The internet has changed the way people communicate, work, and learn. It has also extended our reach to any online resource we can access. From social media to search engines, every website provides a space for users to communicate and share their knowledge with the world.
The internet is so much more than just web pages and web services; it’s also a medium for decentralized technologies like blockchain and zero-knowledge proofing. In this blog post, you will learn about zero-knowledge proofing (also known as pseudonymity or anonymity), how it helps increase trust in the internet and its applications in software, mobile apps, and the web3 ecosystem as a whole.
What is Zero-Knowledge Proofing?
Zero-knowledge proofing is the act of proving a data point, such as an address or a username, without revealing any sensitive information about the sender or the beneficiary. A digital signature is a good example of a zero-knowledge proofing technique.
There are many types of zero-knowledge proofing, but the term “zero-knowledge” typically refers to the degree to which the data point is hidden from both the sender and the recipient. In other words, the sender has no idea who they are sending the data to or receiving the data from.
For example, when someone sends you a digital signature, they are actually signing a statement that the data point is correct. But, they are also signing a transaction that the data point came from and that the data point is authentic.
How Does Zero-Knowledge Proofing Work?
Zero-knowledge proofing is achieved using cryptography and the blockchain. More specifically, the technology that underlies bitcoin and the most popular blockchain networks like Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash is called “crypto”.
When someone makes a transaction on the blockchain network, called a “transfer,” they are sending information about themselves and the goods or services they are buying or selling. That information is called a “signature.”
The sender signs the transaction with their private key, and their public key is published on the blockchain to all nodes in the network. All other nodes in the network can verify that the data point is correct and authentic by checking the public key against the private key. If the public key matches the data point, then the transaction is verified to be legitimate.
Web3 and the Web of trust
Beyond the technical details, the most important benefit of zero-knowledge proofing is the potential it has to increase trust in the internet and its applications in software, mobile apps, and the web3 ecosystem as a whole. When data points are signed without revealing sensitive information, the network has trust in the data point.
All the nodes in the network can verify the data point’s authenticity and correctness without the sender’s private key being revealed to anyone. This is what makes the blockchain network and decentralized applications (dApps) more trustable.
If a user makes a transaction on a decentralized app, especially one that is powered by blockchain, then the user’s private key and the data point’s public key are added to the blockchain. This decentralized, distributed public ledger is what’s known as the “web3 ecosystem.”
The blockchain is a tech-driven technological advancement that is set to change the way industries fund and operate. Many industries are still in the early stages of exploring the potential of blockchain, but the one thing everyone seems to agree on is that it must be decentralized and have low costs.
In order to achieve this, decentralized apps (dApps) are emerging as a promising technology. With decentralized apps, you don’t need to store sensitive data on a server or a laptop. Instead, you can store this data on the blockchain, and other decentralized apps can access it through a public API.