Zero-Knowledge Proof Hackathon

BSV Zero Knowledge Hackathon is underway, don’t forget to sign up!

If you’re interested in getting involved in one of Bitcoin’s most cutting-edge fields, here’s a reminder that the BSV Zero Knowledge Hackathon is underway. Round One of the hackathon began on October 26 and the event runs until November 25, 2022. Hundreds have signed up already, but it’s not too late to join in.

sCrypt and the BSV Blockchain Association have partnered to organize the Hackathon for developers looking to enter the challenging field of Zero-knowledge Proofs (ZKPs). The contest is designed to demonstrate how well ZKPs fit into the Bitcoin (BSV) world, adding the latest privacy features to digital contracts on a scalable blockchain.

sCrypt Inc. founder and CEO Xiaohui Liu said over 300 people have already signed on to the event, and there will be a live event streamed on YouTube on November 2 to kick things off.

The contest is open to any developers with an interest in ZKPs and cryptography, whether they’re active in the BSV or blockchain world or not. Registrations opened last week, and new applications are still welcome. Entrants must be over the legal age of majority in all regions. Those interested can find more information here.

Hackathon projects will be judged by a panel including one of ZKPs’ best-known identities at the moment: Jens Groth, Director of Research at DFINITY and Honorary Professor at the UCL Department of Computer Science. The panel also includes nChain Chief Scientist Dr. Craig S. Wright, sCrypt Inc. founder and CEO Xiaohui Liu, Senior Lecturer in Economics at University of Exeter Dr. Jack Rogers, and BSV Blockchain Association Director of Engineering Jad Wahab.

Zero-knowledge proofs in Bitcoin contracts

While Bitcoin is a powerful peer-to-peer electronic cash system offering vast improvements to digital payments, it also offers the ability to check and verify data integrity. This is vital in the business and record-keeping world, where it’s often necessary to know if a piece of information or data is valid, without viewing the information itself.

Zero-knowledge proofs allow this to happen. Although ZKPs involve high-end mathematics and esoteric cryptographic concepts, the zk-SNARK framework allows non-cryptographers to program them into a wider variety of applications and use cases, and many business use cases are yet to be discovered.

Proving you own a Bitcoin private key without disclosing the key itself is one example of a ZKP, but is it possible to have this kind of ability in other contracts—contracts which themselves run on the BSV blockchain? sCrypt’s Xiaohui Liu says it is, and his company has devised a demonstration tutorial for programmers to learn by building a version of the classic guessing game Battleship.

ZKPs can be computationally-intensive, so it’s necessary to have a blockchain network with unbounded scalabity and one where it isn’t too expensive to use these resources. BSV is such a chain.

“Bitcoin can run ZKP, the most sophisticated smart contracts out there. And at a fraction of the cost of what it costs on other blockchains,” Liu said.

Several ZK programming languages exist, but sCrypt gives its learners the option of Circom and ZoKrates, the two most popular. Its zkBattleship page describes Circom as a low-level language giving programmers greater control; and ZoKrates as a higher-level Python-like language more familiar to modern developers.

ZKPs are desirable in applications where privacy is necessary. This is easier to understand in the Battleship game, where a player needs to know if they’ve hit—but this information still doesn’t reveal the precise orientation (or size) of the ship. This has far wider applications in the data economy, where one party needs to confirm information which must remain confidential.

The BSV Blockchain Association and sCrypt intend to use the Zero-Knowledge Hackathon to introduce these concepts to new developers, while growing the BSV community and finding new applications for the blockchain. Participants will emerge with new knowledge on how to apply ZKPs in the real world, without needing to learn high-end math theory.

Watch: The BSV Global Blockchain Convention presentation, Smart Contracts and Computation on BSV

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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