Vitalik Buterin, in addition to being co-founder of Ethereum (ETH), remains one of the main architects of the network. He has just presented Halo, a method of anonymization that could be implemented on the latter.
Halo: for true anonymity on Zcash
On Friday, November 5, Vitalik Buterin published a new article on his personal blog introducing Halo.
“An introduction to some of the cryptographic techniques used in Halo (which goes into Zcash) and other recent protocols. No pairing, no trust installation!”Vitalik Buterin
The article covers all the technical details of how Halo works, an anonymity-preserving mechanism, currently developed on the Zcash protocol. In practice, it allows to realize ZK-Snarks (zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge) “faster, more efficient and more secure”.
Without going into detail, Halo allows several so-called IPA (inner product arguments) proofs to be grouped together and verified at the same time, without increasing processing time.
“These merging techniques are cheap, and a merged piece of evidence takes no more time to verify than any of the evidence it merges.”Vitalik Buterin
For now, Halo is only implemented on the Zcash blockchain. However, through this article, Vitalik Buterin may be exploring the possibility of implementing the solution on Ethereum.
Ethereum, soon an anonymous blockchain
As we have just seen, Halo could improve user anonymity on Ethereum. Indeed, unlike networks, such as Zcash or Monero, Ethereum has no native mechanism to ensure user anonymity.
Obviously, higher-level solutions have been developed to ensure anonymity. This is notably the case with Tornado Cash, which allows users to mix their coins and anonymize transfers. At the same time, anonymity is better ensured on second layer solutions. In fact, these solutions use so-called “zero knowledge” proofs and therefore include certain anonymity mechanisms.
In any case, Halo could well become a solution of choice for ensuring on-chain anonymity. In the meantime, its integration is not planned at all, especially in parallel with the titanic work that represents the Ethereum 2.0 update.