Around the Block, Issue Nº5: ZERO KNOWLEDGE featuring public ledgers in the enterprise, hot Ethereum proposals, new tools for zero knowledge
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Around the Block, Issue Nº5: ZERO KNOWLEDGE featuring public ledgers in the enterprise, hot Ethereum proposals, new tools for zero knowledge

I was at a blockchain developer Meetup in London’s financial centre when a presenter asked the audience to raise hands if they understood zero-knowledge proofs. Precisely zero hands were raised.I’m typing this from a flight to Cambridge, MA right now - the place where many of the concepts behind zcash, a zero-knowledge proof based protocol, were originally formed. And I’m enjoying reading the original whitepaper.I have already learned that a zero-knowledge proof allows one to prove statements like “I have a stash of gold” without revealing the location of the stash. It’s fascinating because not only zcash is leveraging zero-knowledge proofs, Ethereum is doing it and so are some vertical protocols.So I want to feature it more and highlight areas where zero-knowledge proofs are adding value. Forcing transparency and clarity even for some of the most complex projects can only be a good thing. You can’t have too many people thinking about risks in this space.

This week there are indeed some news about zero-knowledge proofs as well as exciting Ethereum proposals and debates to read about.
💎  Ethereum

Vlad Zamfir wrote a twopart rebuttal of fixed supply EIP (960)

tl:dr; On April 1st Vitalik made a half-serious proposal to fix the supply of Ethereum. Vlad claims that it is too early to decide on a supply scheme. Speculators want to fix supply for selfish reasons.

New proposal for Ethereum fund recovery (EIP-867) has been merged

tl:dr; Where there is no disagreement about the affected parties regarding lost funds, they can be reclaimed by following the format proposed. Teams need to submit a State change object (technical description of changes) along with the proposal.

Martin Alen describes Chanterelle, a functional alternative to Truffle

tl:dr; Truffle is the most popular Ethereum development framework. Chanterelle leverages pure typed functional programming via PureScript to replace the Truffle stack. Benefits include a module system facilitating greater re-use.

⚡️ Protocols and DApps

Chain open sourced a Rust implementation of faster "Bulletproofs", a form of zero-knowledge proofs

tl:dr; Zero-knowledge proofs are a useful mathematical trick for conveying proof while withholding evidence. Unfortunately, many forms of zero-knowledge proofs are computationally expensive, having a direct effect on transaction speeds. Expect to see continuous improvements in performance across different classes of zero-knowledge proofs making confidentiality more practical.

Faisal Khan wrote about the importance of public blockchains for enterprise

tl:dr; Progress on public ledgers or Ethereum-based ledgers like Quorum is much more transparent than other Enterprise alternatives. Zero-knowledge proofs enable privacy. Scalability remains an issue but is not insurmountable.

Chris McCann discovers top use cases for DApps today

tl:dr; Main DApp types are decentralised exchanges, games and casinos - all related to speculation. Adoption is low. Only 25% of top 312 DApps have >100 transactions per week.

P.S. "Transactions" in Ethereum nomenclature are any interactions with smart contracts or addresses that affect the state of the blockchain, i.e., querying the level of your CryptoKitty would not constitute a transaction, but a view operation.

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