The web3 space has seen a surge of privacy-focused projects in recent years, as users seek to protect their personal information and maintain their privacy online. These projects aim to provide decentralized alternatives to traditional centralized services, such as social media platforms and search engines, that collect and monetize user data.
One of the most well-known privacy-focused projects in the web3 space is the decentralized social media platform, Mastodon. Mastodon is a free and open-source social media platform that is powered by a decentralized network of servers, rather than a single centralized server. This means that users’ posts and activity on the platform are not controlled by a single entity, and that users have more control over their own data and privacy.
Another popular privacy-focused project in the web3 space is the decentralised search engine, Brave Search. Brave Search is a privacy-focused search engine that allows users to search the web without leaving a trace of their activity on the platform. The engine is powered by the Brave browser, which uses blockchain technology to protect users’ privacy and prevent their data from being collected and monetized by third parties.
Other privacy-focused projects in the web3 space include decentralized identity platforms, such as SelfKey and uPort, which allow users to control and manage their own digital identities, and decentralized storage platforms, such as Filecoin and IPFS, which allow users to securely store and share files without relying on centralized servers.
While these privacy-focused projects offer many benefits, there is still room for improvement when it comes to protecting users’ privacy. One of the main challenges facing privacy-focused projects is the need to balance user privacy with the need to collect and analyze data in order to provide useful and personalized services. This can be a delicate balance, and it is important for privacy-focused projects to be transparent about how they collect and use data, and to give users meaningful control over their own data.
Another challenge facing privacy-focused projects is the need to build a critical mass of users in order to be truly effective. While these projects offer many benefits, they are still relatively new and unknown, and it can be difficult to convince users to switch from traditional centralized services to decentralized alternatives.
Overall, privacy-focused projects in the web3 space offer many exciting possibilities for protecting users’ privacy online. However, there are still many challenges to be overcome, and it will be important for these projects to continue to evolve and improve in order to meet the needs of users and maintain their trust.
In this in-depth Deep-Dive, we will learn everything about
- Zero-Knowledge (What & Why)
- Zero-Knowledge use-case(s)
- Right to Privacy & laws around it
- Elusiv as a game changer
- Function & Framework of Elusiv
1. Zero Knowledge Proof is the ONLY ROAD to Escape Privacy Concerns in Web3
Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP) are a type of cryptographic technique that allows one party (the prover) to prove to another party (the verifier) that they know a specific piece of information without revealing the actual information itself. This is possible because ZKPs allow the prover to convince the verifier that they know the information without actually revealing any details about the information itself.
Zero-knowledge roll-ups (ZKR) are a type of ZKP that allow multiple transactions to be bundled together and processed in a single transaction. This can improve the efficiency and scalability of blockchain networks, as it allows for more transactions to be processed in a given amount of time.
ZKRs work by using a series of zero-knowledge proofs to convince the verifier that the transactions in the bundle are valid and have not been tampered with. This is possible because the zero-knowledge proofs allow the prover to demonstrate that they have the necessary information to validate the transactions without revealing any details about the transactions themselves.
Protocols & dApps built using zero-knowledge tech have a number of potential applications in the blockchain ecosystem. They can be used to improve the scalability and efficiency of blockchain networks, such as by allowing for more transactions to be processed in a given amount of time. They can also be used to enhance privacy and security on the blockchain, as they allow for the validation of transactions without revealing any sensitive information about the parties involved.
All of the above combined makes Zero-knowledge a powerful and innovative technology that has the potential to bring a paradigm shift to the entirety of the blockchain ecosystem. It allows for the efficient and secure processing of multiple transactions in a single transaction, and they have a number of potential applications in the blockchain ecosystem.
Breaking it down a little bit more, lets briefly discuss zk-SNARKs & zkApps
1. zk-SNARKs: zk-SNARKs (zero-knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge) is a type of zero-knowledge proof that is widely used in the web3 ecosystem. It is known for its efficiency and scalability, and is used in a variety of applications, including privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) and decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms.
2. zkApps: zkApps is a platform for building decentralized applications that use zero-knowledge proofs to provide privacy-enhancing functionality. It is designed to be user-friendly and accessible to developers of all skill levels, and is a popular choice for building PETs and other privacy-focused applications.
1.1 The use-case of Zero-Knowledge
1. Privacy-preserving identity verification: Zero-knowledge proofs can be used to verify a user’s identity without revealing any sensitive information. This can be particularly useful for web3 applications that require user verification, such as decentralized exchanges or social networks.
2. Anonymous transactions: Zero-knowledge proofs can be used to conduct anonymous transactions on the blockchain. This can be useful for users who want to keep their financial transactions private, such as whistleblowers or activists.
3. Secure voting systems: Zero-knowledge proofs can be used to create secure and private voting systems. This can be useful for organizations that need to conduct secure elections, such as governments or private companies.
4. Data provenance: Zero-knowledge proofs can be used to prove the origin and authenticity of data. This can be useful for industries such as healthcare, where sensitive data must be kept confidential, or for journalism, where the provenance of data is important.
5. Digital asset ownership: Zero-knowledge proofs can be used to prove ownership of digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies or NFTs, without revealing the identity of the owner. This can be useful for users who want to keep their ownership private or for privacy-focused applications.
6. Privacy-preserving data analytics: Zero-knowledge proofs can be used to perform data analytics on sensitive data without revealing the data itself. This can be useful for organisations that need to analyse data while protecting the privacy of their customers.
7. Secure multiparty computation: Zero-knowledge proofs can be used to perform computations on encrypted data in a way that ensures the data remains confidential. This can be useful for industries such as finance, where secure computations are needed
2. Zero-knowledge UPHOLDS the Privacy Right of every individual
The right to digital privacy is an important issue in both traditional banking systems and the crypto ecosystem. However, the way in which privacy is protected and enforced can differ significantly between these two systems.
In traditional banking systems, privacy is typically protected by a combination of laws, regulations, and industry standards. For example, the Bank Secrecy Act in the United States requires financial institutions to maintain the confidentiality of customer information, and there are also regulations related to data protection and privacy.
However, these protections are not always foolproof, and there have been instances of data breaches and other privacy violations in traditional banking systems. Additionally, traditional banking systems rely on a centralised system of record-keeping, which means that a third party (such as a bank or government agency) has control over an individual’s financial information. As seen in the image above, data breach is a common occurrence within the banking industry and leads to serious security concerns for users financial and private information.
In contrast, the crypto ecosystem relies on decentralized systems that use cryptography to protect users’ privacy. Crypto transactions are recorded on a decentralised ledger (such as the blockchain), which means that individuals have control over their own financial information and are not reliant on a centralised authority.
Additionally, in the crypto ecosystem, there are a number of privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) that can be used to protect users’ privacy. For example, zero-knowledge proofs can be used to prove that an individual owns crypto without revealing the actual crypto holdings.
However, it is important to note that the crypto ecosystem is not immune to privacy violations. For example, there have been instances of hacking and other security breaches that have compromised users’ crypto holdings. Additionally, there is a risk that law enforcement agencies may be able to access users’ crypto transactions if they have a warrant or other legal authorization. This is where Elusiv plays a major role in the right way, without breaching trust (more on that further down)
While both traditional banking systems and the crypto ecosystem have privacy concerns, the crypto ecosystem offers a number of potential benefits in terms of protecting users’ privacy. However, it is important for individuals to be aware of the risks and limitations of both systems and to take steps to protect their own privacy.
3. Elusiv : The Game Changer has entered the chat
Elusiv is a zero-knowledge-based, compliant privacy protocol that enables more sensitive transactions to be conducted in a compliant manner on the chain, allowing blockchains to gain wider adoption.
Elusiv is aiming to become the game changer within the web3 financial ecosystem by providing privacy to everyday users and merchants while maintaining security through low-effort compliance solutions. Their focus on strong integration partnerships will help bring this closer to the average user, while Elusiv VMs allow developers to deploy their own ZK proofs in a cost-effective manner.
The product on offering is the need-of-the-hour for users across the crypto space, who want to keep their private information to themselves and the concerned parties, rather than having their entire activity history up for scrutiny within the blockchain space by simply having access to a wallet address 🤡
Approach & Execution of Elusiv
The approach to protecting privacy on the chain is quite unique. Elusiv works by providing and maintaining a shared deposit pool. This pool is similar to a mixer that privacy protocols used earlier to keep transactions anonymous with a constant flow of input/output with esch user interaction of the protocol. The mechanism chosen by Elusiv is much better as not only does it provide a faster resolution in regards to transactional uptime, but they have also ensured to keep bad actors at bay with a more thoughtful approach.
Now, to achieve complete privacy of the interacting user, Elusiv takes the a-b-c to user pool approach
In the image above, a user might send 36.5 tokens to the Elusiv pool and instructs Elusiv to spend the 36.5 tokens immediately. The observer would be able to link the input-output transaction to the user in question, since the no.of tokens in question here (36.5) is not a unique number and there is a 0.0001% chance that 2 users could execute a transaction with a unique number in the same time-frame. DUH!!!
Observer : 1 , User : 0 (scoreboard)
Now time for some Elusiv magic! When the Elusiv pool receives a more common denominator of tokens (taking the above example- 80, 50 & 100) and instead of spending the tokens immediately, the Elusiv pool takes a gradual approach of breaking down the denominations over a period of time, it makes the whole process of linking these transactions VERY DIFFICULT for the Observer to trackback to the original source(s)
Observer : 0, User : 1 (scoreboard)
This particular pool provides the required anonymity as users can deposit into the pool and transfer out of the pool via their Elusiv wallet without the knowledge of other users.
The anonymity comes from the fact that since multiple people have deposited into the pool, you cannot know exactly who is transferring out of the pool.
The most user-friendly part of this entire process would be the functionality of Viewing Keys 🔑
Elusive has a concept of two keys:
- Spending key
- Root viewing key
The Spending key is what private-keys are within the non-custodial crypto wallets realm. This is the ownership of the user and is required to initiate a transaction
The Root viewing key functions as the code for others to see user assets and/or transactions of the user in question. This gives the user the full ownership of every transaction and also allows the user to share transactional details with people of his/her choice.
The Warden that guards Elusiv
Protocols that have high use-cases and focus on privacy will have attract the attention of bad actors. This not only spoils the user experience, but one wrong move can have a very damaging effect on the brand value of the protocol itself.
Since the Elusiv protocol brings the benefits of privacy to on-chain transactions and transfer of funds, they have implemented a solution to prevent bad-actors from using the protocol for illicit activities. This is where the Elusiv Warden Network comes into play.
Think of the Warden Network as a set of nodes on the network that help in flagging bad-actors present on-chain. They help the users device with relaying data to the blockchain network. The entire communication process and mechanism put in place ensures all the transaction of user funds and activity remain anonymous.
Bonus : Trusted Third Party 🕵🏻
Unlike other privacy solutions that make it easy for bad actors to escape regulations and law-enforcement agencies. Elusiv has enabled users to have full control over their data privacy, but the Trusted Third Party feature allows users to enable concerned parties to view transaction on a need-to-know basis. A huge win IMHO!
4. Getting started with Elusiv
- Visit app.elusiv.io and connect a wallet of your choice, Solflare or Phantom. (I am using the Elusiv web app through the in-built Phantom wallet browser)
- Approve the “Get Started With Elusiv” message, “Sign the message in-wallet” to generate the Elusiv seed and voila! you are ready to send SOL from your wallet to the desired wallet address.
- Noteworthy: The interaction gives a complete breakdown of all the fees that a user might incur during the transaction and not randomly determined by a slippage percentage.
The app also includes a built-in tutorial and allows the user to add their own custom RPC network. Additionally, users also get an option to generate keys (as discussed above) for every individual transaction executed through Elusiv.
Unlike many other protocols, that requires users to bridge their assets from a L1 blockchain to an L2 blockchain and follow it up with a complicated swap process, Elusiv is very beginner-friendly and will not alienate the majority of retail traders who might find Elusiv a very beneficial use-case in their day-to-day operations. something other protocols & projects should take note of!
Putting the above in a detailed example and envision how the entire process would work in a real-life scenario
- In a zero-knowledge proof, two people Alice and Bob want to prove to a third party, Carol, that they know a shared secret value
`s`without revealing the value itself.
- The goal is to convince Carol that Alice and Bob know the secret without revealing any information about the secret beyond the fact that they know it.
- Here is an example of how Alice and Bob can use a zero-knowledge proof to prove their knowledge of the secret value
1. Alice generates a random number
`r` and shares it with Bob.
2. Alice and Bob each generate a public key
3. Alice and Bob each generate a private key
4. Alice and Bob each compute a digital signature
`s_b` using their private key and the public key of the other person.
5. Alice and Bob each share their public key, digital signature, and random number
`r` with Carol.
6. Carol verifies the digital signatures of Alice and Bob to ensure that they were generated using the correct private key.
7. Carol calculates the shared secret value
`s` by raising Alice's random number
`r` to the power of Bob's public key
8. Carol sends a proof to Alice and Bob, proving that she knows the shared secret value
`s` without revealing the value itself.
In the above example, Carol was able to prove to Alice and Bob that she knows the shared secret value
`s` without revealing the value itself. This is possible because the calculation of the shared secret value
`s` was done in such a way that it was verifiable without revealing the value itself.
This entire process allows all the user funds to be encrypted and only the user and their whitelisted users get to view the transactions.
Zero-knowledge protocols will bring a paradigm shift within the whole blockchain space. Not only will the tech allow developers to power their dApps in a way which were not possible before, but will also open new avenues of user interaction.
Elusiv is bringing a huge change in how privacy projects in the past have handled the execution and this is a key-differentiator on how the next billion users can be onboarded to web3, a vision that Solana is working towards. Earlier, projects like Monero ($XMR) & Tornado Cash both tried to make a huge mark in the privacy space, but failed to implement fail-safes that would prevent money laundering through their use.
The future is super bright with multiple working updates coming to the protocol and the web app. one of them being the Elusiv Complience Explorer
With a $3.5 million funding in their kitty and being backed by the web3 giants, Elusiv has a very promising run ahead of them. Cannot wait to see how developers across the board make use of the dev tools and see the development updates from the team and community news.