One of the longest running problems in Blockchain is scalability and privacy. StarkWare aims to create computational integrity proofs. Computational proofs can be revolutionary in proving A or B. One example given was tracing the DNA to the actual perpetrator and proving that this is indeed the culprit and under the current system placing trust in a centralized authority such as an auditor, could be prone to human error. This also creates a scalability problem when information can not be properly verified at high speed and could create a single point of failure.
“Zero knowledge (ZK) proof and argument systems are automated protocols that replace human auditors as a means of guaranteeing computational integrity over confidential data for any efficient computation, eliminating corruptibility and reducing costs.” – StarkWare
Blockchain offers incredible solutions to problems that currently exist in the world, but still the future development of Quantum Computing has caused some to be concerned about the strength of these chains long term. ZK (Zero Knowledge) replace auditors and guarantee computational integrity, they also reduce cost. It has been said that current ZK systems may not be prone to Quantum based attacks by large scale computers and this is one of StarkWares goals, to create a transparent and scalable system. Currently, the Cryptocurrency called “Zcash” integrates something called ZKsnarks, also known as Zero Knowledge Cryptography. It really stands for “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge.” It proves possession of certain information without revealing that information. “Zero-knowledge” proofs allow one party (the prover) to prove to another (the verifier) that a statement is true, without revealing any information beyond the validity of the statement itself (Zcash). StarkWares solution to the Quantum Computing threat is called “ZKStarks” and I see this more of an upgrade to the current system offered.
Scalability & Privacy
As we shift into a new world of technology using Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Zcash, Monero, Litecoin, Dash, etc the Blockchain space is facing many issues with scalability and privacy. Smart Contracts are in plans to be implemented into just about every fact of society. All of this is actually quite revolutionary but the tech is not ready yet for wider adoption. We still need to enhance what currently exist for it to scale, we also face more problems when it comes to privacy vs transparency. Really, what StarkWare is aiming to do is improve upon ZKsnarks. It’s an enhancement to a system that has already been in the works for years and we will continue to see projects like this entering the space. We have yet to solve many of the problems with Cryptocurrency and projects like StarkWare can escalate adoption and use by the masses, while they have no idea what technology is behind it all.
StarkWare is a team based in Israel headed by Eli Ben Sasson who is currently a professor of computer science at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. He also was a post-doctoral researcher at MIT and Harvard University, after completing his PhD in CS at the Hebrew University. He was also a founding member of the Zcash project which places him in high esteem for his next project. Additionally he is joined by Alessandro Chiesa, a founding scientist of the Zcash company. He received BSc degrees in CS and in Math, and a PhD in CS, from MIT. Uri Kolodny, a fellow Alumni of MIT. Michael Riabzev, who has 14 years of software development experience, including at Intel and IBM Research Labs.
The team is also joined by a multitude of highly trained engineers and researchers. Some of the biggest names in the Blockchain space are backing StarkWare like Pantera Capital, Polychain Capital, Bitmain, Vitalik Buterin the founder of Ethereum, and Zcash. The project will not be launching any sort of ICO as the sale was closed privately in January to strategic investors. It will be interesting to see how this project develops over the next few years and will definitely be keeping an eye on it’s progress.