DoraHacks and Cryptosat Run the First Cryptographic Trusted-Setup for Zero-Knowledge in Space
SINGAPORE and PALO ALTO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / January 12, 2023 / DoraHacks, a leading global hackathon organizer and open source incentive platform, and Cryptosat, which develops and launches crypto-satellites into space to enable novel cryptographic applications, announced today that they have successfully performed the first experiment to initiate a Zero-Knowledge (ZK) proof system in space.
This historic event took place on the International Space Station (ISS), an isolated platform in low Earth orbit where no human (except the seven astronauts currently aboard the station) and no hacker can physically access or modify the hardware running the experiment.
The experiment involved taking a set of pre-uploaded open source programs to the International Space Station, and outputting a file that contains the "Common Reference String." The Common Reference String is used in DoraHacks' Zero-Knowledge proof powered voting program that protects user privacy and offers collusion resistance in voting and governance.
The output of this experiment will be used to ensure security of the voting mechanism used in Dora Grant DAO, an open-community grant organization that supports multi-chain Web3 infrastructures and public goods. This paves the way for Cryptosat towards a satellite-based service that would enable a fast turnaround for initiation of ZK proof systems.
"We are excited to unlock the possibility of running trusted setups for Zero-Knowledge schemes in space. The ability to perform a trusted setup in a completely isolated environment is key in making efficient SNARK schemes much more widely used, secure and easier to iterate on. By having Cryptosat participate in the ceremony, we guarantee there is at least one party out of this world making the ceremony more secure," said Cryptosat Co-founder Yonatan Winetraub.
Zero-knowledge proof systems, and SNARKs in particular, enable a vast range of possibilities, from rollups to collusion-resistant voting in DAOs. So far, the cryptographic ceremonies such as the "Powers of Tau" required to bootstrap a proof-system had either trust issues, or required bringing large numbers of participants which resulted in complex coordination with long turnaround times for commencing the ceremony.
Cryptosat's trusted compute environments in space provide the ultimate physical isolation and security, and will enable it to carry out instant cryptographic trusted-setups for ever-changing software. This experiment is a proof-of-concept that initiates cryptographic primitives in a space orbit, enabling DoraHacks to use the output Common Reference String in Zero-Knowledge proof powered applications.
It's not without limitations, though. In its current state, the cryptographic scheme (called "Groth16") used in this experiment requires a new setup every time the voting program changes, so it works for only one application instead of general applications. Moreover, there are two steps of the trusted setup process, and this experiment only runs the second step. Its success opens up the gate for DoraHacks and Cryptosat to design further space missions to improve the process.
"Ultimately, we want to use an isolated computing environment in space to conduct a complete trusted setup for zero-knowledge proof applications, including an ‘in-space ceremony' that produces CRS for multiple proof systems, like PLONK. If we can achieve this goal, we can provide a public good for all zero-knowledge proof powered applications, as well as a new paradigm to initiate cryptographic protocols in general," said Eric Zhang, the Founder & CEO of DoraHacks.
The experiment was performed in collaboration with the Italy-based Nanoracks Europe exploiting the ICE Cubes Service in orbit.
DoraHacks is a global hackathon organizer and one of the world's most active multi-chain Web3 developer platforms. It creates a global hacker movement and provides crypto native toolkits to help developers around the world team up and fund their ideas and BUIDLs via hackathons, bounties, grants, grant DAOs, and public good staking. By far, more than 3000 projects from the DoraHacks community have received over $20 million in grants and other forms of contributions from supporters worldwide. A large number of open source communities, DAOs, and more than 40 major blockchain ecosystems are actively using Dora's infrastructure (DoraHacks.io) for open source funding and community governance.
Media contact: Steve Ngok, Partner at DoraHacks, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Cryptosat builds and launches satellites that power blockchain and cryptographic protocols. Satellites are physically inaccessible and can serve as the most secure root-of-trust that guarantees the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive computations and data. Such tamper-proof satellites can serve numerous use-cases including transaction signing, trusted setups for cryptographic schemes, a randomness oracle, time-oracle (VDF) and more.
Founded by Stanford PhD alumni and second time founders Yonatan Winetraub and Yan Michalevsky, Cryptosat's team has a background in aerospace engineering, applied security, and cryptography. In 2018, they published the SpaceTEE paper that first introduced the idea of using small satellites for protecting sensitive cryptographic operations and protocols. In May 2022, their first satellite, Crypto1, was launched into orbit. In March 2022, the team completed its first experiment onboard the International Space Station.
To learn more, visit Cryptosat's website (https://cryptosat.io/), and subscribe to the Cryptosat Medium publication.
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