A zk-SNARK stands for zero-knowledge succinct noninteractive argument of knowledge. With the help of a zk-SNARK one can prove that they are in a possession of certain information. What is the big deal about this?
zk-SNARK is a special technology because one can prove the ownership of certain information without revealing what the information is.
In order to understand how this technology works, you have to go no further than your smartphone. Smartphone can identify who owns it without storing any information of its owners. zk-SNARK also works the same way.
So far, we have more discussions about how to use this technology in various protocols including Bitcoin, and very few actual examples of this technology’s use.
Recently, Mina Blockchain announced that its protocol maintains a constant size of around 22 kilobytes thanks to the use of zk-SNARKs. Zcash (ZEC, a privacy-centric cryptocurrency, also uses this technology.
However, both these companies use this technology for different purposes.
Mina is using zk-SNARKs for scalability, and ZEC has been able to provide greater privacy to its users with its help.
O(1) Labs, promoter of the Mina, is very enthusiastic about zk-SNARKs. For it, zk-SNARK no longer remains just a beautiful idea. It has been able to solve many difficult challenges by using zk-SNARKs.
Technology is beautiful, but its implementation is not without challenge. “If you can identify these challenges, and discover ways to manage them, it is a very clean and beautiful idea at a high level”, Evan Shapiro, CEO of O(1) Labs said.
This technology is most effective when a project goes beyond a “normal” node. In a performing consensus situation, you may have to deal with a million accounts. One needs a gigabyte to store all these informtion.
The team at Mina has been able to integrate Cardano’s Ouroboros consensus, which it adopted early this year, with the zero-knowledge cryptography.
Snapps is a decentralized application, or DApp owned by Mina. Now Mina intends to allow its users to provide decentralized finance apps with the parameters of their credit history. Users don’t have to reveal what that information actually is.
Mina is hopeful that it will be able to reduce risks that are generally associated with any financial transaction.