zk-SNARKs Explained – Secure Communication For Users

If you ever came across the term and want ZK-SNARKs explained to you in simple man’s terms, you’re in the right place.

ZK-SNARKs explained

ZK-SNARKs are an extension of the zero-knowledge protocol (ZKP) which secures communications by sharing knowledge of a secret, by never revealing the content of the secret itself. In other words, it’s a form of cryptography.

Here’s what ZK-SNARKs stands for: “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge”. 

  • The term “zero-knowledge” comes from the fact that no (“zero”) information about the secret is revealed. The “Prover” can convince the “Verifier” that a statement is true, without revealing any information beyond the validity of the statement. 
  • By “succinct”, it is implied that this proof can be verified quickly. 
  • Non-interactive” means that the proof consists of a single message sent from prover to verifier, and no further communication is necessary. 
  • Finally, the “Argument of Knowledge” is another name for “sound computational proof”. 

Transparency is an important point of focus in Blockchain technology. As such, people would rather transact in complete privacy. And ZK-SNARKs helps you do just that. 

Who invented ZK-SNARKs?

ZK-SNARKs may seem like modern technology, but the first zero-knowledge proofs were developed as early as the 1980s

In 2012, we got to know the current form and name of ZK-SNARKs. The person responsible for its release – Alessandro Chiesa – one of Zcash’s co-founders. 

Which cryptocurrencies implement ZK-Snarks?

The most popular cryptocurrency that implements ZK-SNARKs is Zcash (ZEC). 

This allows ZCash (ZEC) transactions the be completely anonymous, in terms of sender, recipient and transaction amount.

Furthermore, one can implement ZK-SNARKs in smart contracts on the Ethereum Blockchain, by using the ZoKrates toolbox. 

In addition to Zcash (ZEC), another cryptocurrency that plans on implementing ZK-SNARKs in an upcoming update is Tezos (XTZ). 

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