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| 2 minutes read

Are you up to speed with Zero-Knowledge Proofs?

On Thursday 23rd March, I was privileged to share a Twitter Space with Anish Mohammed, co-founder & Chief Scientist at Panther Protocol. Anish has 25 years in cryptography and is a thought leader in the field of Zero-Knowledge Proofs, he is the ideal person with whom to discuss this very relevant and interesting topic.

Listen here:

What are Zero-Knowledge Proofs?
Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZKP) is a form of cryptography. Cryptography - which has been around for thousands of years - is a way of securing information and communications through code so that only the person(s) for whom the message is intended should be able to process it.

Or, as brilliantly explained by Anish, in simple terms…

"…ZKP is like someone having abilities and demonstrating those abilities without showing how they did it.

For example, John’s ability is escaping from a room without using the door.

The prover is John – he is proving his claim to someone.

The someone he is proving the claim to is the Verifier.

John enters a room and asks the Verifier to close the door. After a short while, if John’s claim is true, the Verifier should find John outside the room. While the Verifier can therefore verify John’s claim to be true, they will never find out how John escaped. This is the zero-knowledge part."

In more technical terms, ZKP is an interactive mechanism. If John makes a claim and runs an interactive process by which he and the Verifier exchange messages/symbols, both parties should end up with the statement that John is trying to make. The Verifier shouldn’t know exactly how John got there, however.

The history of Zero-Knowledge Proofs

Developed by three ex-Berkeley students in the 80’s, the idea was to allow someone to prove themselves without revealing themselves.

It took a few decades for the ground-breaking concept to be embraced more widely, but in 2013 the Pinocchio Protocol was developed as the first practical implementation of ZK-SNARK (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge).

In more recent years, private blockchains which are concerned about potential data protection issues – such as ZCash – use ZK-SNARK to solve this problem. This essentially provides users with more privacy and control.

Are we in the golden age of ZKP?

According to Anish, we are just getting started…

Listen here:


Twitter: @aaronpayas

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