Unmatched Privacy of ZK Proofs Outweighs the Technology’s Perceived Disadvantages

Although zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs are often considered complex to set up, Iva Wisher, co-founder of the Layer two platform Prom, argues that the technology’s unparalleled privacy, faster transaction finality, and overall efficiency outweigh any developmental complexity. Wisher, an early adopter of cryptocurrency, acknowledges that the industry is currently working to address usability concerns associated with ZK proofs.

The Importance of Dialogue with Regulatory Bodies

According to Wisher, the development of intuitive interfaces is one method being employed to ensure ZK technology is “seamlessly integrated and user-friendly.” However, he insists that efforts to simplify will not compromise enhanced privacy, scalability, and security. Meanwhile, when asked about the possibility of authorities targeting developers of ZK proofs in the future, Wisher suggests transparency as the key to avoiding situations like that of Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev.

The Prom co-founder expresses his hope for players in the ZK space to share information and educate others. He added that by fostering dialogue with regulatory bodies, industry participants can facilitate mutual understanding and shape conducive regulatory environments.

Turning to an emerging phenomenon – nonprofit organizations supporting Web3 companies – Wisher acknowledged that this might not necessarily be an indication of a project’s trustworthiness. Instead, the co-founder asserts that an organization’s trustworthiness “depends on its actions, values, and fulfilment of its commitments, regardless of its profit motive.” Below are Wisher’s responses to all the questions sent.

Bitcoin.com News (BCN): Most Layer 2 platforms such as Optimism and Arbitrum are known to rely on optimistic rollups. On the other hand, your project is among the few Layer 2 blockchain solutions that utilize the advantageous zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs. However, some argue that the usability challenges and complex setup process of ZK proofs negate some of these advantages. How would you respond to claims that ZK proofs are too complex for ordinary users? How can Layer 2s using ZK proofs overcome the challenges associated with this scaling solution?

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Iva Wisher (IW): Optimistic rollups have certainly gained significant traction over the last couple of years, and yes, they hold a comparative advantage due to a less complicated setup process. However, ZK-based solutions offer distinct advantages, especially in the long run.

While usability issues can be resolved, the unmatched privacy that ZK proofs offer, along with faster transaction finality and overall efficiency, outweigh any development complexity.
Although initially perceived as intricate, the industry, us included, diligently addresses usability concerns. We’re developing intuitive interfaces and exploring automation to ensure ZK technology becomes seamlessly integrated and user-friendly. Our focus remains on delivering enhanced privacy, scalability, and security to users without compromising accessibility or ease of use.

BCN: The recent sentencing of Alexey Pertsev, the Tornado Cash developer, and the charges against the Samourai Wallet developers underscore the need for more education for both users and regulators. In your opinion, what steps should Web3 players using ZK proofs take to prevent what happened to Pertsev from happening to ZK proof developers in the future should the technology gain popularity?

IW: The integration of the blockchain ecosystem into the broader financial and regulatory landscape is quite evident now, bringing a greater opportunity for further adoption but also increased attention.

My opinion is that we all should prioritize transparency and ensure clear communication regarding the purpose and function of ZK proofs. Fostering dialogue with regulatory bodies facilitates mutual understanding and can aid in shaping conducive regulatory environments. As ZK proofs gain more traction, proactive steps such as these are vital to mitigate legal risks and ensure the responsible development and deployment of ZK-based solutions in the Web3 space.

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BCN: Your platform, Prom Zkevm, is reportedly focusing on account abstraction (AA), which many see as a game-changer in making blockchain user-friendly. Could you briefly discuss what AA entails and how it might reduce obstacles for newcomers?

IW: The complexity of interaction with blockchain remains one of the biggest obstacles for newcomers. Essentially, AA allows users to interact with the blockchain without needing to manage complex addresses. Instead, users can operate using familiar account-based systems, similar to traditional online banking.

The abstraction layer hides the underlying complexities of blockchain transactions, making it easier for newcomers to navigate and participate in the ecosystem, and significantly lowers the threshold of entry and encourages wider adoption.

BCN: In the past 12 months, the Web3 industry has seen several so-called bridge attacks, in which cybercriminals have stolen digital assets worth billions of dollars. At one point, the frequency of these attacks began to raise serious questions about the role or importance of such bridges. However, the emergence of ZK technology has somewhat improved the security of bridges. Could you explain how ZK technology has been improving the security of bridges?

IW: Cross-chain bridges have always been an attractive target for hackers and exploits due to security breaches and centralized storage models. The capabilities of ZK change the overall framework of bridge solutions, minimizing the exposure of sensitive data.

Zero-knowledge bridges verify the validity of transactions between networks without revealing the underlying data. Custodial mechanisms are replaced with mathematical verification that significantly lowers the possibility of exploits. So yes, it’s a great step forward to better security and privacy.

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BCN: In Web3, nonprofit organizations support or endorse many projects, leading some to question the motive behind such an approach. In your opinion, are nonprofit Web3 organizations more trustworthy than their profit-driven counterparts?

IW: Trustworthiness isn’t solely determined by whether an organization operates for profit or as a nonprofit. Both types can exhibit integrity and ethical behaviour, just as they face scrutiny for their actions.

Ultimately, an organization’s trustworthiness depends on its actions, values, and fulfilling its commitments, regardless of its profit motive. To determine its level of trustworthiness, it’s essential to assess each organization individually based on its track record, governance, and impact.

As always, do your own research regardless. A golden rule for every decision, not only in the crypto realm but in life overall.

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