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[Coin Desk] Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto “Real-time verification of the authenticity of certified...

[Source] Coindesk 28.06.2023 08:30

Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto “Real-time verification of the authenticity of certified copies, catching charter scams”

Won the Best Innovation Award at ‘CES 2023’

Selected as the main business operator for establishing a blockchain online voting system by the National Election Commission

“The disadvantages of personal information exposure in the existing system are solved by introducing zero-knowledge proof

Utilization of blockchain to prevent real estate sales and charter fraud that abused time lag”

Source = Ministry of Science and ICT

In the future, it is expected that anyone will be able to participate in the referendum in the area where they live easily online. On the 28th, the National Election Commission is going to spread the blockchain-based online voting system through the ‘online referendum’ project. According to the revision of the referendum law in October last year, online referendum was allowed. Residents can make their own decisions on various and important matters, such as integrating local governments or changing districts. To this end, the online voting system ‘K-Voting’ currently operated by the National Election Commission will be reorganized to accommodate large-scale local voting with more than 10 million people.

zkrypto was selected as the main operator of the system construction. zkrypto plans to apply zero-knowledge proof technology (ZKP, Zero-Knowledge Proof). Zero-knowledge proof technology is a technology that can prove the validity of a vote without disclosing the actual voting contents when a voter proves his or her vote. There is a provision that can verify the legitimacy of a vote while protecting the voter's personal information and voting content.

The following is a Q&A with Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto.

zkrypto developed the world's first zero-knowledge proof technology-applied block chain online voting app 'zkVoting' and won the Best Innovation Award in the 2023 CES Cyber Security & Privacy category. (Source = CoinDesk Korea.)

There are many local governments around the world that want to use blockchain to conduct voting. zkrypto participated in the central election commission's blockchain online voting service as a leading organization. What is different about the solution presented by zkrypto?

First, a blockchain is a distributed ledger made up of linked blocks. Each connected block refers to the information of the previous block to guarantee the ‘integrity’ and ‘security’ of the data. Once the voting data is recorded on the blockchain, it is recognized as immutable and thus the reliability of the voting results can be secured. However, the existing blockchain voting system has a disadvantage in that all voting details of voters are disclosed and recorded. Although it has become a hot topic, it is the reason why it is difficult to find blockchain technology used in real life.

To solve this problem, zero-knowledge proof technology was applied. Voters' personal information and voting contents are safely protected, and at the same time, the legitimacy of voting can be verified. Please look forward to the birth of the world's first blockchain online voting system that strengthens not only the 'verification' of the voting process but also the 'trust' in the voting results. Citizens will also get examples of blockchain technology that can be applied to real life.

zkrypto introduced the blockchain online voting system zkVoting at the world's largest home appliance and IT (information technology) exhibition 'CES 2023' and even won the Best Innovation Award. Since then, it has attracted attention, with many inquiries coming in from around the world. An overseas entertainment company is trying to use zkVoting for secret voting that can be verified transparently, and local governments in the United States and Central America, such as Mexico, are also trying to introduce a voting system using zkVoting.

zkrypto has been doing a lot of work to increase the utilization of blockchain technology by supporting it in areas that are needed in our society. The core of the developed technologies is ‘zero-knowledge proof’. Why are we focusing here?

Since 2015, I have been majoring in zero-knowledge proofs. At the time, I was aware of blockchain, but I did not know that it would spread like this. As I was researching zero-knowledge proof technology, I thought that blockchain would be the best application. Also, as a scholar, I developed a system using voting for the first time to prove whether zero-knowledge proof is really a commercially usable technology. I have implemented that it actually works well. zkrypto was established for real-life use, not just for academic purposes.

Zero-knowledge proof technology is a cryptographic technology that allows you to easily check which calculations are correct without performing them yourself. Data is encrypted to protect the privacy of data stored in the blockchain, and zero-knowledge proof guarantees that the encryption process and the original data were created correctly.

This makes it possible to create services that provide both privacy protection and transparency.

Blockchain has the advantage of creating a transparent service by disclosing and duplicating stored data. Prior to blockchain, building a secure and reliable platform was expensive. However, many incidents have not occurred. The use of blockchain makes it possible to use more transparent and reliable services at a lower cost. The remaining issue is privacy. A service that does not protect privacy will never succeed. Zkrypto is working hard to develop services that are transparent and protect privacy through zero-knowledge proof. Zero-knowledge proof is essential for blockchain to be generalized. It is such an important technology that protection through zero-knowledge proof is specified in the EU's MiCA (cryptocurrency regulation).

Recently, many blockchain projects are promoting zero-knowledge proof as a core technology. How can we easily understand zero-knowledge proofs?

I also think that the extension of the digital signature is like a zero-knowledge proof. Doesn't a digital signature prove that what I signed is correct without showing the private key? The biggest misconception is that zero-knowledge proofs are simply a technology. Zero-knowledge proof is a platform similar in concept to blockchain. Just as the utilization varies depending on how smart contracts are used in the blockchain, they can be designed and developed according to specific functions. There are languages and tools that allow zero-knowledge proofs to be used like programs. zkypto is planning to develop various services such as blockchain-based privacy guarantee logistics, product certification, payment service, ID service, and Proof of Reserve (PoR). In the future, I want to build a ZK platform and operate it so that it can be provided to many companies. How to provide an API.

“deposit scam can be caught using a blockchain with zero-knowledge proof”

zkrypto is conducting a research project with the Supreme Court on registration and registration systems using blockchain. Can blockchain be used to improve the problem of forgery and alteration of real estate registers?

Currently, certified copies of registers are being processed in a way that a program scans electronic documents to check forgery and alteration. The use process is cumbersome and the environment in which the program operates is restricted. The downside is that it is difficult to verify publicly. There are also cases of exploiting the time lag between documents issued online and later changes or stealing the names of others.

To solve this problem, the hash value (fixed value) of the contents of the registered register can be stored in the blockchain and disclosed. Time-lag attacks, which were previously possible, become impossible. If a real estate seller receives a certified copy of the register first and applies for a loan using the property as collateral, wasn't it possible to attack with a time lag in which the mortgage is not visible on the certified copy of the register? However, when blockchain is introduced, it is possible to confirm that the information on the property has been changed in real time.

Even when a charter contract was signed, there was also a charter fraud that occurred when the lessor took out a mortgage loan before the move-in report became final and effective. This also has the advantage that both the bank and the lessee can check the authenticity of the certified copy in real time because the block chain has real-time up-to-date information.

The roadmap is planned for three years, starting in 2025. In 2025, the law and system improvement plan is established, in 2026, the system is established, and in 2027, the system is applied and spread.

What do you think are some other practical examples

where zkrypto's zero-knowledge proof technology can be used?

The financial side shows a lot of interest. In particular, many financial companies are preparing token securities (STO), and of course there are issues related to privacy invasion here as well. I think we will find zero-knowledge proof technology to protect it.

zkrypto's digital asset trading service 'Azeroth' was adopted as a privacy improvement technology for the Bank of Korea's CBDC (digital currency issued by the central bank) in 2021. Azeroth is a kind of wallet service that supports secret transactions. It is to solve the problem that everyone can see the contents of the data in the current blockchain system. Azeroth is a service that allows only the person concerned to know about the transaction, but not to a third party. An audit function was added to this, allowing secret transactions to be traced. Prepared for anti-money laundering (AML).

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