Why does Vitalik believe that zk-SNARK technology will be as important as blockchain in the next 10 years?

Why does Vitalik think zk-SNARKs are crucial for the next decade as blockchain?

Author: Haotian

At the EDCON conference in Montenegro, V God system explained the technical challenges of Ethereum network in scalability, privacy, security and other aspects, and concluded that zk-SNARK will be as important as blockchain in the next 10 years. What is zk-SNARK that V God vigorously promotes? What current blockchain difficulties can zk-SNARK technology solve? In the following thread, let me share with you my thoughts.

SNARK stands for (succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge), which is the core of constructing a proof system through mathematical algorithms that allows the verifier to verify the correctness of the data itself without knowing the original data. The implementation process involves complex technologies such as verifiable circuits, elliptic curve cryptography principles, hash functions, encryption algorithms, etc., and I will not go into too much detail here.

Since SNARK can compress the original data into an extremely small proof to verify the correctness of the input data, coupled with the technology foundation of zk zero knowledge, zk-SNARK can be fully utilized in blockchain scalability, privacy, security and other aspects. Especially in 2018, after Ethereum enabled the Markov random algorithm (MAST), zk-SNARK can be directly integrated into the Ethereum system to solve the current bottleneck problem of the Ethereum network.

This is why the zk-SNARK technology, which originated from StarkNet, although it can handle more complex computing problems (to avoid quantum computing attacks, etc.), has greater expectations. Especially some blockchain paradoxes that everyone is confused about can be effectively solved after replacing the underlying layer with zk-SNARK, such as potential hacker money laundering issues that protect privacy, and centralized institutional intervention issues that social recovery cannot escape.

First, let’s talk about scalability. The zk-rollup technology is highly ahead of the op-rollup, which is an Ethereum layer 2 ultimate solution. op first optimistically defaults all transactions, submits them to the chain, and then undergoes a 7-day fraud proof challenge period, while zk can directly and quickly ensure the legality of each transaction submitted to the chain based on mathematical algorithms. (Please refer to a previous thread for details)

Here, zk-SNARK solves a paradoxical problem of the scalability and centralization of Ethereum. Although the op-rollup solution has more mature actual landing scenarios, there are still potential centralization risks in the sequencer, optimistic challenge verification process. Of course, we can be “optimistic”, but in the end, to achieve an absolutely decentralized rollup, we still need SNARK.

Let’s talk about privacy again. Based on the current context of blockchain technology, developing privacy technology would lead to a logical paradox where privacy ultimately becomes a wedding dress for hackers. However, if we use zk-SNARK, we can create a Proof of Innocence (POI) scheme that protects users’ privacy while also preventing bad actors from using it for malicious purposes. Specifically, POI technology can be applied to protocols similar to Tornado;

POI technology provides each user with a digital fingerprint based on the blockchain’s state history and private key generation. When a hacker attempts to launder money through Tornado’s mixed transaction pool, their withdrawal request address and deposit address will be compared (if their private keys differ), and they will be intercepted and returned to the original mixed address. This means that a hacker’s unknown assets cannot escape the tracking of the mixing system.

Of course, as V God mentioned in his speech, we can also directly construct an exclusion list Merkel tree, which is equivalent to adding a blacklist mechanism to the Tornado protocol. If a user’s deposit address is not on the list, they can generate an innocent proof and use Tornado as usual, otherwise, the opposite is true. Although adding a blacklist is effective, there is a centralization risk, and I personally believe it is more meaningful to prevent transactions where the deposit and withdrawal private keys do not match;

Finally, let’s talk about the third-party Blockingrty anti-censorship paradox (security) issue. There is no doubt that the Social Recovery function is the road that blockchain mass adoption must take, but as shown by the community protests against Ledger’s opening of this feature a few days ago, Recovery cannot be based on the premise that Third Blockingrty is centralized. zk-SNARK technology can solve this problem.

Simply put, when a user generates multiple private key fragments, they can encrypt the fragments and use the zk-SNARK proof system to generate proofs, which can then be distributed to trusted organizations or friends. If a user loses their private key, they can request that a third party provide fragment data proof, then use zk-SNARK to verify the accuracy of these proofs, thereby achieving social recovery without revealing private key fragments.

After fully understanding the above content, it is not difficult to see the importance of zk-SNARK technology for blockchain systems. It can solve the current development paradoxes of Ethereum network such as scalability and centralization, privacy and malicious intentions, security and anti-censorship. So V God said that zk-SNARKs will be as important as blockchain in 10 years, and maybe Ethereum will also become zk-SNARK, yes, zk-SNARKS Rule Everything Around Me.

Thanks to @TommyDeng_DAO for summarizing the content of the Black Mountain V God Conference speech for the first time, and providing a large number of wonderful pictures. The above technical thinking is only open thinking to stimulate discussion. You are welcome to criticize and discuss.

We will continue to update Blocking; if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us!

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