Traditional financial institutions use bitcoin hardcore technology, ING uses bulletproofs for their private chain projects

According to Coindesk's April 15 report, blockchain, the world's eleventh largest asset management company, is testing a privacy technology called "bulletproofs," which has been considered a technical test by crypt punk. As a traditional financial company, ING can use this technology to make people feel surprised.

Bulletproofs is a technology developed and improved by the core cryptographers of Stanford University, University College London and blockchain startup Blockstream. Since under normal circumstances, anyone can see the amount of each bitcoin transaction, so The technology is designed to hide the amount of money a user makes in a bitcoin transaction. Clearly, banks are also hoping that this blockchain technology can help them address some privacy concerns because they don't want to expose sensitive information that includes customer data to competitors.


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Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKPs) is one of the early solutions to privacy issues, a way to prove the existence of private data without exposing private data. Over the past year or so, ING has explored a number of variant techniques for zero-knowledge proofs, such as proof of scope (which can prove that a private number exists within a certain range) and zero-knowledge set membership (zero-knowledge set membership, Referred to as ZKSM, you can verify alphanumeric data in a specified set).

But because using zero-knowledge proofs consumes a lot of effort, it can slow down the blockchain. Now, ING believes that bulletproofs are a more effective and easier to apply method.

According to Mariana Gomez de la Villa, global head of the ING blockchain project, ING found that the speed of using bulletproofs was "10 times that of other range proofing methods" for any type of proof.

Integrating these proven solutions can increase efficiency. Gomez de la Villa, for example, is a cryptocurrency exchange. When an exchange uses proof of scope to prove that it has enough funds to support all customers at the same time, she said:

In this case, the use of bulletproofs is 300 times more efficient than using other ranges.

Although bulletproofs are still in the laboratory research stage, ING is now looking for areas where this technology can be applied. The potential application of bulletproofs is subject to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). For example, ZKSM can prove whether an individual belongs to a given EU member state without revealing any information about its identity.

At the same time, scholars and cryptocurrency scientists seem to have been encouraged by ING's use of bulletproofs. Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra tells CoinDesk by email:

When we developed bulletproofs in 2017, we didn't expect it to have so many users. Whenever we see this technology being used to solve real-world problems, we are all very excited and proud. Of course, this technology is really surprised by the application of traditional banks!

Advance in the voice of opposition

Gomez de la Villa said that ING is also considering the application of zero-knowledge proof to the test of the trade finance blockchain.

She said:

We're building a complete zero-knowledge proof store that helps developers find the right use cases for themselves and keep in touch with some of our customers to make sure they understand how to leverage these open source projects.

To illustrate how ING Bank's blockchain project will apply zero-knowledge proofs, Gomez de la Villa says, you can imagine tracking the origin of a commodity and preserving the certificate of origin throughout the supply chain, but the whole process There is no need to disclose information about suppliers, prices or product quality.

Looking ahead, ING's blockchain project may also involve interconnection with multiple distributed ledger networks. Interoperability is currently a concern for ING because the bank is closely related to R3, the oil and gas alliance Komgo in Ethereum, and the IBM MineHub based on the superbook.

Gomez de la Villa said:

We need to ensure that the specific information attributes of the value of the goods delivered on the chain remain the same, while also hiding information that does not need to be passed on the chain, and for other purposes only saves a record of the existence of such information.

In addition, ING participated in the annual zero-knowledge proof workshop with the cryptocurrency Zcash, Blockstream and QEDIT teams to prove that the bank has reached its highest level in this field. The bank also said it also compared information from another corporate user, JPMorgan Chase, who used zero-knowledge proof to help customers implement the technology.

Gomez de la Villa said:

People can help each other and improve each other, but what matters is not what you have learned, but how you use it.

Of course, not everyone likes a technology developed by liberals and applied to the public chain by banks. Gomez de la Villa said that her social media has been attacked by some people recently, who said the bank "just copied and pasted" the technology.

She said:

Some anarchists, they are obviously hardcore fans of Bitcoin. These people think that everything they do is to bypass financial institutions.

However, Gomez de la Villa was not intimidated by these people, she concluded in the end:

I like bulletproofs. This shows that it is very important.

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