"Privacy and verifiability are fundamental security goals that often conflict with each other. In elections we want to verify that the final tally is correct without violating the voters’ privacy; companies are audited but do not want financial statements to disclose the details of their business strategies; people identifying themselves do not want their personal information to be abused in identity theft, etc.
Zero-knowledge proofs allow the verification of facts with minimal privacy loss. More precisely, a zero-knowledge proof is a protocol that allows a prover to convince a verifier about the truth of a statement in a manner that does not disclose any other information. The ability to combine verification and privacy makes zero-knowledge proofs extremely useful; they are used in numerous cryptographic protocols.
The purpose of this proposal is to establish a research group dedicated to the study of zero-knowledge proofs. A main focus of the group will be to improve efficiency. Zero-knowledge proofs can be very complex and in many security applications the zero-knowledge proofs are the main performance bottleneck. This leads to a significant cost in terms of time and money; or if the cost is too high it may force users to use insecure schemes without zero-knowledge proofs.
Our vision will be to reduce the cost of zero-knowledge proofs so much that instead of being expensive protocols components they become so cheap that their cost is insignificant compared to other protocol components. This will make existing cryptographic protocols that rely on zero-knowledge proofs faster and also broaden the range of security applications where zero-knowledge proofs can be used."
Call for proposal
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