Understanding ZK-Proof Protocol?
In the 1980s, MIT founded a security protocol that would safeguard information and transaction data using a foolproof method called zero-knowledge proof. The concept is based on the idea that information cannot be hacked if it is not revealed or known. Thus, none of the parties participating in the transaction process can view or know the details of a transaction or any other classified information.
The ZK-Proof protocol puts a cover on the information processed in blockchain transactions or any secured data, which decreases the chances of data breaches and cyber-attacks.
Understanding how information can be processed and verified without knowing its content might be confusing. However, it simply implies proving that the other party knows the content without revealing it.
How ZK-Proofs Work?
The ZK-proof practice works as the following. Assume James is holding a red ball and a blue ball, and he asks Alice to verify this fact and differentiate the colours of both balls. However, James cannot distinguish colours, and all he can do is shuffle the balls many times (15-20 times) and ask Alice to tell the colours after every attempt.
If Alice manages to tell the colours of the balls correctly after every attempt and without committing one single mistake, there is a very low chance that Alice is lying or is randomly telling the colours.
This process proves that Alice can actually verify the information without revealing it to James. Therefore, James can get proof while having zero knowledge of the content of the data being verified.
This example simplifies the ZK-proof protocol, which implies repeating the verification process multiple times to strengthen the proof that the other party can verify the transaction details without revealing them.
In the above example, we used two coloured balls, and the probability of guessing them correctly is 1 out of 2, or 50%. However, by repeating the process ten or a hundred times, the probability drops to fractions, which emphasises the ability to prove with zero knowledge.
Use Cases of ZK-Proofs
ZK-proofs were invented in the 1980s, way before cryptocurrencies appeared or blockchain technology was created. The notion of ZK-proofs was to safeguard information amidst the digitalisation of the platforms and operations. Scientists speculated that the new digital world would impose a risk on privacy and personal information and invented a way to conceal the data and verify them without exposing them.
Therefore, ZK-proofs has a broad range of use cases, including healthcare, finance, law, politics and many more aspects that involve sensitive data and personal information. Businesses can benefit from the increased security that the zero-knowledge-proof system provides.
ZK rollups and ZK snarks are two common variations of the ZK-proof protocol used in transaction data. ZK-snarks are distinguished models because they do not require any of the parties to review the smallest fraction of the transaction.
Benefits of ZK-proofs
The robustness of ZK-proofs has not yet been tested or put into practice on a large scale in cryptocurrencies. However, it is a promising model that can provide the following advantages.
The demands for a security protocol are increasing in light of the rising cyber attacks and hacks, such as pig butchering, sandwich attacks or bridge attacks. Hackers usually target crypto transfers and aim for large blockchain transactions due to data exposure.
Hackers manipulate the network and place malicious operators using transactional information. However, ZK-proofs ensure that data is not exposed, giving no tools for hackers to exploit the network.
ZKP approach can be used on a larger scale than only cryptocurrencies. As mentioned, this protocol was founded decades before Satoshi Nakamoto created the blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Therefore, the use cases for the ZK-proof model are limitless and can be applied in any industry that entails secret information and data exchange.
Zero-proof knowledge protocol implies verifying the transaction information without reviewing the content of the data being processed, transferred or executed. Therefore, this method minimises the chances of crypto hacks by concealing sensitive information and personal data.
ZKPs can be applied in various industries to safeguard sensitive information and ensure that hackers cannot attack data if the data is not provided.