Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2023


Zero Knowledge Cryptography and Anonymous Engineering

The development of zk-snarks in recent years and explosion in algos has opened up an entire new design space of anonymous engineering.

Cryptography is undergoing a renaissance and explosion in algorithms that open up entirely new design spaces. Techniques such as zero-knowledge snarks, multi-party computation and homomorphic encryption allow us to create software that just 5 years ago was unimaginable. This unlocks a new field that we term anonymous engineering.

This talk will briefly explain how they work from a high level mathematical overview, present the abstraction they provide and show how they can be composed into applications. We will also show demos of writing ZK proofs and deploying them in our software.

The original designers of UNIX in the 80s had a vision of computing which would allow groups of people to collaborate. From that vision was born the modern conceptualisations of networking, multi-user accounts, filesystems and multi-process OS. But they were limited at the time by the computer resources available, the network bandwidth and the algorithms. Since then the paradigm of computing has remained largely stagnant.

Also the Linux world after many setbacks is doing soulsearching and trying to understand what made us truly unique, getting back to first principles and our original values. We believe the time is ripe for the grand mission of reinventing the paradigm of computing. Recent developments in p2p & consensus algorithms, and crypto algorithms in particular ZK lay the groundwork for us to extend the original vision of the UNIX creators much further. Our wish is to draw the attention of the free software community to these magical and important developments.

As an example, we want to also present the software stack that we are creating. Our team at DarkFi has created:

  • Anonymous transfers
  • Anonymous exchange
  • Anonymous DAO (treasury management where participants have voting rights)
  • Encrypted task manager
  • Anonymous chat software with spam protection (no registration, uses ZK proofs)

All of this software is p2p and censorship resistant. We will explain other potential software designs such as authentication of information, anonymous auctions, proof of reserves, private statistical processing of info, and more.


Photo of Amir Taaki Amir Taaki