ING Bank’s Blockchain Arm Creates ‘Zero-Knowledge Set Membership’
The Dutch multinational bank ING is building upon the Zero-Knowledge Range Proof solution it open-sourced last year. The new feature, dubbed “Zero-knowledge set membership,” will be able to validate multiple compartmentalized pieces of data.
Building on Zero-Knowledge
Leveraging the Zero-knowledge protocol, banks can transfer assets via blockchain without revealing superfluous information. In the simplest terms, the tech allows information to be conveyed without revealing unnecessary contextual information.
Last year, ING released the Zero-Knowledge Range Proof solution, which the company boasted was more efficient than the other Zero-knowledge proofs at that time. The range proof solution would allow for considering ranges instead of exact numbers. The new protocol would also use less computational power, resulting in faster transactions on the blockchain.
Now, Gomez de la Villa — global head of ING’s blockchain program — has commented that their newest Zero-knowledge development is superior to its predecessor, noting “Set membership is more powerful than range proofs.”
The Zero-knowledge concept was first introduced by zCash developer Zerocoin Electric Coin Company. Jack Gavigan, Chief Operating Officer at Zerocoin, has said:
“I think that’s why you see companies like ING delving into this space, getting hands-on with the technology, and joining the broader community — because when this technology matures and is ready for prime time, they’ll be ready and able to hit the ground running.”
ING Bank’s Collaborative Approach
JPMorgan Chase’s open-source blockchain project Quorum has also implemented Zero-knowledge proofs. In reference to the Quorum model, Villa stated:
“Zk-SNARKs, used in JPM Quorum, are known to be less efficient than the construction of zero-knowledge proofs for a specific purpose, as is the case of zero-knowledge range proofs. Indeed, range proofs are at least an order of magnitude faster.”
According to Villa, ING believes in a “collaborative effort” in its cryptography work, hence the multinational opening up the source code so that cryptographers can highlight any flaws in the network and suggest improvements.
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Images via MSPoweruser, Reuters