The Bitcoin network is bolstered by the launch of Ethereum scaling solution StarkWare’s Zero-knowledge proofs [ZK-proofs/ZKPs]. With these, individual blocks and eventually the entire blockchain can now be verified faster by users.
ZeroSync, the newly formed non-profit entity has been tasked to build tools to validate the state of the Bitcoin network without having to download the blockchain or trust a third party for verification.
The group uses StarkWare which pioneered the Zero-Knowledge Scalable Transparent Argument of Knowledge [zk-STARK]to transform the process of verifying the Bitcoin blockchain.
The BTC network still requires node operators to download a large amount of data to synchronize the correct state.
Already native to the Ethereum ecosystem, many layer-2 scaling platforms such as Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, and StarkNet have effectively tapped ZK technology.
Simply put, Zero-knowledge proofs, or ZK proofs, are a type of cryptographic encryption that hides blockchain transaction details.
Blockchain requires a huge network of computers called nodes to verify transactions and mutually agree on the authenticity of the data under scrutiny before it is added to the blockchain.
This means that the user’s data is shared between many computers scattered across the globe, raising concerns about user privacy.
Since blockchains give decentralization more priority than user privacy, more nodes are continuously added to the network. Additionally, because blockchains use public ledgers, it is easy to view a user’s wallet address using a blockchain explorer.
So, how do blockchains address consumer privacy while being decentralized? That’s where ZK Proofs hopes to plug in.
ZK Proofs is a technology that authenticates data without revealing the data itself. This idea is to prevent the Prover [whose data needs to be validated] from sharing the data with the Verifiers [the nodes] unnecessarily. At the same time, the Verifiers can ascertain that the Prover’s data is valid.
ZK Proofs Might Resolve Blockchain Trilemma For Bitcoin
These are referred to as “Zero-Knowledge Proofs” because the Verifier does not actually possess the information being verified; rather, they only know that the data is accurate.
With respect to Bitcoin, one of the major factors limiting the network’s scalability lies in its cryptographic algorithm- Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm [ECDSA].
In a paper published by StarkWare on Aug 2022, the software firm first proposed the method for effectively verifying ECDSA from within the STARK ecosystem, potentially overcoming the blockchain trilemma for Bitcoin — i.e., attaining scalability, security, and decentralization concurrently.