Swiss non-profit and Blockstream to Broadcast Bitcoin Proof via Satellite

Swiss non-profit ZeroSync Association and Bitcoin infrastructure firm Blockstream are teaming up to enable faster syncing and global access to Bitcoin by broadcasting zero-knowledge proofs (zk-proofs) from Blockstream’s satellite network. This technology, which has become one of the hottest blockchain-tech trends of 2023, can validate the Bitcoin blockchain without requiring nodes to download the chain’s 500GB of data. Instead, nodes can sync in fractions of a second, enabling faster validation and global access to Bitcoin.

The satellite network provides free global access to Bitcoin by broadcasting the blockchain to the entire planet, including areas with unreliable internet coverage. ZeroSync expects to carry out the first experimental broadcast by the end of the year, and the newly-formed association aims to help scale Bitcoin using zk-proofs.

Co-founder Robin Linus said that “applying [zk-proofs] to generate a proof of Bitcoin’s chain state, and broadcasting it via satellite, can bring Bitcoin to almost everyone in the world. Don’t trust, verify.” This partnership between ZeroSync and Blockstream could potentially make Bitcoin more accessible and help to scale the network in a secure manner.

Zero-knowledge proofs have been gaining popularity in the blockchain space due to their ability to prove the validity of information without revealing the information itself. This is particularly useful in the case of Bitcoin, where every participant must verify every transaction, making the process slow and cumbersome. By using zk-proofs, nodes can validate the blockchain without downloading the entire dataset, making the process faster and more efficient.

Blockstream’s satellite network has been providing free global access to Bitcoin since 2017, with the aim of increasing the decentralization and resilience of the network. The network broadcasts the blockchain to nodes all over the world, providing access even in areas with unreliable internet coverage.

The partnership between ZeroSync and Blockstream could potentially bring Bitcoin to even more people around the world, making it more accessible and easier to validate. By using zk-proofs, nodes can sync faster and more efficiently, reducing the load on the network and enabling more people to participate in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Overall, the partnership between ZeroSync and Blockstream is an exciting development in the world of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. By using zk-proofs and satellite technology, the two companies aim to make Bitcoin more accessible and secure, helping to scale the network and bring it to more people around the world.


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ZeroSync to Bring ZK-Proofs to Expedite Bitcoin Validation

ZeroSync Association, a Swiss-based nonprofit organization, is pioneering the use of zero-knowledge proofs (ZK-proofs) for the validation of the Bitcoin network. ZeroSync’s open-source tooling allows users to validate the state of the Bitcoin network without having to download the entire blockchain or trust a third party for verification.

The organization is developing and maintaining software that enables succinct ZK-proofs on the Bitcoin blockchain. The group uses StarkWare’s proprietary Zero-Knowledge Scalable Transparent Argument of Knowledge (zk-STARK) validity proofs to generate succinct ZK-proofs for the Bitcoin network.

The use of ZK-proofs by ZeroSync promises to overhaul the process of verifying the Bitcoin blockchain. Node operators currently have to download a large amount of data to synchronize the correct state of the Bitcoin network. However, with ZK-proofs, ZeroSync aims to generate valid proof and verify the latest state of the blockchain almost instantaneously.

While ZK-proofs have been a revelation for the Ethereum ecosystem, powering several layer-2 scaling platforms, ZeroSync’s announcement highlights the promise of ZK-proofs for blockchain scalability and privacy by providing “almost-fixed-size” proofs verifying large computations.

ZeroSync is pioneering the application of ZK-proofs for the Bitcoin network, with the organization describing Bitcoin’s relative simplicity and the Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) model as a unique value proposition for applying recursive proofs. ZeroSync notes that the ZK-Proof tools do not require consensus changes or additional trust assumptions for the Bitcoin network and its users.

The organization is building a software development kit that will allow developers to generate custom validity proof for specific use cases without requiring in-depth domain expertise. The kit will enable users to implement ZK-proofs for specific use cases while also ensuring compatibility with Bitcoin’s rules and regulations.

ZeroSync’s tool is currently in the prototype state but has the ability to prove the validity of individual assumed valid blocks, which verify all Bitcoin rules except for scripts. The team also has a working in-browser demo verifier for STARK proofs of Bitcoin blocks.

ZeroSync is using the Cairo programming language, pioneered by StarkWare, to create STARK-provable programs for computations. The organization is building a client for fast initial block download and implementing the first complete proof of Bitcoin consensus. The client will allow users to sync a full node without making code changes to Bitcoin core.

Geometry and StarkWare initially funded the ZeroSync Association, but the organization is establishing a nonprofit entity to enable ongoing development and maintenance from stakeholders within the Bitcoin community.

Overall, ZeroSync’s tooling will revolutionize the validation process of the Bitcoin blockchain, bringing ZK-proofs to the forefront of the Bitcoin ecosystem. The use of ZK-proofs will enable Bitcoin users to validate the state of the network more efficiently and securely, without having to trust third-party verifiers.


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EY publishes Ethereum scaling solution to the public domain

EY’s attempts to promote secure, private transactions over public blockchains at cheaper costs has culminated in the release of Nightfall 3.

The company announced the news via a release on July 1 stating that Nightfall 3 combined ZK proofs with optimistic rollup — ZK-Optimistic Rollup — to improve transaction efficiency on Ethereum.

Indeed, ZK-Rollups are one of the layer-two scaling solutions being developed to achieve scalability for networks like Ethereum via a process of batched transfers “rolled” into one transaction.

EY’s first contribution to ZK proofs was in April 2019 as previously reported by Cointelegraph at the time. In this new iteration, the EY team says Nightfall 3 is a collection of tools for privately managing Ethereum transactions.

Nightfall 3 reportedly ZK proofs transactions into optimistic rollups, removing the need for all authentication nodes to verify the validity of the transactions.

Nodes that challenge invalid blocks will receive rewards thus ensuring that only valid transactions are added to the blockchain. According to the EY team, Nightfall 3 constitutes a significant improvement in transaction efficiency and gas fee reduction.

Detailing the improvements in the ZK-Rollups solution, Paul Brody, global blockchain leader at EY, remarked that the protocol offered the best balance of mathematical efficiency and security for private transactions on the Ethereum network.

According to the announcement, Nightfall 3’s ZK-Optimistic Rollups solution can deliver almost 90% in gas fee reduction compared to public ERC20 token transfers.

By publishing Nightfall 3 to the public domain, Brody stated in the announcement that EY was doing its bit to hasten enterprise adoption of the technology.

Related: Major Auditing Firm Ernst & Young Releases Updates to Two Blockchain-Related Products

With Ethereum 2.0 is still in the works, layer-two solutions like ZK proofs and Optimistic Rollups continue to be touted as short-term solutions to increase Ethereum’s network throughput.

ZK proofs are not EY’s only exploratory work on blockchain technology. Indeed, the firm has previously published a blockchain analyzer tool. The auditing giant released a beta version of the smart contract analyzer back in April 2019.