Talk: 17:10–17:55 (English)

Zero-Knowledge-Proofs for Privacy and Trust

Zero-knowledge proofs are cryptographic techniques that allow a prover to convince a verifier that certain statements hold, without providing any additional information. They are becoming increasingly popular in the blockchain space, as they provide solutions to overcome inherent weaknesses of blockchains: as they assume a complete lack of trust between participants, every calculation has to be replicated by multiple parties, which leads to poor efficiency. Also, blockchains provide a shared public ledger, which by default is lacking any privacy.

In this presentation, we will discuss zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge (zkSNARKS). Using the mina blockchain and smart contract system as an example, we will show how they can be used to efficiently create trust in an untrusted environment. We will also look at how they allow creating applications with a programmable degree of privacy.

While zero knowledge techniques are a perfect match for blockchains, and they are rapidly gaining traction in that industry, their usefulness goes beyond that. The goal of this presentation is to introduce the audience to the concept of zero knowledge proofs, and provide a basic understanding and intuition of how they work, and under which circumstances they can be useful.

Philipp Kant


Philipp learned functional programming while being a postdoc in theoretical physics, and loved it enough to switch to software engineering. He has worked as a consultant, individual contributor, and leader on different levels. He now works at Mina Foundation as a technical product manager.