Zero-knowledge proofs

Quick definition

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

A zero-knowledge (zk) proof allows you to prove that information you’ve sent to someone else is true without having to reveal what the information is. 

Key details

  • Zk proofs allow users to hide sensitive information like their address and location while using public blockchains.
  • Zk proofs play an important role in many privacy coins and privacy blockchains.
  • Users of zk proofs can be completely anonymous when sending data to other people online.

What are zero-knowledge proofs?

Zero-knowledge proofs allow data to be sent securely and privately across the blockchain. Information sent using zk proofs can be validated without having to publicly reveal the data that confirms it is true. This is done by algorithms that can tell the verifier of the incoming information whether a statement is true without disclosing the data itself.

Zk proofs rely on three main criteria:

  • Soundness: if the information sent is false then the dishonest provider cannot convince the honest verifier that it is true. 
  • Completeness: if the information is true, an honest verifier can be convinced by an honest prover. 
  • Zero-knowledge: the verifier cannot learn any more information about the provider except for whether the information they sent is true or false.

Benefits of zero-knowledge proofs

Zero-knowledge proofs can greatly improve privacy and security in privacy blockchains, and transactions sent on public blockchains. Sensitive information can be sent securely, and users addresses can be made private.

Zk-rollups, a type of zero-knowledge encryption, allows thousands of transactions to be bundled into one transaction on the blockchain. This can be done quickly and efficiently. This can improve blockchain transaction speeds because all the computations and fees are shared between thousands of users, thus speeding up the workload.

Where can I learn more?

You can learn more about zero-knowledge proofs and other types of zero-knowledge cryptography by visiting the websites of cryptocurrency projects and companies that utilize zero-knowledge. Examples include the Ethereum website, Zcash cryptocurrency website and the Dusk network website.

Sources & references
Risk disclaimer
James Knight
Editor of Education
James is a lead content editor for Invezz. He's an avid trader and golfer, who spends an inordinate amount of time watching Leicester City and the… read more.