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What are zkApps?

Cryptocurrency’s scalability and privacy is one of the most pressing issues across any blockchain ecosystem — whether that’s Bitcoin, Ethereum, or a DeFi token. In this article we go over how zkApps solve the industry’s greatest challenges.

Cryptocurrency’s scalability and privacy is one of the most pressing issues across any blockchain ecosystem whether that’s Bitcoin, Ethereum, or a DeFi token. In this article we go over how zkApps solve the industry’s greatest challenges.

Watch this short video to learn about Mina’s zkApps.

What are zkApps?

zkApps are a new type of decentralized application (dapp) that use cryptography to conduct trustless blockchain transactions. Using the power of zk-SNARKs, or zero knowledge Succinct Non-interactive Arguments of Knowledge, zkApps can prove knowledge without needing to expose all pieces of information. Only the bare minimum of details need to be shared, no more than is absolutely required, to complete the transaction. You have complete control over which data you want to share and under what terms or conditions you want to share it.

Blockchain Scalability Needs Privacy

In today’s digital world we are increasingly concerned about the element of privacy. Many times, more information is exposed than is required for the most simple transactions, with no expectation that the information will be kept safe. In fact, the number of data breaches in the USA alone has totaled over 1,000 consistently every year since 2016 (Statista).

zkApps will let you keep your credit score and other sensitive information private, only proving that they meet the necessary criteria, but not actually sharing the underlying information.

Consider this: how much detail do you share with the bank when you apply for an online loan? Typically, you are required to exchange information such as proof of income, social security number, and credit score without knowing whether or not your personal information would be kept safe. 

Mina is specifically addressing the issue of confidence with zkApps, or a SNARK-powered app. In the case of an online loan, zkApps will allow you to keep your credit score and other sensitive details private by only showing that you meet the necessary requirements and not revealing the underlying data. 

zkApps are More Scalable and Privacy Centric Dapps

The types of privacy-enabled transactions offered by Mina’s zkApps are not only highly secure and private, but also highly scalable, even in comparison to Ethereum dapps.

Mina is more scalable than Ethereum dapps because zkApps are executed only once by its author, after which all other nodes will verify the SNARK proof associated with it. Mina’s zk-SNARKs support a concept of recursion — that a proof can refer to itself — and doing this doesn’t increase the size of the proof, no matter how many times we refer to the initial one.

As a reminder, in order to check the execution of a dapp, all nodes and miners on the Ethereum network must perform the same calculation, wasting both energy, time, and money. Mina allows a zkApp to be executed only once by its author, after which all other nodes will verify the SNARK proof associated with it. Additionally, because the SNARK and verification is small in size, verifying the execution of a zkApp is fast and energy-efficient, no matter how complicated the proof is.. As technological improvements drive SNARK proving time down, we’ll see more efficiency improvements with regards to traditional smart contract computations.

How do zkApps solve blockchain’s scalability and privacy issues?

With zkApps, computations are run once by a single person rather than the whole network making it energy efficient, and cost effective.

And finally, with zkApps you won’t be beholden to centralized players anymore. No more handing over your personal data. 

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About Mina Protocol

Mina Protocol is being incubated by O(1) Labs, the leader in zk-SNARKs and verifiable computation. Mina Protocol, the world’s lightest blockchain, provides a foundation for the decentralized digital economy (Web 3.0), by affording all participants fully P2P, permissionless access to the chain, from any device. By utilizing recursive zk-SNARKs, the Mina blockchain always stays the same size — about 20 kilobytes (the size of a few tweets). Recursive zk-SNARKs allow nodes to rapidly share and update proof of the correct blockchain state across the network. This breakthrough application of zk-SNARKs solves the issues of scalability and high barrier to entry for nodes that have plagued legacy blockchains to-date. By making it easier for nodes to participate, Mina improves decentralization and therefore security of the network. The Mina blockchain can be easily accessed from any device, including phones and browsers, and can be seamlessly integrated into new decentralized applications (dapps).

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