ZK-SNARKs: The Future of Blockchain

Subh Rath

May 23, 2023

Zk-SNARKs have established themselves as a ‘Swiss army knife’ for blockchain and distributed ledgers, with applications in privacy, interoperability, and scalability.

Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) have been utilized to enable applications ranging from verifiable outsourced computing to anonymous credentials in various scenarios that demand a balance of privacy and integrity. 

ZKPs allow one party to demonstrate to another that a particular statement or claim is true without disclosing the contents of that statement. The usage of ZKPs in several on-chain use cases aids in the resolution of privacy, interoperability, and scalability challenges.

Blockchain is the solution to many real-world problems, but it has inherent restrictions, which can create consumer concerns over time. It has the potential to hurt not only the blockchain network but also the participants in the ecosystem.

For example, the Bitcoin blockchain is increasing by the day, and it is currently more than 300GB in size, making it hard to handle using a low-end device. As a result, many miners face ceased mining, resulting in the centralization of Bitcoin mining. When Bitcoin becomes centralized, the controller can modify blocks and thus transactions, which is not good.

However, zk-SNARK is resolving this issue. zk-SNARK, which stands for Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge, is a digital certificate that can verify anything without giving the knowledge, and it uses the zk-SNARK MINA protocol to create a 22kb blockchain.

How Does ZK-SNARK Work? 

Compared to the blockchain, zk-SNARK can be considered a virtual certificate that is generated every time a new block is created by replacing the previous one. For example, a blockchain can generate three blocks: block 1, block 2, and block 3. 

For the first block, zk-SNARK 1 is generated with a size of 22kb, then for the second block, zk-SNARK 2 is generated with a size of 22kb, and zk-SNARKS 1 + zk-SNARK 2 combine to generate a single 22kb zkSNARK. 

After block3 generates zk-SNARK3 of 22kb, it joins with the previous zk-SNARK of 22kb to generate a single zk-SNARK of 22kb. As a result, as a miner, you no longer need to verify blocks 1, 2, or 3, but only the last zk-SNARK, saving you time, effort, and energy.

The main advantage of zk-SNARK is that it can minimize the size of the blockchain to only 22kb. As a result, the size of the blockchain will never grow, and we will never face any blockchain size-related issues, and any light-end device may be a blockchain node, allowing us to take advantage of all the benefits that blockchain offers.

zk-SNARK aids in data protection by never disclosing your data when you connect to a third party but allowing you to verify anything you desire. Assume you go to the internet to open an account, and the party asks you for your information. 

Then, in lieu of data, you supply zk-SNARK of your data to demonstrate that you have a legitimate name and address but do not need to expose them. SNARK-powered applications can assist us in protecting thousands of data streams emanating from your family’s gadgets.

This is just one example of how zk-SNARK resolves the issues that blockchain fails to handle. So far, many more Web 3.0 solutions are being introduced with the help of zk-SNARK.

In conclusion, experts believe zk-SNARK will take over blockchain in the next 10 years. 

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