You Can Now Prove a Whole Blockchain With One Math Problem – Really

The Electric Coin Company (ECC) says it discovered a new way to scale blockchains with “recursive proof composition,” a proof to verify the entirety of …

The Electric Coin Company (ECC) says it discovered a new way to scale blockchains with “recursive proof composition,” a proof to verify the entirety of a blockchain in one function. For the ECC and zcash, the new project, Halo, may hold the key to privacy at scale.

A privacy coin based on zero-knowledge proofs, referred to as zk-SNARKs, zcash’s current underlying protocol relies on “trusted setups.” These mathematical parameters were used twice in zcash’s short history: upon its launch in 2016 and first large protocol change, Sapling, in 2018.

Zcash masks transations through zk-SNARKs but the creation of initial parameters remains an issue. By not destroying a transaction’s mathematical foundation – the trusted setup – the holder can produce forged zcash.

Related:As Crypto Markets Go Cold, Who Will Pay for Open-Source Code?

Moreover, the elaborate ‘ceremonies‘ the zcash community undergoes to create the trusted setups are expensive and a weak point for the entire system. The reliance on trusted setups with zk-SNARKs was well known even before zcash’s debut in 2016. While other research failed to close the gap, recursive proofs make trusted setups a thing of the past, the ECC claims.

Bowe’s Halo

Speaking with CoinDesk, ECC engineer and Halo inventor Sean Bowe said recursive proof composition is the result of years of labor – by him and others – and months of personal frustration. In fact, he almost gave up three separate times.

Bowe began working for the ECC after his interest in zk-SNARKs was noticed by ECC CEO and zcash co-founder Zooko Wilcox in 2015. After helping launch zcash and its first significant protocol change with Sapling, Bowe moved to full-time research with the company.

Before Halo, Bowe worked on a different zk-SNARK variant, Sonic, requiring only one trusted setup.

Related:Zcash Developer Electric Coin Co. Reveals Q1 Financial Loss

For most cypherpunks, that’s one too many.

“People we are also starting to think as far back as 2008, we should be able to have proofs that can verify other proofs, what we call recursive proof composition. This happened in 2014,” Bowe told CoinDesk.

Proofs, proofs and more proofs

In essence, Bowe and Co. discovered a new method of proving the validity of transactions, while masked, by compressing computational data to the bare minimum. As the ECC paper puts it, “proofs that are capable of verifying other instances of themselves.”

Blockchain transaction such as bitcoin and zcash are based on elliptic curves with points on the curve serving as the basis for the public and private keys. The public address can be thought of the curve: we know what the elliptic curve looks like in general. What we do not know is where the private addresses are which reside on the curve.

It is the function of zk-SNARKs to communicate about private addresses and transactions–if an address exists and where it exists on the curve–anonymously.

The secp256k1 elliptic curve, used for bitcoin and ethereum via Hackernoon

Bowe’s work is similar to bulletproofs, another zk-SNARK that requires no trusted setup. “What you should think of when you think of Halo is like recursive bulletproofs,” Bowe said.

From a technical standpoint, bulletproofs rely on the “inner product argument,” which relays certain information about the curves to one another. Unfortunately, the argument is both very expensive and time consuming compared to your typical zk-SNARK verification.

By proving multiple zk-SNARKs with one–a task thought impossible until Bowe’s research–computational energy is pruned to a fraction of the cost.

“People have been thinking of bulletproofs on top of bulletproofs. The problem the bulletproof verifier is extremely expensive because of the inner product argument,” Bowe said. “I don’t use bulletproofs exactly, I use a previous idea bulletproofs are built on.”

In fact, Bowe said recursive proofs mean you can prove the entirety of the bitcoin blockchain in less space than a bitcoin blockhead takes – 80-bytes of data.

The future of zcash

Writing on Twitter, Wilcox said his company is currently studying the Halo implementation as a Layer 1 solution on zcash.

Layer 1 solutions are implementations into the codebase constituting a blockchain. Most scaling solutions, like bitcoin’s Lightning Network, are Layer 2 solutions built on top of a blockchain’s state. The ECC’s interest in turning Halo into a Layer 1 solution speaks to the originality of the discovery as it will reside next to code copied from bitcoin’s creator himself, Satoshi Nakamoto.

ECC is exploring the use of Halo for Zcash to both eliminate trusted setup and to scale Zcash at Layer 1 using nested proof composition.

— zooko (@zooko) September 10, 2019

Since the early days of privacy coins, scaling has been a contentious issue: with so much data needed to mask transactions, how do you grow a global network?

Bowe and the ECC claim recursive proofs solve this dilemma: with only one proof needed to verify an entire blockchain, data concerns could be a thing of the past:

“Privacy and scalability are two different concepts, but they come together nicely here. About 5 years ago, academics were working on recursive snarks, a proof that could verify itself or another proof [and even] verify multiple proofs. So, what [recursive proof composition] means is you only need one proof to verify an entire blockchain.”

To be sure, this isn’t sophomore-level algebra: Bowe told CoinDesk the proof alone took close to nine months of glueing various pieces together.

A new way to node

A further implication of recursive proofs is the amount of data stored on the blockchain. Since the entire ledger can be verified in one function, onboarding new nodes will be easier than ever, Bowe said.

“You’re going to see blockchains that have much higher capacity because you don’t have to communicate the entire history in one. The state chain still needs to be seen. But if you want to entire the network you don’t need to download the entire blockchain.”

While state chains still need to be monitored for basic transaction verification, syncing the entire history of a blockchain–over 400 GB and 200 GB for ethereum and bitcoin respectively–becomes a redundancy.

For zcash, Halo means easier hard forks. Without trusted setups, ECC research claims, “proofs of state changes need only reference the latest proof, allowing old history to be discarded forever.”

When asked where his discovery ranks with other advancements, Bowe spoke on its practicality:

“Where does this stand in the grand scheme of things in cryptocurrency? It’s a cryptographic tool to compress computation… and scale protocols.”

Rubix cube image via Shutterstock

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Bitcoin market update: BTC/USD slow weekend trading stuck in a narrow range

Bitcoin volatility levels become extremely erratic coupled with unstable trading volumes. The weekend session will see Bitcoin dance within a range …
  • Bitcoin volatility levels become extremely erratic coupled with unstable trading volumes.
  • The weekend session will see Bitcoin dance within a range ($10,400 – $10,200) as long as the technical levels remain the same.

Bitcoin price appears to be sliding into a narrow range between $10,400 (immediate resistance) and $10,200 (buyer congestion zone). Since the drop from September highs at $10,949, BTC has not been able to gain considerable ground. However, the slide to $9,800 support earlier this week, was met by an immediate reversal which tested the resistance at $10,600.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin exchange trading volume has been erratic in the last seven days. The data by CoinMarketCap Shows the trading volume on September 7 at $15 billion. There was an upward correction to $17 billion on September 9 followed by a slump to $14 billion on September 13. At the time of press, Bitcoin volume in the last 24-hours stands at $13 billion. In the same period, the market capitalization dropped from $188 billion to $185 billion.

The unstable trading volume shows the rising volatility levels in the past week. At the time of press, Bitcoin is holding ground just below the 50 Simple Moving Average (SMA) in the four-hour timeframe. Providing immediate support is the Bollinger Band four-hour middle curve. In the event of a drop below $10,200, the 100 SMA is in line to offer support.

In the near-term Bitcoin is expected to trade sideways between the above-mentioned range. The Moving Average Divergence Convergence (MACD) shows a higher affinity to sideways trading as it holds tightly onto the mean line (0.000).

BTC/USD 4-hour chart

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PotCoin (POT) Market Capitalization Achieves $1.63 Million

One PotCoin coin can now be bought for approximately $0.0073 or 0.00000072 BTC on major exchanges including Poloniex, Bleutrade, Bittrex and …

PotCoin logoPotCoin (CURRENCY:POT) traded 5.4% higher against the US dollar during the 24-hour period ending at 10:00 AM ET on September 12th. One PotCoin coin can now be bought for approximately $0.0073 or 0.00000072 BTC on major exchanges including Poloniex, Bleutrade, Bittrex and CoinExchange. PotCoin has a total market capitalization of $1.63 million and approximately $355.00 worth of PotCoin was traded on exchanges in the last 24 hours. Over the last seven days, PotCoin has traded down 7% against the US dollar.

Here’s how similar cryptocurrencies have performed over the last 24 hours:

  • Bitcoin (BTC) traded up 2.3% against the dollar and now trades at $10,315.83 or 1.00000000 BTC.
  • Ethereum (ETH) traded 0.9% higher against the dollar and now trades at $180.18 or 0.01747170 BTC.
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH) traded 0.4% higher against the dollar and now trades at $300.80 or 0.02916906 BTC.
  • Litecoin (LTC) traded down 1.2% against the dollar and now trades at $69.81 or 0.00676908 BTC.
  • Monero (XMR) traded 0.4% higher against the dollar and now trades at $73.58 or 0.00713530 BTC.
  • UNUS SED LEO (LEO) traded 0.8% higher against the dollar and now trades at $1.07 or 0.00010344 BTC.
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC) traded 1.5% lower against the dollar and now trades at $6.25 or 0.00060580 BTC.
  • Zcash (ZEC) traded 0.3% lower against the dollar and now trades at $44.71 or 0.00433599 BTC.
  • Dogecoin (DOGE) traded 0.6% lower against the dollar and now trades at $0.0024 or 0.00000023 BTC.
  • HedgeTrade (HEDG) traded up 3.8% against the dollar and now trades at $0.94 or 0.00009142 BTC.

PotCoin Profile

PotCoin (CRYPTO:POT) is a proof-of-work (PoW) coin that uses the ProofofStakeVelocity hashing algorithm. It launched on January 21st, 2014. PotCoin’s total supply is 222,721,542 coins. PotCoin’s official Twitter account is @PotCoin and its Facebook page is accessible here. The Reddit community for PotCoin is /r/potcoin and the currency’s Github account can be viewed here. The official message board for PotCoin is steemit.com/@potcoin. PotCoin’s official website is www.potcoin.com.

PotCoin Coin Trading

PotCoin can be bought or sold on these cryptocurrency exchanges: Cryptopia, CoinExchange, Tux Exchange, Bittrex, Bleutrade, Poloniex and Trade By Trade. It is usually not possible to purchase alternative cryptocurrencies such as PotCoin directly using U.S. dollars. Investors seeking to trade PotCoin should first purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum using an exchange that deals in U.S. dollars such as GDAX, Changelly or Coinbase. Investors can then use their newly-acquired Bitcoin or Ethereum to purchase PotCoin using one of the exchanges listed above.

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Bitfinex Wants You to Shine

The cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex might not enjoy the best reputation. Yet, it’s offering new features. We all recall the recent scandal surrounding …
Bitfinex has launched a new feature

The cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex might not enjoy the best reputation. Yet, it’s offering new features.

We all recall the recent scandal surrounding Tether and Bitfinex. However, it seems as though the exchange is still alive and kicking. Following a temporary closure for technical servicing, the exchange re-surfaced. Voila! Starting today, every customer has a fair chance to become a celebrity. New leaderboards have become available on the resource. What kind of information will you find there? Indeed, the list of most profitable traders on Bitfinex who give their consent. It’s officially time for you to shine.

The time for you to shine has finally arrived!

Enable your account for the public leaderboards and have your name in lightshttps://t.co/n7Gt6zIBce

Visit https://t.co/giCV76wMh8 to know more. pic.twitter.com/WeNXHqjSbQ

— Bitfinex (@bitfinex) September 11, 2019

Activate your Bitfinex account today and become a top user on the leaderboard

Every trader can appear in one of the following leaderboard’s categories:

  • 3-hour Traders Top by Volume Global in USD
  • 7-day Traders Top by Volume Global in USD
  • 30-day Traders Top by Volume Global in USD
  • 7-day Traders Top by Realized Profit Global in USD
  • 3-hour Traders Top by Unrealized Profit Global in USD
  • 3-hour Traders Top by Unrealized Profit and Volume per Trading Pairs

Predictably, some on Twitter reacted negatively to the post. And with a bit of sarcasm as well. For instance, @wadyatalkinabwt suggested creating a loserboard as well. It would be very curious to see it.

What about a loserboard??

— Sassy (@wadyatalkinabwt) September 11, 2019

@AlexanderChain9 was a bit more outspoken about this. He simply stated that “no one gives a shit about it.”
In August, Bitfinex listed Tezos and Stellar pairs for margin trading. Besides, Ethfinex has spun out of Bitfinex.

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Blockstack Raises $23 Million in First SEC-Approved Token Offering

The company confirmed that its offering attracted investors from both the U.S. and abroad, including Arrington Capital, Lux Capital, Spartan Group, …

Posted on Sep 11, 2019

Blockstack has announced that its SEC-approved token offering closed on September 9, after raising a total of $23 million. Blockstack co-founder and CEO Muneeb Ali announced the news in a recent blog post that thanked the thousands of investors who participated in the sale:

“More than 4,500 individuals and entities participated in the 2019 token offerings. Blockstack PBC has entered into agreements for more than $23M in these offerings (including both our SEC-qualified token offering and our offering to investors outside the United States made under Regulation S).”

The company confirmed that its offering attracted investors from both the U.S. and abroad, including Arrington Capital, Lux Capital, Spartan Group, Union Square Ventures, and a number of other funds. Ali also claimed that Blockstack is currently in talks with other international investors that could raise $5 Million or more in additional funds.

The post suggested that distribution of the tokens would begin in roughly 30 days. The company is currently negotiating with international exchanges in hopes of getting Stacks (STX) tokens listen for trading around October or thereafter.

Meanwhile, the company is planning to use the funds raise from its offering to continue its expansion:

“Following the distribution of the tokens, which is expected to occur in 30 days, Blockstack PBC plans to use funds from the 2019 token offerings to fuel further growth of the Blockstack decentralized computing network. This includes supporting user acquisition efforts, creating educational and marketing materials, supporting community events, expanding into potential new territories, and more.”

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