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The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

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  • The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

    "Zero knowledge" is the situation in which the verifier does not know what the prover knows, because the prover is not telling him, but the verifier can still verify that what the prover knows is true. It allows for the following:

    You will not tell me what you know, but from what you say, I will still be able to verify that what you know, is true.

    Anybody would normally think that this is not possible? Strange but true, it really works, and there are now $650+ million dollars riding on this concept in ZCash:

    https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/zcash

    Ethereum ($27 billion dollars market cap) is now also trying to implement the underlying concept.

    I wonder if there are elements in religion that could revolve around "zero knowledge"?
    Is there anybody else possibly interested in this "zero knowledge" subject?

  • #2
    Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

    Explain it again
    ...And he who fears Allah - He will make for him a way out. [65:3]
    "Put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)."
    :love: [Al-Imran 3:159] :love:

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

      Originally posted by RaNdOm View Post
      Explain it again
      Well, it is indeed weird, and you would probably not believe that it is possible. You know something, but you do not want or cannot tell me. I do not need to know what it is. I only need to be able to verify that it is true.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

        Originally posted by pronorah View Post
        Well, it is indeed weird, and you would probably not believe that it is possible. You know something, but you do not want or cannot tell me. I do not need to know what it is. I only need to be able to verify that it is true.
        Oh ok yeh I do that a lot with my siblings
        ...And he who fears Allah - He will make for him a way out. [65:3]
        "Put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)."
        :love: [Al-Imran 3:159] :love:

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

          Originally posted by RaNdOm View Post
          Oh ok yeh I do that a lot with my siblings
          How do you make sure that they know that it is true what you know, without telling them what it is that you know?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

            Originally posted by pronorah View Post
            "Zero knowledge" is the situation in which the verifier does not know what the prover knows, because the prover is not telling him, but the verifier can still verify that what the prover knows is true. It allows for the following:

            You will not tell me what you know, but from what you say, I will still be able to verify that what you know, is true.

            Anybody would normally think that this is not possible? Strange but true, it really works, and there are now $650+ million dollars riding on this concept in ZCash:

            https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/zcash

            Ethereum ($27 billion dollars market cap) is now also trying to implement the underlying concept.

            I wonder if there are elements in religion that could revolve around "zero knowledge"?
            Is there anybody else possibly interested in this "zero knowledge" subject?
            I am not sure why you try to assimilate the odd thing or 3 with a Deen that is complete.

            Many of these crypto-protocols are smoke and mirrors, because they claim to do things without 3rd-party audits.

            Instead of wasting your time pondering how electronic-cash can be "zero knowledge" (hint, it never can or will be), rather invest your time in building a palace in Jannah, which will be made of real gold and not electronic-fiat.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

              Originally posted by horizon View Post
              Many of these crypto-protocols are smoke and mirrors
              I am fascinated with particular math subjects, some of which I admit, are weird. In fact, it is exactly because they are so weird, that I am fascinated with them. I cannot stop thinking of how to pull off that kind of things?
              Originally posted by horizon View Post
              Instead of wasting your time pondering how electronic-cash can be "zero knowledge" (hint, it never can or will be)
              Peer review of the seminal paper is actually quite encouraging: https://eprint.iacr.org/2013/879.pdf Everybody calls it "moon math". I am still struggling, trying to catch up with these guys. The paper is indeed "unreadable", but I am reading up specific sub-items in it, and I am slowly but surely making progress. I will not be easy to completely understand it.

              So, the prover proves that he received from an unspecified source, an unspecified amount, and signs it over to unspecified destinations, proving that he does not sign over more than he received, without ever disclosing how much he received.

              There may be flaws in their construct, but you will have to be an expert at "moon math" to detect it. I am afraid that you may not necessarily be sufficiently qualified to criticize the whitepaper; but some people probably are. (Hint: not me).

              Originally posted by horizon View Post
              rather invest your time in building a palace in Jannah, which will be made of real gold and not electronic-fiat.
              No, I like "moon math" too much for that. This time, I am not sure that I will be able to overcome the obstacle. It may be too high for me, but I will keep trying,though. I will simply have to find a way to get into Jannah by doing stuff with "moon math".

              Consider the setting where a client owns a public input x, a server owns a private input w, and the client wishes to learn z:=F(x;w) for a program F known to both parties. For instance, x may be a query, w a confidential database, and F the program that executes the query on the database. The client is concerned about integrity of computation: how can he ascertain that the server reports the correct output z? In contrast, the server is concerned about confidentiality of his own input: how can he prevent the client from learning information about w ?

              I marvel at the fact that they are even trying this. If I had not seen that academic paper, I would simply not believe that it is possible.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

                Originally posted by pronorah View Post
                I am fascinated with particular math subjects, some of which I admit, are weird.

                ...

                No, I like "moon math" too much for that. This time, I am not sure that I will be able to overcome the obstacle. It may be too high for me, but I will keep trying,though. I will simply have to find a way to get into Jannah by doing stuff with "moon math".

                ...

                I marvel at the fact that they are even trying this. If I had not seen that academic paper, I would simply not believe that it is possible.
                I think those 2 lines just about sum up why nobody really engages with you (much) on this forum. You can go ahead and accumulate all the "moon math" and all the wealth of this world, put it into your quasi-crypto crypto-currency, pretend you're uber-smart like all the other snake-oil salesmen selling their fake-coins, but none of it will weigh as much on Qiyaamah as one:

                Allahu

                May you find peace and contentment brother.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

                  Originally posted by horizon View Post
                  I think those 2 lines just about sum up why nobody really engages with you (much) on this forum.
                  Actually, some people do. Not everybody, of course. Other people told me that they find my use of language and vocabulary too complicated for them. It is sometimes hard to simplify it, when the vocabulary in that kind of whitepapers is even much more complicated than what I normally write. I do not understand all of it, but gradually I may accidentally add it to my own vocabulary, which then in turn then also becomes more inaccessible. I seriously do not know how to address this issue. Picking other subjects? The problem is that I may find these other subjects boring. So, not sure how to solve the problem.

                  Originally posted by horizon View Post
                  You can go ahead and accumulate all the "moon math" and all the wealth of this world
                  I was never interested in the wealth, actually. I am indeed interested in the "moon math", though. I only accidentally make money with it.

                  Originally posted by horizon View Post
                  pretend you're uber-smart
                  I am not Uber smart, but for example, Vitalik certainly is. I know for a fact that I really cannot do what he does.

                  Originally posted by horizon View Post
                  like all the other snake-oil salesmen selling their fake-coins
                  I never sold anything here. I sell software services with a cryptomath slant. I do not believe for a second that there would be potential clients for that on this forum. I do not sell cryptocurrencies for a living either. There are specialized online markets where you can do that. That is really not why I am here. I can show you the places where I would go, if I were looking for someone to buy service from me. It is certainly not efficient to do that here. Only very specialized online places bring people together buying/selling this kind of things. I am here because I am just an utmost humble servant of our beloved Master, Lord of both worlds, Creator, Protector, and Sustainer of this universe, the Most Merciful and Most Compassionate, the illustrious Allah.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

                    Originally posted by pronorah View Post
                    How do you make sure that they know that it is true what you know, without telling them what it is that you know?
                    Oh so basically I just blush when they ask me and normally I give them an answer but when I stay quiet and look uncomfortable they know I can't tell them :)
                    ...And he who fears Allah - He will make for him a way out. [65:3]
                    "Put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)."
                    :love: [Al-Imran 3:159] :love:

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

                      Originally posted by pronorah View Post
                      So, the prover proves that he received from an unspecified source, an unspecified amount, and signs it over to unspecified destinations, proving that he does not sign over more than he received, without ever disclosing how much he received.
                      But how do they do this? At first glance, the only way the prover can prove he received anything without disclosing how much he received is if he produces evidence that the original source supplied something. Equally, the only way he can prove he did not sign over more than he received without ever disclosing how much he received or even that he signed over anything is by producing evidence that the receivers accepted something. Without evidence for at least two of the elements involved - the existence of the original source, the existence of the destinations or evidence that the transactions took place - there's no reason to believe the claim - in fact, there's good reason not to believe the claim if people refuse to make any disclosures when asked. Even if the evidence is produced, that does not confirm all of the claim.
                      Most financial transactions - from the view of everyone involved - are like that, but that is because people do not have time to check them and because nearly all of them are honest sales and purchases. A lot of fraudsters make their money out of the fact that people don't have time to check the transactions they say took place. However, the anomalies show up fairly quickly. That's a matter of psychology and statistics rather than maths, though.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

                        Originally posted by Sceptic View Post
                        But how do they do this? At first glance, the only way the prover can prove he received anything without disclosing how much he received is if he produces evidence that the original source supplied something. Equally, the only way he can prove he did not sign over more than he received without ever disclosing how much he received or even that he signed over anything is by producing evidence that the receivers accepted something. Without evidence for at least two of the elements involved - the existence of the original source, the existence of the destinations or evidence that the transactions took place - there's no reason to believe the claim - in fact, there's good reason not to believe the claim if people refuse to make any disclosures when asked. Even if the evidence is produced, that does not confirm all of the claim.
                        Most financial transactions - from the view of everyone involved - are like that, but that is because people do not have time to check them and because nearly all of them are honest sales and purchases. A lot of fraudsters make their money out of the fact that people don't have time to check the transactions they say took place. However, the anomalies show up fairly quickly. That's a matter of psychology and statistics rather than maths, though.
                        The Wikipedia example for an interactive zero-knowledge proof:

                        Two balls and the colour-blind friend

                        This example requires two identical objects with different colours, such as two coloured balls and it is considered one of the easiest examples to explain how interactive zero knowledge proofs work. It was first demonstrated live by software engineers Konstantinos Chalkias and Mike Hearn at a blockchain related conference in September 2017 and is inspired by Prof. Oded Goldreich's work who used two differently coloured cards.

                        Imagine your friend is colour-blind and you have 2 balls; one red and one green, but they are otherwise identical when you touch them. To your friend they seem completely identical and he is sceptical that they are actually distinguishable. You want to prove to him they are in fact differently-coloured, but nothing else, thus you do not reveal which one is the red and which is the green.

                        Here is the proof system. You give the two balls to your friend and he puts them behind his back. Next, he gets one of the balls and brings it out from behind his back. From now on he will always put the ball behind his back and with probability 50% he will reveal one of the two balls. Each time he will ask you "Did I switch the ball?"

                        By looking at their colours, you can of course say with certainty whether or not he switched them. On the other hand, if they were the same colour and hence indistinguishable, there is no way you could guess correctly with probability higher than 50%.

                        If you and your friend repeat this "proof" multiple times (e.g. 128), your friend should become convinced ("completeness") that the balls are indeed differently coloured; otherwise, the probability that you would have randomly succeeded at identifying all the switch/non-switches is close to zero ("soundness").

                        The above proof is "zero-knowledge" because your friend never learns which ball is green and which is red; indeed, he gains no knowledge about how to distinguish the balls.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

                          So in the blockchain conference example, the verifier receives proof that the prover knows what the colours of two balls are. However, the prover never reveals to the verifier what these colours actually are.

                          So, the verifier is convinced that it is true that the prover knows it, but without getting to know what that knowledge is (=colour of the balls).

                          It is nicely done without "moon math" here.

                          The simplest situation is the one in which the prover can just reveal the knowledge; but that is not zero knowledge.
                          Interactive zero knowledge (as with the coloured balls) is still relatively simple.
                          It is non-interactive zero knowledge that requires "moon math": The verifier is not allowed to interrogate the prover. He only gets the proof in one go, and that's it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

                            Originally posted by pronorah View Post
                            So in the blockchain conference example, the verifier receives proof that the prover knows what the colours of two balls are. However, the prover never reveals to the verifier what these colours actually are.

                            So, the verifier is convinced that it is true that the prover knows it, but without getting to know what that knowledge is (=colour of the balls).

                            It is nicely done without "moon math" here.

                            The simplest situation is the one in which the prover can just reveal the knowledge; but that is not zero knowledge.
                            Interactive zero knowledge (as with the coloured balls) is still relatively simple.
                            It is non-interactive zero knowledge that requires "moon math": The verifier is not allowed to interrogate the prover. He only gets the proof in one go, and that's it.
                            I think it was something similar that led Dalton to discover and investigate his own colour-blindness.
                            That's a closed cycle, though. Accepting that someone knows something you do not - even cannot - know is not proof that the causes and consequences are known or knowable.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The fascinating subject of "zero knowledge"

                              Presume a country does most of the transactions, if they work together then they can essentially manipulate any amount they want, at the cost of the users trust in the currency rather than trick or hack people.
                              Cryptocurrencies are flawed as fiat money.

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