– In 2022, investors gave over $700 million in funding to companies pushing the envelope with zero-knowledge proofs.
– ZK-proofs have become one of the biggest blockchain trends, with several major Ethereum scaling protocols hitting mainnet.
– ZK-proofs are a cryptographic protocol that allows one party to prove the truth of a statement without sharing any of the statement’s contents.
– Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, once found the technology pretty interesting.
– In August 2010, a user on Bitcointalk asked whether there could be a way to improve the privacy of Bitcoin transactions.
– Nakamoto responded that if a solution was found, a much better, easier, more convenient implementation of Bitcoin would be possible.
– Nakamoto wasn’t convinced that zero-knowledge proofs could solve the double-spending problem in all digital cash protocols.
– Little did Nakamoto know that the cypherpunks would eventually find a way to solve the problem.
– Zcash, a privacy-focused cryptocurrency, was launched in October 2016, using zero-knowledge proofs to hide crypto wallet addresses.
– Eli Ben-Sasson, the founding scientist of Zcash, would go on to found StarkWare, a company known for using zero-knowledge proofs to scale Ethereum.
– ZeroSync, a nonprofit founded by three computer scientists, is developing the world’s first ZK light client for Bitcoin.
– Nakamoto strongly favored the use of ZK-proofs for privacy, according to Ben-Sasson.
– Nakamoto dedicated a section to privacy in the Bitcoin white paper and suggested keeping public keys anonymous to protect user identities.
– If Nakamoto had continued to be active, he would have likely pushed to integrate ZK-proofs further into Bitcoin.
– For Bitcoin to realize its vision as a global currency, the imperative to scale cannot be ignored, especially considering its current state of ossification.
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