- ING “zero-knowledge range proofs” which is a big improvement on “zero-knowledge proofs.”
- ING added it is yet adding another concept known as “zero-knowledge set membership.”
ING, the Netherlands-based banking giant, is proving to firms that they aren’t the only ones that can expand into blockchain technology as it turns to the modification of an area of cryptography known as zero-knowledge proofs. Originally, zero-knowledge proofs enable anyone to prove that he has knowledge of a secret without disclosing the secret itself. This tool is very promising for the financial institutions that are attracted by the benefits associated with shared ledgers but are cautious of disclosing too much data to their competitors. Zcash had previously applied this tool, offering banks a way of transferring assets without tipping their hands or compromising customer’s privacy.
However, ING created a modification called “zero-knowledge range proofs.” This modified tool can prove that a number is within a specific range without necessarily disclosing the exact number. This is really an improvement as it employs less computational power, hence running faster on a blockchain.
According to the global head of ING’s blockchain program, Mariana Gomez de la Villa, zero-knowledge range proofs can be utilized to prove that a person’s salary falls within the range required to get a mortgage without disclosing the real salary figure. She said:
“It can be used to protect the denomination of a transaction, but still allowing validation that there’s enough money in the participant account to settle the transaction.”
ING is also adding another concept to the enterprise blockchain privacy known as “zero-knowledge set membership.” ING had earlier revealed that it is taking the zero-knowledge concept beyond numbers to include other types of data.
Zero-knowledge set membership enables anyone to prove that a secret belongs to a generic set, which can be composed of any kind of information, such as locations, addresses, and names.
Mariana stated that zero-knowledge set membership has a wide-ranging potential application which is not restricted to numbers that belong to an interval but can be used in validating that any sort of data is correctly formed. She said:
“Set membership is more powerful than range proofs, for example, imagine that you could validate that someone lives in a country that belongs to the European Union, without revealing which one.”
This action has now made ING a part of a wide community of experts advancing the scope of zero-knowledge proofs.
Last year, Jonathan Bootle of University College of London and Benedikt Bunz of Stanford launched “Bulletproofs,” which intensely improves zero-knowledge proofs’ performance by enabling the proving of a much wider class of statements than just range proofs. Many other firms like Silicon Valley Startup Chain have taken the concept into the enterprise space.
Financial institutions were not left out of the trend. The best-known implementation of zero-knowledge proofs among banks is in the JPMorgan’s Quorum. However, ING stated that its concept is an advancement on the Quorum model, ING’s zero-knowledge range proofs concept is designed to be computationally less time-consuming than previous zero knowledge deployments and so run faster on distributed ledgers. Mariana said:
“Zk-SNARKs, used in JPM Quorum, are known to be less efficient than the construction of zero-knowledge proofs for a specific purpose, as is the case of zero-knowledge range proofs. Indeed, range proofs are at least an order of magnitude faster.”