Dusk Network shares new Zero-Knowledge Proof System PlonKup to take blockchain privacy mainstream

The tool, named PlonKup, makes it economically viable for public networks to add privacy and remain competitive in terms of gas prices.

AMSTERDAM, 31 January 2022 - Privacy blockchain project Dusk Network has created the zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) system “PlonKup” to make cryptographic obfuscation of data on layer-1 blockchains affordable. Let’s break down unique aspects, and investigate why this is so important for the blockchain industry.

The major adoption hurdles public networks face today revolve around privacy and scalability. While it is already technically possible for public networks to ensure data-privacy on-chain, scalable privacy is so far limited to purpose-built blockchains like zCash, who use ZK-SNARKS for simple transaction confidentiality. Thanks to Dusk’s recent advancement in ZKP, many other public blockchains have the opportunity to ensure data privacy on-chain.

PlonKup is built to boost the performance of ZK-SNARKs. It is the first specification that reconciles the PLONK zero-knowledge proof system with PLOOKUP, two ZK-SNARKs invented by Aztec Protocol, Dusk Network said on Monday. 

PlonKup is a fully succinct ZK-SNARK that utilizes an updateable universal structured reference string, which can be securely re-used for new applications. Older ZK-SNARK systems require a so-called trusted setup for every single use case, with elaborate multi-party computation (MPC) procedures to uphold security parameters, making it very difficult, if not impossible, for networks to scale effectively. Use cases with PlonKup are theoretically unlimited once the network completes its first and only trusted setup.

In addition, the tool makes it possible to securely use precomputed lookup table combinations, which would severely speed-up proving times for more complex applications. Until recently, generating proofs for such complex functions was still too computationally intensive to be practical. Thanks to PlonKup, many layer-1 blockchain are now able to add privacy to their network, whilst also remaining competitive in terms of gas prices.

By synergizing PlonKup with the Reinforced Concrete hashing algorithm, we’ve achieved a level of optimization that outperforms the regular implementation of PlonK with other hash functions, said Dusk researcher Marta Bellés-Muñoz. And this opens the blockchain up to entirely new zero-knowledge use cases that were too costly to operate before.

Recursion is one of those new use cases. According to Dusk Network, PlonKup makes it possible to include recursive proof verification, or ZK rollups, in which a proof can verify itself, another proof, and even multiple proofs, thereby reducing the amount of data that needs to be stored on the blockchain. To succeed in recursion, the company has already allocated funding from its grant program Helios towards ZK-recursion research.

The PlonKup creation is a stellar example of technology, as Dusk’s researchers worked closely together with industry experts and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

The research is submitted to IACR with permission and on behalf of all the authors:

- Luke Pearson - former Dusk Network, Polychain Capital

- Joshua Fitzgerald - Anoma

- Héctor Masip - Polytechnic University of Catalonia

- Jose Luis Muñoz-Tapia - Polytechnic University of Catalonia

- Marta Bellés-Muñoz - Dusk Network

  • The PlonKup repository is publicly available on Github

  • Various industry projects such as Anoma are using the PlonKup technology or forking it towards their own required implementation

  • The impact of ZK-technology on the blockchain industry is  key market players. For example, the importance of ZKPs for “big block chains” is recently acknowledged by Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin in his latest post dubbed “Endgame”.

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About Dusk Network

Dusk Network is an open source blockchain for financial applications. Data protection and privacy-preservation play a major role in Dusk Network, as well as its design for regulatory compliance. The blockchain is eco-friendly, thanks to its Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism; a novel and efficient method of reaching agreement on the current state of the global ledger. Notably, the blockchain supports privacy-friendly smart contracts. Companies use the Dusk Network to power financial applications, issue tokens, trade and collaborate on a global scale. Dusk Network is built by a team of experts from Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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