Zero knowledge proofs (ZKPs) are a type of cryptographic method that allow one party to prove to another party that they possess certain information, without revealing the actual information itself. In other words, the proving party can demonstrate the validity of a statement without revealing any of the details or underlying data that support the statement.
There are two main types of zero knowledge proofs: zkSNARKs and zkSTARKs.
zkSNARKs (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge) are a type of zero knowledge proof that uses a mathematical proof to demonstrate the validity of a statement without revealing any information about the statement itself. This makes zkSNARKs particularly useful for providing privacy and anonymity in transactions, as they allow users to prove that they own certain assets or have certain credentials without revealing their identity or any other personal information.
zkSTARKs (Zero-Knowledge Scalable Transparent ARgument of Knowledge) are a newer type of zero knowledge proof that offer several benefits over zkSNARKs. Unlike zkSNARKs, which rely on a trusted setup process, zkSTARKs do not require any such setup and are therefore considered to be more secure. In addition, zkSTARKs are more efficient and scalable than zkSNARKs, making them suitable for use in larger and more complex systems.
Overall, zero knowledge proofs are a powerful tool for enabling privacy and anonymity in the digital world. While both zkSNARKs and zkSTARKs have their own unique benefits and trade-offs, both are likely to play an important role in the development of secure and private systems in the future.