A blockchain team at ING has reportedly been testing a privacy technology dubbed as “bulletproofs.” The latter, in particular, is considered to be the most recent in a series of seemingly unlikely cypherpunk experiments, all of which are taking place at the Netherlands-based global bank.
According to the official report, the aforementioned technology is being spearheaded and improved by hardcore cryptographers at Stanford University. Basically, these “bulletproofs” are specifically designed for the idea of hiding the amounts being transferred in terms of Bitcoin transactions. Apparently, these transactions appear to be visible to anyone – and it has been considered a normal phenomenon in the space.
However, banks have expressed a completely opposite idea. They are primarily concerned with privacy, especially when these have something to do with blockchains. By essence, banks dislike the idea of exposing client data – deemed to be both competitive and sensitive – to competitors.
A solution deemed to be the pioneering one was ZKPs or zero-knowledge proofs. It worked in way that it could prove possession of a secret without the need to reveal the secret itself. Over the years, ING has been successful so far in exploring different variants of ZKPS, with range proofs and zero-knowledge set membership being the most popular ones.
Range proofs are where a certain hidden number is deemed authentic or proved in a certain ragne; hence the name. As for zero-knowledge set membership, alphanumeric data is expected to be validated and must only be done within a specified set.
The Potential of Bulletproofs
But there is a huge problem with ZKPs – they tend to eat a good amount of computation. As a result, they can easily slowdown a blockchain within seconds. Considering this obstacle, ING immediately saw the potential of bulletproofs. Not only are they more efficient, but they can also be better in the application of these proofs.
The bank reportedly discovered bulletproofs to be “roughly ten times faster” when compared with other conventional range proofs. The same thing can be said, according to ING, with single range proof.
IGN further said that these proving schemes can obtain better efficiency, especially when they are all aggregated together. For instance, a crypto exchange is utilizing range proofs in an attempt to validate it has adequate funds to pay all of its clients. This is most especially the case if thesae clients decide to withdraw all of their money at the same time. This is where bulletproofs can help big time, as it can provide a solution deemed 300 times more efficient.