What is the Zero Knowledge Proof?

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In the field of cryptocurrencies, it has been necessary to deploy devices to anonymise certain transactions. Among them is the so-called Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP). More than just in the field of cryptocurrencies, ZKPs are also useful indecentralised identity protocols. So how does this famous ZKP work? In which case should it be used? Explanations!

What are ZKPs?

Zero Knowledge Proof is a protocol that allows a user to prove that a situation is real without having to reveal any information about it. For example, a person could prove their identity without having to reveal it. 

The term Zero Knowledge Proof is very frequently used in the cryptocurrency industry today, but its first use actually dates back to 1989 to describe cryptographic concepts. Today, these famous proofs are considered to be subjects of study in their own right. 

So there are several ways to use the Zero Knowledge Proof. Let's look at a few cases. 

Better understanding of how the ZKP works

As mentioned above, the Zero Knowledge Proof requires the implementation of a protocol adapted to the situation, but there is a common point: that of providing proof without revealing knowledge (an identity, a password). In the case of an access choice, for example, the person who made the right choice did so because he or she knew the right way to do it, but it could also be simply a matter of chance. Several repeated operations can then ensure that it is not a mistake.

Moreover, there must be no room for doubt, which is why the Zero Knowledge Proof must be the result of a cryptographic process that ensures with certainty that the person knew the information required to unlock the protocol. In this sense, professionals in the sector compete in ingenuity to leave no room for doubt, which makes Zero Knowledge Proof an ultra-secure protocol. 

Several examples are available online to illustrate how a Zero Knowledge Proof process works. These examples show the complexity of the process, but also its reliability.

When is ZKP used?

Zero Knowledge Proof is used in many different scenarios. As mentioned above, crypto-currency transactions are particularly supported by this type of device. ZKPs are also found when it comes to disseminating sensitive information without citing the sources in order to evaluate the armed forces of different countries, for example. Blockchain platforms and decentralized identity systems also use the Zero Knowledge Proof.

Zero Knowledge Proof and decentralised identity

ZPKs are very interesting in the context of the use of decentralised identities. Indeed, the very concept of the latter is based on the fact of limiting the sharing and dissemination of data to a minimum. As this data can be particularly sensitive (such as medical data), it is necessary to have a system that allows it to be verified without revealing it. 

The ZKP solutions will thus enable full compliance with the RGPD since their configuration is based on respect for data confidentiality. They also provide true transparency to the user within the framework of open protocols. Moreover, data is neither stored at the mercy of attacks nor transferred, which makes the owner all the more in control of what happens to it.

This secure cryptographic protocol therefore makes it possible to verify the authenticity of sensitive identity data without disclosing it. This makes the use of blockchain technology in digital identity management even more relevant.

For more information on the use cases of decentralised identity, we recommend that you consult our white paper on decentralised identity.

Exploiting IoT data

Zero Knowledge Proof can also be used to protect IoT or Internet of Things data. Indeed, data collection is often necessary for the optimization of this type of service. On the other hand, their protection can be greatly improved in order to prevent the collected data from becoming harmful to the user. The anonymity of the users can then be preserved, which protects them from any link that could be made between the data collected and their identity. This is another way to use ZKP to its full potential.

Of course, there are many other areas where ZKPs can be useful and may be used in the future. It is therefore important to understand the concept of ZKP as a data protection option for both individuals and businesses. Proof of the user's identity or knowledge of the protected data can be provided without disclosing the data, which further enhances the security possibilities.