Zero Sync Wants to Ensure the Whole BTC Blockchain Is Verifiable
Three computer scientists in Germany have established a new crypto-based, non-profit company in Switzerland called Zero Sync Association. The goal is to help scale bitcoin using what are known as zero-knowledge proofs (ZK-proofs), which have already been hard at work through networks like ETH.
Zero Sync Wants to Ensure Everything on the Blockchain Is Provable
ZK proofs use cryptography to ensure the validity of information contained within the blockchain without revealing the data to outside parties or prying eyes. By using such proofs on the bitcoin network, nodes will be able to sync almost instantly rather than taking hours (or even days) like they do now. At the time of writing, the bitcoin blockchain contains roughly 500 gigabytes of data.
A prototype for the network is already in play. Presently, the prototype is validating things such as the ownership of various tokens and transaction histories, though the team behind it hopes things will vastly improve and expand in the coming weeks and months. Zero Sync co-founder Robin Linus explained in a recent interview:
It’s very much in the prototype stage, but the grand vision is that you download that one megabyte of proof, and that is as good as if you had downloaded the 500 gigabytes.
The bitcoin blockchain has always contained simple payment verification nodes, aka light clients. The concept is even mentioned in the initial BTC whitepaper that was introduced on Halloween of 2008. These nodes are limited and only work on things like mobile phones. They are not currently capable of downloading the entire blockchain. The whitepaper reads as follows:
It is possible to verify payments without running a full network node. Verification is reliable as long as honest nodes control the network, but is more vulnerable if the network is overpowered by an attacker.
Continuing his interview, Linus said Zero Synch doesn’t simply trust the nodes as suggested in the whitepaper. Rather, the company is set on verifying the actual transactions that occur via the network through cryptographic proof. He stated:
You don’t have to trust. That is the entire point. The proof proves it to you. That’s the great invention.
Linus has been working with his business partner Lukas George for the past ten months (they started operating the company together in July of last year). The goal was to implement a full proof of the bitcoin blockchain, a subject prominently tackled in George’s graduation thesis.
How the Founders Met
The duo then added another co-founder – Tino Steffens – to the mix, and the company was born from there. Linus stated:
From there, I started to learn more and more about cryptography. I developed some skills over time, and then Ruben recommended me to Geometry Research. They offered me the opportunity to build STARK proofs for bitcoin, and that’s also how I got in touch with Lucas.
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