Boosted ZKPs on Mobile with ZPrize

Author: Victor Graf, cryptography advisor & contributing ZPrize mobile architect

Coming out of the ZPrize competition, zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) generation on mobile is getting a major boost. This is a big step towards bringing private and decentralized applications to people who need them most.

Zero-knowledge proofs are in the process of transforming Web3. Enabling blockchains to scale to serve millions of users, and unlocking fundamentally new architectures for establishing privacy and decentralization. Possibly the largest barrier to widespread adoption is the computational cost of generating a proof, especially for privacy applications on mobile phones.

Smartphones are the sole gateway to the Internet for the majority of people in the world. That means that the applications that are going to transform the world are going to do so on mobile. Towards this goal, Ocelot is the major sponsor of the ZPrize competition to accelerate MSM on Mobile.

Results are in and the top competitor, the gnark team of ConsenSys, produced a speedup of 4.2x. In an application such as a private transactions or proof of identity, this can reduce the waiting time for a transaction taking 3 seconds to about 700ms, or from 10 seconds to just a little over 2. That can easily be the difference between a user walking away from an app, and having a great experience.

Gautam Botrel and Youssef El Housni are the engineers behind the impressive performance boost. They are researchers at ConsenSys, and core contributors to the gnark and gnark-crypto open source projects focusing on high performance cryptography, written in Go. Recent work includes “EdMSM: Multi-Scalar-Multiplication for recursive SNARKs” (which describes the techniques used for the ZPrize competition) and “A survey of elliptic curves for proof systems”.

Coming in 2nd place is YYTeam with a performance improvement of 2.1x, and tied for 3rd are Trapdoor Tech and Nick Stathas with speedups of 1.4x. All four competitors explored their own techniques for improving the performance of the cryptograhic code, and you can learn more and get the source code on their GitHub repos.

With sponsorships totaling $375,000, led by Ocelot and with contribution by Aleo, 0xPARC, and Samsung the competitors will be receiving some well-deserved rewards for their work. Below is a table with detailed results from the competition.

Repository sources:

The improvements created by the gnark team will be integrated into their high-quality ZKP library, making it ready to integrate into applications. Techniques developed by all four competitors advance the state of the art and bring us closer to a future of decentralized and private applications centered on users, and accessible from their mobile devices.

If you are excited to harness this transformative and rapidly developing technology, we need you to get involved. Here’s how:

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