What is zk-SNARK?

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The zk-SNARK is a cryptographic protocol used to in the zero-knowledge proof method of information validation. The term stands for “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge”, and each component of the term explains a characteristic of the protocol:

  • Zero-Knowledge: the capacity of a party to prove a claim to be true to another party without revealing its content. Thus, the verifier party has zero knowledge of the content, but can still confirm that the claim is true.
  • Succinct: a proof is so short that it can be verified within a few milliseconds. It doesn't require lots of computational power to do so.
  • Non-interactive: the two parties don't need to be exchanging information. But a single message with the proof is provided by the prover to the verifier.
  • Argument: is the term used to describe the proof provided by the prover. 
  • Knowledge: is the information processed by the prover to generate the proof – but that is never revealed to the verifier.

In summary, the zk-SNARK is a protocol that, when applied, enables one person to prove the veracity of a claim to another by sending a single, short and encrypted message with the proof that can be decrypted. But the receiver can confirm it as true by running the same protocol and never needing to see the content of the proof.

This is the protocol we utilize at Bitso to generate our proof of solvency.

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