Bitcoin users are on the verge of experiencing a substantial upgrade as ZeroSync Association, a Swiss-based nonprofit, introduces zero-knowledge proofs (ZK-proofs) to streamline the process of validating the entire blockchain and individual blocks.
ZeroSync aims to develop and maintain open-source software that brings succinct ZK-proofs to the Bitcoin blockchain. The organization uses StarkWare’s proprietary zk-STARK validity proofs to produce ZK-proofs for Bitcoin.
The new technology is poised to revolutionize verifying the Bitcoin blockchain. Currently, node operators must download a large amount of data to synchronize the correct state of the network.
However, ZeroSync plans to use ZK-proofs to almost instantly verify the latest state of the blockchain. StarkWare president and co-founder Eli Ben-Sasson said that;
“After years of frustration about slow syncing, users will be able to sync with the network much faster, and with less computation. It’s a technological leap akin to the transition from slow dial-up internet to high-speed broadband.”
Furthermore, various proof methods have already transformed the Ethereum ecosystem, with ZK-proofs powering several layer-2 scaling platforms such as Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, and StarkNet.
The ZeroSync Association emphasizes the potential of ZK-proofs to enhance blockchain scalability and privacy by providing “almost-fixed-size” proofs that verify large computations.
Pioneering ZK-Proofs For Bitcoin
The project is the first to apply ZK-proofs to the Bitcoin network. ZeroSync highlights the simplicity of Bitcoin and its Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) model as key factors for employing recursive proofs.
The organization also develops a software development kit, enabling developers to create custom validity proof for specific use cases without in-depth domain expertise. Moreover, the ZK-Proof tools do not necessitate consensus changes or additional trust assumptions for the Bitcoin network and its users.
ZeroSync is constructing a client for fast initial block download and implementing the first proof of consensus. This client will allow users to sync a full node without making code changes to the core.
Using the Cairo programming language, pioneered by StarkWare, ZeroSync is creating STARK-provable programs for computations. The tool is presented in the prototype stage, but it can prove the validity of individual assumed valid blocks, which comply with all Bitcoin rules except for scripts.
Initially funded by Geometry and StarkWare, the ZeroSync Association is establishing a nonprofit entity to ensure ongoing development and maintenance with support from Bitcoin community stakeholders.
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Furthermore, Lightning Labs, the team behind the Bitcoin layer-2 Lightning Network payment system, is partnering with ZeroSync on the project. The company intends to utilize ZeroSync for compact transaction history proofs within its Taproot Asset Representation Overlay (Taro) protocol.