Zero-Knowledge Proofs, Explained

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A zero-knowledge proof is a digital protocol that allows for data to be shared between two parties without the use of a password or any other information associated with the transaction.

In its most basic sense, a zero-knowledge proof (also commonly referred to as ZKP) can be thought of as a protocol through which a digital authentication process can be facilitated without the use of any passwords or other sensitive data. As a result of this, no information, either from the sender’s or receiver’s end, can be compromised in any way.

This is quite useful, especially since such a level of safety provides tech enthusiasts with an avenue to communicate with one another without having to reveal the content of their interactions with any third party.

The idea underlying zero-knowledge proofs first came to the fore back in 1985, when developers Shafi Goldwasser, Charles Rackoff and Silvio Micali presented to the world the notion of “knowledge complexity” — a concept that served as a precursor to ZKPs.

As the name suggests, knowledge complexity acts as a metric standard to determine the amount of knowledge required for any transaction (between a prover and verifier) to be considered valid.


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