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What is zkSNARKs? The Comprehensive Spooky Moon Math Guide

What is zkSNARKs?

What is zkSNARKs: Spooky Moon Math. With Ethereum entering the Metropolis phase, it is going to introduce various changes which are going to make it more abstraction and privacy friendly. One of those changes is the introduction of “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge” aka Zk-Snarks. Zk-Snarks runs on the idea of zero knowledge proofs.

In this article, we are going to go through the idea of zero knowledge proofs and its application in the blockchain technology.

What is zkSNARKs: Spooky Moon Math

Zero Knowledge proofs came about in 1980’s thanks to the work of MIT researchers Shafi Goldwasser, Silvio Micali and Charles Rackoff. They were working on problems related to interactive proof systems, where a Prover exchanges messages with a Verifier (more on provers and verifiers later) to convince them that they have a knowledge of a certain proof without declaring what that knowledge is.

Before they made their landmark discovery, most proof systems were based on the “soundness” properties of the proof system. It was always assumed that the “prover” could be the malicious one in any scenario wherein they will try to fool the verifier. These 3 researchers flipped the idea on its head by questioning the morality of the verifier instead of the prover. The question they asked was, how can anyone know for sure that the verifier won’t leak the knowledge and there were also concerns raised as to the amount of knowledge about the prover that the verifier will get to know during the process of verification.

There are various real world consequences of this conundrum and one of the most famous ones have to do with password protection. Suppose you want to login to a website using a password. The standard protocol is that the client (you) will write in their password and send it to the server, the server will then hash the password and equate it to the hash that they have stored in their system. I...

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