Stocks & Trading Education Hub What is Zero-Knowledge Proof? – Unveiling Key Concepts
Hassan Maishera
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The blockchain ecosystem is a highly technical one, and to become an expert, you need to be familiar with certain terms. Zero-knowledge proof is an important part of the crypto space, and several cryptocurrency projects currently use it. 

This article looks at what is zero-knowledge proof, its applications in the crypto space and beyond, and some of its limitations. 

Understanding the Concept of Zero Knowledge Proof

The cryptocurrency space is full of technical terms, and if you wish to become an expert in the industry, you need to know and understand some of these terms. One of them is zero-knowledge proof (ZKP)

But what is zero-knowledge proof? Zero-knowledge proof is a cutting-edge technology that is gaining traction in various industries, especially in the blockchain space. 

The technology makes it possible to verify information without revealing the underlying data. Hence providing a high level of privacy and security. In this article, we are going to explore the basis of ZKPs, touch on some zero-knowledge proof examples, how they work, and their applications. 

Basics of Information Sharing and Privacy

Information sharing has become an integral part of today’s world. Thanks to the advancements made in recent years, it has become easier for organizations and individuals to share information.

Information sharing has become crucial to businesses and how organizations operate. However, the privacy of the data they share remains a major cause of concern. 

Third-party entities still gain access to users’ data and ultimately make money from it. Blockchain technology has reinforced privacy in data sharing. Zero-knowledge proof is one of the technologies that allow data sharing while keeping the content private.  

Information sharing

Introduction to Zero-Knowledge Proofs in Cryptography

What is zero-knowledge proof in crypto? Zero-knowledge proof is a cryptographic protocol that allows one individual, referred to as the prover, to convince another individual (the verifier) that a particular information is true without disclosing any details about the claims. 

Fundamentally, two parties participate in a ZKP: the prover and the verifier. The prover seeks to establish a claim, while the verifier is accountable for verifying such a claim. 

The prover’s task is to show the verifier that a statement or data is accurate without revealing any extra information regarding the statement or data. This is possible by providing a small amount of information (proof) that the verifier can verify to prove that the statement is true. With the best paper trading apps, traders can gain access to some ZK-Knowledge tokens and coins. 

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Importance and Applications

ZKP is important mainly because of its privacy feature. In the traditional modes of operation, Personally Identifiable Information (PII) shared with third-party entities are stored in central databases, which are vulnerable to attacks. Furthermore, the third-party entities can also sell the data to other interested parties.

For these reasons, identity theft has become a major cause for concern. This is why privacy-protecting means such as ZKPs have become very important. They allow individuals and organizations to share sensitive information securely while maintaining privacy. ZKPs ensure that there is no need to reveal information to prove the validity of claims. 

Enabling Privacy-Preserving Transactions

What is zero-knowledge proof in blockchain? We answered this question above. However, you need to know how to use ZKPs. One of the most important applications of ZKPs is enabling privacy-preserving transactions. 

Zero-knowledge proof provides secure and privacy-focused transactions. It is useful in a situation where users want to carry out transactions without revealing sensitive personal information. 

Enhancing Security in Digital Interactions

Zero-knowledge proof enables the verification of information without disclosing the underlying data. Thus providing a high level of security during digital interactions. This feature is extremely important in situations where sensitive data should be confidential. Some of the leading investors also take advantage of the best crypto presales to expand their presence in the market. 

How Zero Knowledge Proof Works

We have already addressed what is zero-knowledge proof in crypto, but we still don’t know how the technology works. Let us look at the fundamental principles of the technology. 

Fundamental Principles of Zero Knowledge

The two major players in Zero-knowledge proof are the prover and the verifier. Basically, the prover needs to prove that they know the secret while the verifier must verify that the information provided by the prover is true. 

The system works because the verifier asks the prover to provide information or do things that only the prover can accomplish. This eliminates guesswork or providing false information. 

If the secret is accurate, the prover passes the test without any hitch. This is similar to when a bank asks you for an OTP code. It doesn’t mean you are telling the bank what is in your account, but you are proving to them that you have access to information only the account’s owner can know. 

Zero Knowledge Proofs vs. Traditional Methods

Zero-knowledge proofs are far better when verifying information and ensuring privacy than other traditional methods.

Traditional methods store data on centralized servers, leaving them vulnerable to hacks and attacks. Furthermore, third-party entities play a role during the information-sharing stage, making it impossible to achieve total privacy.

ZKPs ensure that information can be verified and shared without revealing the underlying data, providing high security and privacy. The best day trading apps allow traders to gain access to ZK-knowledge tokens like Monero and ZCash. 

Interactive Zero Knowledge Proofs

There are basically two major classes of ZKPs: the interactive zero-knowledge proof and the non-interactive zero-knowledge proof. We will look at the two and see how they work. 

Definition and Functionality

Interactive zero-knowledge proof (iZKP) is a popular type of ZKP. This class of zero-knowledge proof requires interaction between the prover and the verifier to confirm that the proof of knowledge is executed correctly.

In interactive zero-knowledge proof, the prover and verifier interact in a series of rounds, exchanging messages to prove that the prover has the answer to the question. 

A major advantage of this type of ZKP is that it is highly flexible, and it helps to prove knowledge of a wide range of information. Another advantage of iZKP is that they are very secure. By using random challenges and requirements for interaction, interactive zero-knowledge proof becomes quite difficult for an attacker to compromise the proof. 

However, a major disadvantage of iZKP is that it is time-consuming and requires significant computational resources. Furthermore, it also requires high trust between the prover and the verifier. 

Example: Schnorr Identification Protocol

Schnorr Identification Protocol is an example of iZKP. It is the simplest form of zero-knowledge proof. It is a public-key-based challenge-response identification protocol that uses two submitted messages to reduce computational complexity.

The first message (called a witness) doesn’t depend on a secret or challenge value. Meanwhile, the second message is a function of both a secret value and a challenge value and also that of the original witness. 

In Schnorr, the witness is usually pre-computed and stored. Thus, reducing the computational complexity at the time of approval. 

Basically, the Schnorr identification scheme allows you to prove the ownership of a secret value without revealing the value itself. 

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Non-Interactive Zero-Knowledge Proofs

Non-Interactive Zero Knowledge Proofs (niZKPs), as the name implies, are ZKPs that don’t require interaction between the prover and the verifier.

SNARK is the most popular niZKPs and stands for Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge. They leverage advanced mathematical algorithms to create a proof that can be verified without interaction between the prover and the verifier. 

The major advantage of niZKPs is that they are more efficient and scalable compared to their iZKPs counterparts. With no interaction between the prover and the verifier, niZKP transactions are faster and require fewer computational resources. 

Since they don’t require interactions, blockchain networks use them often. However, a major disadvantage of niZKPs is that they are less flexible in comparison to the interactive zero-knowledge proof. Furthermore, niZKPs are also more difficult to implement as they are more technical. 

Characteristics of Non-Interactive Proofs

The major difference is that non-interactive proofs require only one round of communication between the prover and the verifier. The prover sends the secret information to a special algorithm, which forwards the message to the verifier. 

By reducing the communication between the two parties, ZK proofs become more efficient. Furthermore, once a proof is generated, it becomes available to anyone with access to the shared key and verification algorithm. 

Application in Cryptocurrencies: zk-SNARKs

ZK-SNARK is an acronym for Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge. It has applications within the cryptocurrency ecosystem thanks to its non-interactive nature. 

In cryptocurrencies, zk-SNARKS allows the sender of a transaction to prove that they have the funds available and that they’ve provided the correct private key to show that the funds are theirs. However, they do all that without revealing any of the addresses or the amount involved. 

The blockchain network usually encodes some of its consensus rules within zk-SNARKs. Zk-SNARKs turn the information that needs proving into equations during transaction processes. The equations are evaluated and solved without disclosing the addresses and the amount involved in a transaction. 

Several privacy-focused cryptocurrencies, including Zcash, use the zk-SNARK protocol to protect user information during transactions. 

Succinct Zero Knowledge Proofs

When you discuss what is zero-knowledge proof in crypto, SNARK is one of the examples that you will touch on. Succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge (SNARKs) is a cryptographic proof with strong efficiency properties. Although they are similar to the Scalable Transparent Argument of Knowledge (STARK), there are differences in how they operate. 

Reducing Proof Size with Succinctness

One of the best features of the Succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge is that they reduce proof size before concluding transactions. With SNARK, the proof size is one, and the prover provides it. 

However, STARK produces larger proof sizes, which are more expensive, making them far more expensive to run on blockchain networks like Ethereum. 

Benefits of Blockchain Scalability

Zero-knowledge proofs, especially ZK-rollups, are useful in solving scalability issues encountered by blockchain networks. With zk-rollups, every token transfer is not counted as a transaction.

Zk-rollups make batch hundreds or even thousands of token transfers possible into one transaction. By squeezing hundreds or thousands of transactions into one, the fees and computer power are shared among the various users. Thus, ensuring faster and cheaper transactions for the users. 


Enhancing Privacy in Blockchain Transactions

One of the core tenets of cryptocurrency and blockchain is privacy and anonymity. The entire decentralized ecosystem was built on the ability of users to carry out financial transactions while maintaining privacy. 

Over the years, developers have launched various products that are enhancing privacy in blockchain transactions. One of these products is ZKP. 

Role of Zero Knowledge Proofs in Anonymity

Zero-knowledge proofs have become crucial to promoting privacy within the blockchain ecosystem. With ZKPs, no one can access the secured data except the user. 

The essence of zero-knowledge proof is to eliminate the need to prove that someone possesses knowledge of certain information by revealing the information. 

Zero-knowledge proofs are powerful cryptographic methods, and their use in the blockchain ecosystem is very promising. Blockchain networks can adapt zero-knowledge proof to address certain business requirements focusing on data privacy. 

Balancing Transparency and Confidentiality

One of the biggest challenges for crypto and blockchain companies is balancing transparency and confidentiality. Due to regulatory requirements, many crypto companies are required to be transparent, as this could help with the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.

However, blockchain companies must also be confidential and ensure their users enjoy privacy. 

This is where zero-knowledge proofs come in. ZKPs can help organizations comply with data privacy laws. ZKPs are useful for providing secure and private identity verification, enabling compliance with know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.


Exploring zk-SNARKs in Detail

ZK-SNARKs is a popular zero-knowledge proof example used in the cryptocurrency space. It has been adopted by numerous crypto projects, including privacy-focussed ZCash. Let us look into how it works. 

H3: zk-SNARKs: Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge

zk-SNARKs, as a technology, works on three major algorithms. They are; 

Key Generator

The function of the key generator is to establish a parameter to generate a key pair. A trusted source has the power to delete private information after generating a public or private key pair. 

Another key pair is generated using public information. One of the keys would be used for proving, while the second would be for verifying.


The second algorithm is the prover who gets issued a proving key and will need to prove his knowledge. The prover receives and verifies the private key before forwarding the statement. 


This is the third participant, and its job is receiving the input from the prover. The verifier will validate the statement’s authenticity. 

For ZK-SNARKs to work, it needs to maintain certain properties. The first is to ensure that the verifier doesn’t learn anything aside from the statement. The second is that the process should be non-interactive. Thirdly, the proof should have zero-knowledge encryption. Finally, the prover and the verifier cannot execute the process without a trusted witness. 

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Use Cases and Implementations in Cryptocurrencies

ZK-SNARKs have gained numerous implementations within the cryptocurrency space. Understanding the use cases can also help you determine the best crypto to buy. Some of its use cases include;

Proof of Identity

ZK-SNARKs are currently in use as proof of identity solutions within the crypto space. When using them, the only requirement is to generate a credential that serves as proof of ownership and soundness of identity. The verifier verifies the validity of the credential and approves a transaction.

Merkle Tree Proof of Reserves

Cryptocurrency exchanges and some crypto companies use this to prove the availability of funds. With Merkle Tree, verifiers can verify the integrity of information a prover provides. It is used to prove that a crypto exchange has sufficient reserve funds and didn’t divert traders’ funds elsewhere. With the best NFT apps, you can also gain access to some exciting NFT projects. 


Another popular use case of ZK-SNARKs is ZK-rollup. It is a scaling solution that rolls up numerous transactions into one. Thus enabling faster and cheaper transactions on blockchain networks. This technology is particularly useful for the best DeFi projects.

With ZK-rollups, the computation is run off-chain and a validity proof is submitted on-chain afterwards. Once the proof is verified on-chain, the rolled-up transactions are finalized in one go. ZK-rollups help power some blockchains that house NFT applications

File system controls

They can be used in adding multiple layers of security to files. This makes it harder for hackers to alter and retrieve the data. Organizations that control sensitive data, like banks and hospitals, can leverage this technology to keep their data safe. 

Challenges and Limitations

What is zero-knowledge proof is a question we have already answered. However, what we don’t know are the challenges and limitations of this technology. Here are some of its challenges and limitations. 

Computational Overhead and Verification Complexity

ZKPs’ challenge is the hardware cost. Generating ZKPs involves complex calculations that are handled by specialized machines. These machines are expensive and are usually out of reach of regular individuals.  

Due to the costs involved in acquiring machines that can handle the complex verification process, the cost of verification is high. ZK-rollups and ZK-STARKS all include high gas fees due to the complex verification process involved. 

Addressing Trusted Setup and Security Concerns

Another major challenge with ZKPs is the trust assumption. With ZK-SNARKS, for instance,  the Common Reference String (public parameters) is generated once and is made available for re-use to parties who wish to use the zero-knowledge protocol. Usually, public parameters are created through a trusted setup system, with participants assumed to be honest. 

However, it is almost impossible to assess the honesty of participants, which means that users have to take developers to their world. Some ZKPs like ZK-SNARK face quantum computing threats since they use elliptic curve cryptography (ECDSA) for encryption

Advancements in Zero Knowledge Proof Technology

Although the zero-knowledge proof technology has come a long way, so much is still in development in the industry. Developers are constantly seeking ways to make transactions faster, cheaper, more secure, and more privacy-focused. 

Innovations in Proof Generation and Verification

GlobalData’s 2023 report shows that more than 620 companies, including technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups, are currently developing and applying zero-knowledge proof.

One company is currently working on a solution that would see primary databases synchronize data values to a reading database within a specified period. If a primary database fails, a transaction processing server quickly takes over and processes transaction requests. The server also acquires transaction identification and data variation values.

In a situation where the standby database does not contain the corresponding data value, the system generates an accurate data value using the reading database and data variation value. The technique will ensure continuous transactions and enhance user experience.  

Potential for Cross-Chain and Interoperable Solutions

Zero-knowledge proof is starting to gain traction amongst multi-chain protocols in the crypto ecosystem. Celer revealed a few months ago that they are working on a zero-knowledge succinct proof-based interoperability protocol.

Ideally, with zero-knowledge cross-chain and interoperable solutions, there would be no need to depend on external parties to verify transactions since it is secured on the blockchain of origin. 

Furthermore, zk-based bridges could allow greater flexibility for dApps to integrate with the bridge. This adds new features and could promote the integration of new technologies.

Finally, since relay times will become shorter, information transmitted through a Zk-based bridge can be quickly confirmed once the proof is verified. This feature will provide greater efficiency and effective utilization of resources. With DeFi and metaverse projects seeking interoperable features, zero-knowledge could help them achieve it. 

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Broader Applications Beyond Cryptocurrencies

Beyond cryptocurrencies, ZKPs have gained application in other digital sectors. Let us explore some of its applications in other industries. 

Zero Knowledge Proof in Digital Identity Verification

ZKPs are useful in providing secure and private identity verification services. This can be useful in scenarios where users want to prove their identity without revealing sensitive personal information.

Secure Data Sharing in Sensitive Industries

Zero-knowledge proofs also allow secure data sharing in sensitive industries like the military. At the moment, most approaches to exchanging classified and private data information are done via centralized services. 

With zero-knowledge proof, the military and other sensitive industries can share data in a secure way. It also ensures that two parties can share information without compromising privacy and security. 

Balancing Privacy and Regulatory Compliance

While zero-knowledge proof provides security and privacy, they are not available everywhere. Privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Zcash use these technologies and are not available on some crypto exchanges due to regulatory challenges.

The mission for crypto companies is to be able to deploy ZKP to provide privacy to users while also complying with regulatory demands. 

Addressing Regulatory Challenges with Zero Knowledge Proofs

Cryptocurrencies can use zero-knowledge proof solutions to address regulatory challenges. With ZKPs, institutions and crypto projects can verify user identities. This way, transactions are not completely anonymous. 

It is no secret that some of the best altcoins, such as Monero and Zcash have been banned in certain countries around the world. Some of these cryptocurrencies use ZK-SNARKs and other privacy-enhancing technologies.

The biggest challenge for such projects is how to navigate the situation in a regulated environment. Crypto projects that use ZKPs can leverage the technology to verify transactions and user identities while adhering to regulatory requirements such as AML and KYC regulations. 

Educating and Raising Awareness

The cryptocurrency market currently has more than 400 million users globally. However, due to the technical nature of the industry, many still don’t understand some concepts in the crypto market. It is crucial to educate and raise awareness regarding technologies like zero-knowledge proof. 

Promoting Understanding of Zero Knowledge Proofs

Are cryptocurrencies a good investment? Yes, it is. However, investors and traders need a deeper understanding of technical terms in the market, such as zero-knowledge proof.

Zero-knowledge proof is one of the most powerful technologies in the cryptocurrency space. Its features ensure that users enjoy privacy and security while carrying out financial transactions. 

Encouraging Responsible Use and Development

Money launderers and other bad actors also leverage the privacy and security zero-knowledge proof provides. However, users should remember that the primary goal of the crypto market is financial inclusion.

The crypto market allows people from all parts of the world to carry out financial transactions and enjoy other perks of blockchain technology quickly, cheaply, and securely. Hence, the primary use of technologies such as zero-knowledge proof should be for privacy and security reasons. With the best DeFi apps, investors can also gain access to decentralized finance projects in the crypto space. 

What is Zero Knowledge proof? – eToro Complete Guide

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After reading so far and understanding what is zero-knowledge proof, you understand why privacy and security are important for crypto investors and traders. Trading on regulated and reputable platforms is the best way to stay safe in the crypto space. eToro is one of the most reputable trading platforms in the world and is also regulated. Here are the simple steps to signing up on eToro:

Step 1: Visit eToro “Join Now” page

Step 2: Choose a username, enter your email address, and set a password. 

Step 3: Read the Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy, and tick the boxes.

Step 4: Click on the ‘Create Account’ button.

Step 5: Check your email inbox and verify your email address.

What is Zero Knowledge Proof? – Conclusion

Zero-knowledge proof is one of the technical aspects of the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem. This article explained it in-depth and provided various zero-knowledge proof examples. 

Users can enjoy security and privacy when carrying out financial transactions with zero-knowledge proofs. Zero-knowledge proof also has applications beyond the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. 

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Hassan Maishera

Hassan Maishera

Hassan is a Nigeria-based financial content creator that has invested in many different blockchain projects, including Bitcoin, Ether, Shiba Inu, Cardano, VeChain and Solana. He currently works as a financial markets and cryptocurrency writer and has contributed to a large number of the leading FX, stock and cryptocurrency blogs in the world, including Coinjournal, Cryptowisser, Decred Magazine, FXempire, and Blokt.