Zcash releases new privacy tech: improved zk-SNARKs

Zcash developers launch new privacy tech called zk-SNARKs
13 September 2017   892

Zcash team has done a really great job recently. Thus, a couple of days ago they reported on the news about Atomic Trades development. 

Now, the developers announce its next major upgrade, the new privacy technology called zk-SNARKs.

Matthew Green, Ian Miers and I are happy to announce that we have made significant performance improvements to the zk-SNARKs that Zcash uses. These improvements are being published open source, free of patents, for the broader crypto community.
 

Sean Bowe 
Zcash developer

Thus, Zcash uses the bleeding-edge cryptographic technique zk-SNARKs to hide balances and user addresses. Now, a living prototype of a new form of zk-SNARK is released. It is believed, that this would ead to the huge improvements in speed.

As reported, Jubjub, an elliptic curve which is efficient to perform operations on inside of zk-SNARK circuits, is built over the new BLS12-381 curve.

We achieve record-breaking performance for fixed-based exponentiation.
 

Sean Bowe 
Zcash developer

According to the team, "fast elliptic-curve cryptography in this context allows to use more efficient primitives for commitment schemes and collision-resistant hashes". Combining the various techniques, the team can get a rough idea of the performance improvements.

Zcash zk-SNARK perfomance improvements Zcash zk-SNARK perfomance improvements

Thus, this rough estimate indicates an 80% reduction of proving time, and a 98% reduction in memory usage which is a key requirement for opening up mobile support for Zcash shielded addresses.

Therefore, Zcash will be rolling out the technology in an upcoming upgrade, Sapling, expected in 2018. The change is scheduled to occur as a hard fork, meaning all users and miners will need to upgrade their software to take advantage of it.

German Financial Regulator Clarifies Stance on ICOs

The Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) has clarified its position on ICOs
22 February 2018   32

German financial regulator admitted it was receiving many inquiries about the status of tokens and cryptocurrencies. According to an advisory letter, BaFin provides some basic definitions of ICOs and related terms. It is important because the results of a new survey showed that more than two-thirds of Germans know about bitcoin.

In this letter, BaFin educates the public and explains how tokens are typically generated, how blockchain works and that ICOs are used to raise funds for startup projects. The note states that for regulatory purposes, ICOs, tokens, coins, and cryptocurrencies are subject to the existing provisions in the field of securities supervision and other relevant national and EU laws.

The authority advises participants in ICOs to check and follow rules applicable to regulated financial instruments, such as securities. If businesses or individuals have any doubts about regulations, they should approach BaFin.

According to BaFin, companies should fulfill any obligations under the Banking Act and the Capital Investment Code, the Insurance Supervision Act and the Payment Services Supervision Act. The transactions may be prohibited if relevant regulatory requirements are not met.

The authority also states that legal classification of tokens requires precise examination. It will determine their status on a case-by-case basis after studying their features. The token should be transferable and tradable on cryptocurrency trading platforms in order to be classified as a security.