When we say Blockchain is decentralized and transparent, a question arises as to how the user information can be kept secure without sharing the statement in public. The answer to this question is Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP), which is an encryption technique where the user's account information is safeguarded without revealing the underlying details. This cryptographic technique is helping blockchain projects to overcome data privacy and scalability issues.
Although blockchain technology has many advantages, there do exist technological issues that create user apprehensions that prevent it from being widely adopted. The technical challenges facing blockchain networks are well known: scalability, network speeds, high energy consumption, and high transaction fees. Additionally, there needs to be greater standardization, privacy, security, and interoperability for improved transactions. Ethereum has attempted to overcome some of these challenges, but more is required.
ZKPs or zero-knowledge proofs can be used to solve privacy and scalability problems. Users can effectively address security and immutability with ZKP and blockchain. In this blog post, let's explore zero-knowledge proofs and how they will help blockchain technology.
Zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) is a cryptographic technique where no information is disclosed during a transaction other than exchanging a value known to both the prover and the verifiers. Zero-knowledge proof is the concept that a person can demonstrate to another user that they know an absolute value without disclosing any additional information. There are three fundamental characteristics of ZKPs cryptography,
Identity Management: In Identity management, information about an individual is vulnerable due to current identity management systems. When we use Zero-knowledge proof to verify identity, it safeguards the private information of the user. Particularly helpful in the context of decentralized identity are zero-knowledge proofs. Individuals can manage access to personal identifiers thanks to decentralized identity! A fantastic illustration of how zero-knowledge technology supports decentralized identity is the ability to prove citizenship without disclosing your tax ID or passport information.
Payments: The purpose of cryptocurrencies was to enable anonymous, peer-to-peer transactions in a decentralized manner. However, the majority of cryptocurrency transactions are easily accessible on open blockchains. User identities are frequently pseudonymous, and the smart contract addresses could be available on Twitter or GitHub profiles. They can be connected to real-world identities using simple on-chain and off-chain data analysis techniques.
Blockchain networks that emphasize privacy strongly enable nodes to validate transactions without requiring access to transaction data by implementing zero-knowledge technology into the protocol.
Authentications: To access the internet, first, we have to establish a digital identity and authorization to access services. Giving personal information, such as names, email addresses, birth dates, etc., is necessary for creating a digital identity. Long passwords could also be essential to remember and maintaining access. However, zero-knowledge proofs can make authentication simpler for both systems and users. The user can provide the ZKP to prove their identity for using internet service. Once it has been constructed using public inputs, such as data attesting to the user's membership of the platform, and private inputs, such as the user's details, users will have a better overall experience, and businesses won't have to store as much user data.
Verifiable Computation: Another use case of zero-knowledge protocol to enhance blockchain architecture is verifiable computation. Verifiable computing enables us to delegate computation to a different party while preserving verifiable outcomes. The entity submits the outcome and documentation attesting to the accuracy of the program execution. Verifiable computation is essential to increase blockchain processing speeds without compromising security. This can be done using off-chain scaling techniques like validiums and zero-knowledge rollups and on-chain scaling techniques like sharding.
The most well-known characteristic of ZKPs is simplicity. Although it doesn't require any software expertise, it can provide better solutions impacting our daily lives. Furthermore, because it is entirely unencrypted yet extremely safe, it may give the best of both worlds.
When it comes to transferring information, ZKPs are safe. As a result, a user can use it confidently without being an expert in coding or analytics to grasp its fundamentals.
ZKPs that conserve time reduce the time needed for blockchain transactions while still providing consumers value.
The most admirable quality of ZKPs is its users' privacy protection. It never calls for the disclosure of private information, making it incredibly personal.
Undoubtedly, ZKPs is a trusted cryptographic method, even though its implementation in real-world applications may take a while. The need for a new option has grown due to recent data breaches and other privacy problems. When privacy-conscious cryptocurrencies started including ZKPs in their protocols, only then we discovered its true power.
As per BlockChainSentry, ZKPs should be utilized more frequently in centralized and decentralized systems now that their advantages have been well appreciated. Numerous problems, like payments, anonymous verifiable voting, and privacy on public blockchains, are resolved by the technology on and off the blockchain.
BlockChainSentry has worked on identity management projects for large clients using ZKPs. There is an immense potential for more use cases in the future with the growth of blockchain technology.