Scalability is Boring, Privacy is Dead: ZK-Proofs, What are They Good for?
A zero-knowledge(zk) proof lets a prover convince anyone that some statement is true while keeping secret how or why the statement is true.
The first mainstream uses of zero-knowledge proofs were for private payments in blockchains like Zcash and then for scalability of blockchains in general. In both settings, we hide data to improve privacy or reduce blockchain validation costs. But private payments, unfortunately, have seen limited direct demand. And while blockchain scalability needs faster proofs, these proofs need not even be zero-knowledge, merely succinct. What are practical zk proofs good for? This talk considers zk proofs + blockchains as a tool both for cryptocurrency and broader applications.
Ian Miers is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on solving real world security issues using cryptography ranging from secure messaging, to moderation and anti-abuse protocols, to blockchains. He is one of the cofounders of Aleo, Bolt Labs, and Zcash, startups commercializing his work on privacy preserving payments and smart contracts. His work has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired, and The Economist. It has also been denounced in at least two op-eds.
This talk is organized by Richa Mathur