Initiating a zero-knowledge proof system in space seemed like an impossible goal until recently. However, DoraHacks and Cryptosat have shown this can be done. Both teams showcased the viability of this approach aboard the ISS last week.
Zero-knowledge Proof System In Space
Establishing trust in a zero-knowledge proof environment is essential. It allows the sender to prove something is valid to the recipient without sharing any extra information. To make such a setup work, the ZK setup system must be free from tampering, both on the software and hardware side.
The International Space Station (ISS) makes for an ideal location. Seven astronauts inhabit it, and no one else has access to the hardware. Moreover, the ISS maintains a radio frequency connection to a ground station. To conduct the experiment, the teams pre-uploaded open-source programs to generate a file with a Common Reference String (CRS). That CRS is used by DoraHacks’ Zero-Knowledge proof-powered voting solution protecting user privacy and preventing collusion in governance and voting.
DoraHacks CEO and Founder Eric Zhang adds:
“Ultimately, we want to use an isolated computing environment in space to conduct a complete trusted setup for zero-knowledge proof applications, including an ‘in-space ceremony’ that produces CRS for multiple proof systems, like PLONK. If we can achieve this goal, we can provide a public good for all zero-knowledge proof powered applications, as well as a new paradigm to initiate cryptographic protocols in general.”
DoraHacks partnered with Cryptosat due to its reputation in trusted computing environments in space. Cryposat deploys cubesats and aims to build its fleet of low-orbit satellites for zero-knowledge proof purposes. Although the current setup has limitations, those will slowly be resolved once the satellite fleet becomes vaster. As a result, DoraHacks and Cryptosat can collaborate on future space missions to expand the boundaries of this approach.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.
Tremendous Potential For Zero-Knowledge Systems
Conducting an experiment like this aboard the ISS is a major industry milestone. Zero-knowledge proof systems can be used for various purposes, including collusion-resistant governance in DAOs, private ballots, and random beacons.
Cryptosat Co-founder Yonatan Winetraub adds:
“We are excited to unlock the possibility of running trusted setups for Zero-Knowledge schemes in space. The ability to perform a trusted setup in a completely isolated environment is key in making efficient SNARK schemes much more widely used, secure and easier to iterate on. By having Cryptosat participate in the ceremony, we guarantee there is at least one party out of this world making the ceremony more secure.”
In addition, the successful experiment aboard ISS paves the way for satellite-based solutions offering a faster turnaround for project initiation ZK proof systems.