Findora co-founders (and Stanford cryptographers), Ben Fisch and Benedikt Bünz, together with Alan Szepeniec, have revealed their latest breakthrough in zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP): ‘Supersonic’. Supersonic proofs are the first practical, trustless, succinct, and efficiently verifiable zero-knowledge proofs. They are smaller than 10Kb and take only milliseconds to verify – even for the most complex statements. They claim these are at least 25 times smaller than any other trustless zero-knowledge proof system with comparable verification times.
Ben Fisch, Co-founder and CTO of Findora, said: “The blockchain industry has long-sought trustless zk-SNARKs, but up until now they have been impractical. Fully private payment systems, such as Zcash, still rely on trusted setup.
“Supersonic’s combined proof size and verification time improves on the state-of-the-art by more than an order of magnitude for complex statements. They are at least 50 times smaller than STARKs and 1000 times faster to verify than Bulletproofs for these kinds of applications.”
In cryptography, zero knowledge proofs let A convince B that A knows something or has done something – without revealing to A what B’s secret is.
In practical situations, zero-knowledge is significant because it provides privacy in situations where participants would otherwise have to reveal confidential information. Common day-to-day uses might include:
- logging onto websites: rather than typing a password, users simply send a proof that they ‘know their passwords’
- authenticating identity: rather than giving your favoutites pet’s type or name over the phone to a faceless call centre person, people send a proof (a cryptographic fingerprint) which confirms you are who you say you are
- sending private blockchain transactions: rather than sending money on (say) Bitcoin or Ethereum (where an identity’s financial ledger is public information), an owner sends a proof that his or her cryptocurrency is valid – without revealing balances.
In the words of Lucas Schor “Zero-knowledge proofs are generating excitement lately due to their potential to increase privacy and security in blockchain applications. The concept itself is not new, as cryptographers have been working with zero-knowledge proofs for years, but the technique is only just now poised to redefine the concept of online privacy.”
Supersonic proofs will integrate into the Findora platform which offers a confidential network protocol that enables the seamless, secure and compliant transfer and verification of financial assets. According to Findora, zero-knowledge discovery will enable the Findora platform to operate with efficiency and scalability for:
The Findora public blockchain simplifies compliance by allowing the attachment of precise regulations to pieces of personal data and digital assets – configurable to local laws. This enables cross-border data compliance that other global ledgers may violate. Findora:
- enables regulators and financial institutions to enforce transactional compliance
- natively supports storage and validation partition for cross-border data export compliance (such as GDPR, China Banking Financial Institutions Data Governance Guidelines (2018), Singapore Cybersecurity Act 2018, etc).
Benedikt Bünz, Co-founder and Head of Research at Findora, said: “The significance of this (Supersonic) breakthrough lies in its ability to take the practicality and capability of zero-knowledge proofs to a new level. A key problem with many zero-knowledge solutions is that the proofs are large, consuming storage and bandwidth, and verifying transaction proofs can be an extremely lengthy process. Prior solutions were either impractically large, slow, or were not truly trustless.
“By eliminating the need for a trusted setup, Supersonics will allow Findora to offer a solution to some of blockchain’s biggest risks and problems like privacy, compliance, and selective disclosure.”
Benedikt Bünz and Ben Fisch
Supersonic proofs are not the Stanford duo’s first groundbreaking discovery in cryptography:
- Benedikt Bünz is the author of the zero-knowledge system Bulletproofs
- Ben Fisch is an inventor of Filecoin proof-of-storage, a fundamental building block for decentralised data storage networks.
Both Fisch and Bünz are also known for:
- defining verifiable delay functions (VDFs)
- their work on RSA accumulators.
Commenting on the development, Charles Lu, CEO of Findora, said: “Findora is building the internet of finance. Supersonic is a significant step in our journey to bring about a new global financial system that empowers users to control their own financial data, identity, and assets.
“Through one interoperable ledger, free of data silos, and with built-in privacy and compliance tools enabled by technologies such as Supersonic and Bulletproofs, Findora will rebuild trust, reduce inequalities, and bring fairness to our financial system. Our team’s contribution to Supersonic will bring us closer to making our vision a reality.”
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
Findora builds a cryptographically transparent financial network. The core solution is a confidential yet auditable, high-throughput scalable platform for enabling efficient, accessible and transparent financial services. These include:
- asset issuance/transfer
- identity attestation
- proofs of compliance
- public/regulatory audits
If zero-knowledge proofs do speed up, as Findora claims for Supersonic, this would be a boon in many common-place situations – as well as in the more complex financial and other services space where the company is primarily focused.