OKLink: Leveraging Zero-Knowledge Proof Technology for Efficient and Secure Transactions
Throughout the evolution of blockchain technology, two critical issues have persisted: privacy 和 scalability. When exploring the "standard solutions" to these issues, it becomes evident that both are closely tied to a technology known as zero-knowledge proofs. What are zero-knowledge proofs, and how do they address the challenges of blockchain privacy and scalability?
What are Zero-Knowledge Proofs?
In 1985, researchers S. Goldwasser, S. Micali, and C. Rackoff from MIT introduced the concept of zero-knowledge proofs in their paper "The Knowledge Complexity of Interactive Proof Systems." Zero-knowledge proofs are verification protocols that allow a prover to demonstrate the correctness of their knowledge without revealing any actual information.
Zero-knowledge proofs enable the establishment of trust between two parties with minimal information exchange. In this process, termed "interactive zero-knowledge proof" and "non-interactive zero-knowledge proof," two parties—A and B—can establish the validity of a certain fact or conclusion without revealing additional information.
Interactive zero-knowledge proofs require repeated interaction between the prover and verifier, resembling a lie detector scenario. The verifier continuously challenges the prover's claims, and the prover must respond to these challenges until the verifier is convinced.
Early zero-knowledge proofs were interactive, a straightforward but inefficient process. Both parties had to be online simultaneously for verification, and each verification was limited to one verifier at a time. This process was laborious.
Subsequently, non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs emerged. In this approach, the prover and verifier agree upon verification rules in advance. The prover provides data as per the commitment, and the verifier can independently verify the correctness of the data. This non-interactive verification doesn't require both parties to be online simultaneously, and the prover only needs to provide proof once. Most real-world applications use non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs, such as ZK-SNARKs 和 ZK-STARKs.
How Does Zero-Knowledge Proof Benefit the 区块链?
Zero-knowledge proofs have primarily been employed in the blockchain world to address two categories of challenges: privacy and scalability.
One significant application of zero-knowledge proofs is seen in the 2015 launch of Zcash, which enables private transactions. Apart from privacy-focused coins like Zcash, zero-knowledge proofs find utility in blockchain finance, on-chain voting, identity verification, and more.
In blockchain finance, zero-knowledge proofs allow participants to selectively disclose or hide transactions and information. For instance, companies can choose to publicly disclose certain payments for audit purposes while keeping sensitive information like client data, salaries, contractors, and suppliers private.
For on-chain voting, zero-knowledge proofs enable anonymous voting while verifying the validity of votes.
Additionally, zero-knowledge proofs facilitate identity verification without revealing specific identity information. Ethereum's Polygon ID employs zero-knowledge proofs to protect user privacy while adhering to KYC verification requirements.
Blockchain's performance limitations have led to the need for scalability solutions. ZK Rollup, based on zero-knowledge proofs, is considered the ultimate Layer 2 scalability solution. ZK-Rollups improve blockchain throughput by moving computations off-chain. Numerous transactions are bundled into a Rollup block, and an off-chain zero-knowledge proof generates validity proof. Layer 1 smart contracts only need to verify this proof to apply the new state, resulting in lower gas fees and higher security.
Prominent projects in the ZK-Rollup space include zkSync, which uses ZK-SNARKs, and StarkNet, which employs zk-STARKs.
zkSync, introduced by Matter Labs in 2018, is a Layer 2 scalability solution enhancing Ethereum's scalability using zero-knowledge proofs. In February this year, zkSync Era's mainnet went live, with OKLink, the multi-chain explorer from OKExChain, being the first to integrate zkSync mainnet data, becoming the first multi-chain explorer to support the zkSync network.
StarkNet, developed by Israeli software company StarkWare, is a permissionless Layer 2 network that leverages zk-STARKs technology to enable DApps to achieve larger computational scales with lower transaction costs. Since its mainnet launch in November 2021, the StarkNet ecosystem has rapidly grown, with over 100 DApps and services in various categories such as DeFi, NFTs, wallets, and cross-chain bridges. As one of the most valued and widely adopted projects in the ZK Rollup space, StarkNet's development has garnered significant attention. OKLink, the multi-chain explorer, is also set to launch the StarkNet explorer, providing comprehensive insights and services to users engaged in the StarkNet ecosystem and Layer 2 development.
Reportedly, the StarkNet explorer will be the 30th blockchain explorer launched by OKLink and the second ZK Rollup explorer following zkSync. In the future, OKLink's multi-chain explorer plans to release blockchain explorers for notable ZK Rollup projects like Polygon-zk, Linea, Base, and Scoll, all based on zero-knowledge proofs.
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