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ZKP: On Privacy Enhancing Currency & Supply Adaptability

One factor that has been constantly getting modified since the deployment of the World Wide Web and the Internet in the 1990s (research started in the 1960s) is the inter-mix of transparency and privacy. Modifications took place in security (storage, transferring, etc) and in speed (overall time taken for data to get transferred from one place to another) as well. Another alteration that’s being observed and experienced currently is the shift from an authoritative functioning architecture to a decentralized or semi-authoritative platform.

The desire for a change from the authoritative form of functioning to a decentralized form began due to the 2008 financial crisis (also called as Global Financial Crisis). Decentralized blueprint(s) of platforms and applications initially began for specific industry’s unique issues. Observing and experiencing success in many scenarios, the desire to widespread and sustain simultaneously came into the picture. ZKP (Zero-Knowledge Proof) can be said as an upgraded version of initial successful models. In this piece, you will get to know something about ZKP’s enhancing inter-linkage between currency and supply adaptability.

The following content will encompass some illustrations and/or proposed prototypes which enable increment of privacy of digital currency(s) and adaptability in supply chain as well.

This piece of research broadly reviews the privacy-preserving answers in the Blockchain ecosystem and the current as well as expected issues that might arise in the coming times. Figure 2 and 3 showcase how identity management has altered itself with changing times concerning privacy and time and give an idea about the backend process of functioning of the Self-Sovereign Identity Management (SSID) model in the blockchain. The working flow and the relationship between the User, Issuer, and Service Provider/Verifier in an abstract fashion are showcased.

Unlike in a centralized ecosystem where the user doesn’t have any control over data being utilized, in a decentralized ecosystem, the user has control/authority over data used in DID (decentralized identifiers) documents, Wallet Apps, etc. So far, the focus has majorly been on security aspect in the specific task/prototype. For making it economically widespread and adaptable simultaneously, first ZKP was introduced, after which zk-SNARK (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge) got deployed. Besides ZKP and zk-SNARK, Ring Signatures, Homo-morphic hiding, and Secure Multi-Party Computation (SMPC) are utilized as privacy-preserving approaches in the blockchain.

If you want to know about distinct categories of taxonomy privacy-preserving techniques in blockchain, then figure 4 will help you in understanding the categories with clarity. The next piece of research introduces a signaling and screening scheme via a non-central approach for clarifying accountability to diminish the risk caused by asymmetric implications on authentication.

For improving the privacy, the process of authentication is said to be the show-stopper. SK4SC (Secure Kernel for Supply Chains) is a proposed prototype that assists in achieving privacy enhancement. SK4SC comprehends a probabilistic verification system for authentication process which encompasses (but not limited to) design, manufacturing, procurement, inspection, disposal, and shipping. To know more about the blueprint of SK4SC’s architecture, see figure 1.

Hysteresis digital signature alongside signature log chain crossing is utilized for blockchains as public directories. Hysteresis digital signature is a cryptographic technique developed to overcome the issue of some applications where digital signatures require validation for long intervals. The issue gets resolved by chaining signatures of each document in a manner that every document is depended on its predecessors (hash values) signed documents as well. Coming back to figure 1, that showcase the backend functioning of the prototype, the functioning happens via two protocols.

The two protocols are, “sharing of information”, and “derived information that’s to be shown as authentic and sharing of witness values for a ZKP (zero-knowledge proof)”. For appropriate synchronization and symmetry in distribution, the information requires reporting and addition to public ledgers. Besides the Hysteresis digital signature, SK4SC also utilizes ZKP-based cryptographic protocols (Camenisch-Lysyanskaya and Camenisch–Shoup) that come under the Random Oracle Model. Figure 3 showcases the similarity of this prototype with a CRM having royalty points. The royalty in the prototype can be considered as the counter value payback paid by the user. Figure 3 gives an illustration of e-Government with taxation. Another illustration is HARB which assists in decentralized energy trading.

Besides the financial services and medical industry, the energy sector is one area that is in talks/discussions/debates for transforming the industry by shifting it to a decentralized form (from functioning perspective). One illustration which showcases the increase-in curiosity and imbibing of the decentralized framework with regards to Energy Sector is HARB (Hyper-graph based Adaptive Consortium Blockchain Framework).

The distinguishing factor in this prototype is that it coordinates Distributed Energy Resource(s) (DER) via high-order relationships instead of P2P pair-wise relationships. Figure 2 showcases the overview of HARB framework. The left side of the figure represents the abstract form of three layers (contract layer, overlay layer, and underlay layer), while the right-hand side represents little detail of their background functionality(s). Underlay layer also referred to as the physical layer (for this prototype) articulates distinctive relationships from the unique time; location; identity; and context derived from the characteristics of the nodes interacting in a particular grid.

Afterwards, appropriate relationships for community unearthing is being done by scrutinizing the frequency of interactions among nodes.  Observing concentrated interactions signify a presence of intra-community relationships, while meagre interactions indicate inter-community relationships. You can say that the overlay layer forms the blockchain network model (BNM), which encompasses the Adaptive blockchain-modules manager (ABM) and blockchain client manager (BCM) (showcased in figure 4). Nodes are consciously clustered by the ABM via high-order interaction manager, nodes resource manager, and modules manager as well for forming modules.

Every module manager deploys a blockchain service (endorsing, ordering, authenticating, committing). For each node to function appropriately, module manager in ABM allocates a role for each node depending on capability, reliability, and reputation as well. Lastly, the contract layer encompasses the application network. Applications also referred to as smart contract help in defining user requirements which are provided by utilizing blockchain services. The next potential practical example interlinks the tourism sector with decentralized technology.

Tourism is another sector which is imbibing decentralized technology(s). According to this piece of research, with more individuals traveling to different nations more often (for professional or personal purposes), the security aspect is changing and is expected to change furthermore. The fourth revolution based technologies like blockchain will assist in achieving the appropriate outcome.

The known traveler digital concept introduced here can be seen as one step closer to getting a systematic shift in overall security in tourism. One reason (among others) is that it will be acting as a catalyst for improving the holistic security in the tourism industry. Through the known traveler digital concept, you/user will have control over the use of their data and act as an empowered individual hence contributing to the security from a broader perspective. The core technologies which are being in use are:

  1. Distributed edger Technology
  2. Biometric Technology
  3. Cryptography
  4. Mobile Interface

The infographic shown below gives a potential outline of how user information will be interlinked with decentralized technologies.

user information will be interlinked with decentralized technologies (zkp).

To understand in the crux, your/traveler’s data which roughly encompasses (biometrics, mobile data, and agent’s information) which was previously administered by a central authority will now be decentralized. This means that the data source/s would be each traveling, the data will be encrypted with the recently updated algorithm, and indexing would be done via hashing or some other open-sourced algorithms to have proper accountability, transparency, and keeping the data safe simultaneously as well. To get a small idea about how the prototype will work, look at figure 11.

This piece of research dwells into the area of supply making adaptable in ZKP. ISA95 is seen to be compatible with the fourth industrial revolution technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things, etc. One reason for ISA95 to become usable with blockchain technology and sister-like technologies is the modification from ISA95-CTS (compliant traditional manufacturing systems) into SMMS (geographically distributed smart manufacturing) units. Functional requirements are also seen as a process defining the characteristics of the software include:

  1. Node-to-ledger communications
  2. Ledger-to-ledger communications
  3. Ledger-to-interplanetary file system communications
  4. Ledger-to-external data sources communications (oracle)

Figure 2 to figure 6 represents the use-cases/characteristics pictorially mentioned in the above points making you help understand the backend workings of how data flows in each layer. To see the blueprint of overall functioning after all components become interoperable, view figure 7. In crux, the figure shows the relationship between smart contracts, distinct prototypes, and decentralized applications.

Based on the proposed prototypes mentioned above, it’s affirmative to say that privacy enhancement along with supply adaptability would become the norm in the coming days. As curiosity has increased multifold, expect to come across newer decentralized platforms and applications a lot sooner.

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Last modified on August 4th, 2023 at 4:09 pm