To develop its Proof Marketplace, which will enable cryptosystems to outsource the creation of zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs, the Ethereum research and development company =nil; Foundation has raised $22 million. The fundraising round led by Polychain Capital intends to decentralize and simplify the development of zero-knowledge projects.
What is ZK?
ZK cryptography has become increasingly common in the blockchain industry, with use cases ranging from data compression to privacy and security. The technology allows a so-called verifier to “prove” the truth of a statement by generating a series of letters and symbols known as a “ZK proof“.
Challenges in Zero-Knowledge Technology
Numerous cryptocurrency protocols now depend on zero-knowledge technology, from privacy chains like Zcash and Mina to Ethereum scaling schemes like zkSync and Starknet. But because producing proofs is an expensive, technically challenging, and time-consuming activity, ZK protocol developers frequently encounter difficulties.
Such obstacles make it more difficult to construct ZK platforms, whose dependability typically predicts the notion that anyone can produce ZK proofs as a means of decentralizing trust. Many ZK platforms today produce the proofs themselves or contract out the work to carefully vetted partners. Therefore, negating the majority of the technology’s claimed advantages in the name of bootstrapping.
Proof Marketplace and ZK Proofs
Protocols that require ZK proofs will be able to pay dependable third parties to produce them using the Proof Marketplace. For instance, a ZK blockchain bridge can pay a third party through the Proof Marketplace to create proof demonstrating the condition of the bridge.
The Proof Marketplace by =nil; allows projects from many ecosystems to buy and sell proofs because it is generally blockchain-independent. However, =nil; Foundation it appears that the technology was developed as a necessary step before eventually developing its own ZK-based blockchain ecosystem.
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