Now you can try a complete blockchain with a mathematical problem
The Electric Coin Company (ECC) says it discovered a new way to scale blockchains with “recursive test composition,” a test to verify the entirety of a blockchain in a function. For ECC and zcash, the new project, Halo, can have the key to large-scale privacy.
A currency based on privacy based on zero-knowledge tests, known as zk-SNARK, the current underlying zcash protocol is based on “trusted configurations.” These mathematical parameters were used twice in the brief history of zcash: after its launch in 2016 and the first major protocol change, Sapling, in 2018.
Zcash masks transitions through zk-SNARK, but creating initial parameters remains a problem. By not destroying the mathematical basis of a transaction, the reliable configuration, the holder can produce counterfeit zcash.
In addition, the elaborate “ceremonies” to which the Zcash community undergoes to create reliable configurations are costly and a weak point for the entire system. Relying on reliable configurations with zk-SNARK was well known even before zcash’s debut in 2016. While other research failed to close the gap, recursive proofs make reliable configurations a thing of the past, says the ECC.
Speaking to the media such as CoinDesk, ECC engineer and Halo inventor Sean Bowe, said the composition of recursive proof is the result of years of work by him and others, and months of personal frustration. . In fact, he almost gave up three times at different times.
Bowe began working for ECC after his interest in zk-SNARKs was noticed by the CEO and co-founder of Zcash, Zooko Wilcox, in 2015. After helping launch Zcash and his first significant protocol change with Sapling, Bowe moved on to Full time research with the company.
Before Halo, Bowe worked on a different variant of zk-SNARK, Sonic, which only required a reliable configuration.
For most cypherpunks, that’s too much.
“People who also started to think since 2008, we should be able to have tests that can verify other tests, what we call recursive proof composition. This happened in 2014, ”Bowe reported.
Tests, tests and more tests.
In essence, Bowe and the company discovered a new method to prove the validity of masked transactions by compressing computational data to a minimum. As the ECC document says, “tests that are able to verify other instances of themselves.”
Blockchain transactions such as bitcoin and zcash are based on elliptical curves with points on the curve that serve as the basis for public and private keys. Public management can think of the curve: we know what the elliptic curve looks like in general. What we don’t know is where are the private addresses that reside in the curve.
The function of zk-SNARK is to communicate about private addresses and transactions, if there is an address and where it exists on the curve, anonymously.
Bowe’s work is similar to bulletproofs, another zk-SNARK that does not require a reliable configuration. “What you should think about when you think about Halo is how recursive bulletproofs,” said Bowe.
From a technical point of view, bulletproofs tests are based on the “internal argument of the product”, which transmits certain information about the curves to each other. Unfortunately, the argument is very expensive and time-consuming compared to your typical zk-SNARK verification.
By testing multiple zk-SNARK with one, a task that was believed impossible until Bowe’s research, computational energy is reduced at a fraction of the cost.
“People have been thinking about bulletproofs in addition to bulletproof. The problem of the bulletproof verifier is extremely expensive due to the internal argument of the product, ”said Bowe. “I don’t use bullet tests exactly, I use a previous idea on which bullet tests are based.”
In fact, Bowe said that the recursive proofs mean that you can test the entire bitcoin blockchain in less space than a bitcoin blockhead takes: 80 bytes of data.
The future of zcash
Writing on Twitter, Wilcox said his company is currently studying the implementation of Halo as a Layer 1 solution in zcash.
Layer 1 solutions are implementations in the code base that constitutes a blockchain. Most scale solutions, such as Bitcoin Lightning Network, are layer 2 solutions created on the status of a blockchain. The interest of the ECC in converting Halo into a Layer 1 solution speaks of the originality of the discovery, since it will reside alongside the code copied from the Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
ECC is exploring the use of Halo for Zcash both to eliminate reliable configuration and to scale Zcash in Layer 1 using a nested test composition.
From the first days of the privacy currencies, scaling has been a controversial issue: with so much data needed to mask transactions, how can a global network grow?
Bowe and the ECC claim that recursive proofs solve this dilemma: with just one test needed to verify a complete blockchain, data concerns could be a thing of the past:
“Privacy and scalability are two different concepts, but they combine very well here. About 5 years ago, academics were working on recursive snarks, a test that could verify itself or another test and even verify multiple tests. So, what recursive test composition means is that you only need one test to verify a complete blockchain. ”
Undoubtedly, this is not second-year algebra: Bowe told the media as coinDesk that the test alone took about nine months to join several pieces.
A new node form
Another implication of recursive proofs is the amount of data stored in the blockchain. As the entire ledger can be verified in one function, the incorporation of new nodes will be easier than ever, Bowe said.
“You will see blockchains that have a much greater capacity because you don’t have to communicate all the history in one. The state of the chain still needs to be seen. But if you want to complete the entire network, you don’t need to download the entire blockchain.”
While the status of the chains must still be monitored for basic transaction verification, synchronize the entire history of a blockchain that is roughly 400 GB and 200 GB for ethereum and bitcoin respectively, this becomes a redundancy.
For zcash, Halo means easier hard forks. Without reliable configurations, says ECC Research, “state change tests only need to refer to the last test, allowing ancient history to be discarded forever.”
When asked where his discovery is located with other advances, Bowe talked about its practicality:
“Where is this located in the great scheme of things in cryptocurrency? It is a cryptographic tool to compress computing and scale protocols”.
Disclaimer: This press release is for informational purposes information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of infocoin, and should not be attributed to, Infocoin.