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Zero what?

Today, we’re diving into the exciting world of Zero-Knowledge Proof. So here’s a super easy, not-complex-at-all definition of ZK:

“In cryptography, a zero-knowledge proof or zero-knowledge protocol is a method by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that a given statement is true, while avoiding conveying to the verifier any information beyond the mere fact of the statement’s truth. The intuition underlying zero-knowledge proofs is that it is trivial to prove the possession of certain information by simply revealing it; the challenge is to prove this possession without revealing the information, or any aspect of it whatsoever” – WIKIPEDIA.

DIEGO, WHAT THE F*CK DID I JUST READ?

Fear not, my friends!

Web3 doesn’t have to be complicated

I’ve said this before, but just to be clear: I’m not a tech guy – I can’t write 2 lines of code.

However, I am damn curious and eager about learning new stuff. And I know that Web3 – like any other “new thing” – is full of jargon and terms that sound way too complex, which may be a barrier for both users and businesses to join.

That’s why I have recently written this:

“A lil letter to the Web3 builders, shakers, and curious out there! ✊ 

Web3 doesn’t have to be complicated.

The product is not the “tech”; the product is better digital experiences.

Web3 is not about degens on Twitter waiting for the next pump and dump.

It’s not about NFT cartoons and ponzinomics either.

Web3 is the evolution of the internet

(…)

Web3 includes and leverages other technologies, for example:

1) Enriched experiences: VR, AR, Haptics, 3D Scanning, and others.

2) Ownership: Digital assets, Digital Identity, Digital Currency.

3) Privacy: Zero Knowledge proof-based anonymity and pseudonymity.

4) Interface: Immersive Web/Experiences, 3D worlds, Decentralized Commerce.

And for the builders in the back, that’s for you:

F*CK YEAH, it also includes Generative AI. 😤”

Click here to read the full “letter”

Whenever someone joins The Wild West of Web3, a “welcome e-mail” is sent, and one of its sections says that:

“No BS, no buzzwords, no hype, all based on real–world experience.
No fluff, no copypasta, just straight talk from me to you.

(…) Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie just dipping your toes in the water…”

So, based on that promise, I am here to break ZK down for you and explore how it elevates industries and relationships, especially within Web3.

My mission today is that by the end of this edition, you have a clearer vision of what the hell is Zero-Knowledge Proof and why you should pay attention to it.

IT’S ALL ABOUT PRIVACY

For starters, let’s have a quick talk on privacy in the digital world.

Remember those “I agree” clicks after (NOT) reading the Terms of Use of a given app, game, or whatever?

That is us, unknowingly trading our digital privacy for services. Web2’s approach to our data was like a one-way mirror – we could see out, but didn’t realize how much was being seen about us.

And as cliché as it is, the saying “If something is free, you are the product” is not wrong.

One of the coolest things about Web3 is that our data is truly ours – we can control where and how it’s used.

In Web3, your data isn’t a commodity; it’s your personal asset. Blockchain technology is at the heart of this change, bringing a new level of security and ownership to our online presence.

More than “just” keeping your data safe we are talking about transforming the very nature of data ownership and control.

So, in short, when it comes to data privacy, here are Web3’s principles:

Your data, your rules.

Blockchain: the guardian of your digital realm.

Own your online identity – no ifs, ands, or buts.

Security in Web3 is built-in, not bolted on.

Transparency and control are the cornerstones of Web3.

With a clearer view of privacy in Web3, let’s now dive into the world of Zero-Knowledge Proof and how it changes everything we know about data protection.

ZK and Privacy: The core of digital trust

In short, with Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZK), you can prove you know something or have something, all without revealing the details.

It’s like confirming you have the keys to your house without showing them. We are not talking just about hiding info, but rather about sharing knowledge smartly and safely.

ZK is a critical player in the privacy game because it solves a big puzzle: how to share proof without oversharing. For instance, proving you’re over a certain age to access a website without revealing your exact date of birth: “Trust me, I’m old enough” and they just do, no ID needed.

Ok, but how this logic applies to businesses?

Well, here are a few examples:

🔐 Finance: Keep your balance private while proving you’re not broke.

🔐 Healthcare: Share medical eligibility without disclosing sensitive health history.

🔐 Supply Chains: Verify a product’s journey without revealing trade secrets.

🔐 Voting Systems: ZK ensures the anonymity of votes, maintaining the essence of confidential voting.

🔐 Smart Contracts: Keep the terms of deals private in digital agreements.

Embracing Web3:

Zero-knowledge proofs are central to Web3, enhancing privacy and security.

They validate transactions, safeguard sensitive data, and uphold blockchain integrity. Applications span zkEVMs, oracle protocols like Mirage, and privacy-focused DeFi solutions.

See, we can talk Web3 without necessarily touching NFTs, Metaverse, or Crypto – which doesn’t mean you have to “choose” one of them.

But at the end of the day, the concept of Zero-Knowledge Proof is paving the way for a future of trust, privacy, and innovation in Web3.

For the tech-techies:

Even though I do not consider my self as a “tech person”, I am aware that many of you reading this are – or want to be.

So here is some cool stuff you may be interested in exploring. Opportunities will certainly come to those ready to work with these:

zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKs: These cryptographic technologies provide privacy and security features. zk-SNARKs are efficient but require a trusted setup, while zk-STARKs offer transparency without a trusted setup but are more computationally intensive.

zk-Rollups: As a Layer 2 solution, zk-rollups process numerous transactions off-chain, then batch them for on-chain verification, enhancing scalability and reducing costs.

As you can see, this conversation obviously involves tech stuff, but it goes beyond that.

Zero-Knowledge Proof is a way of proving points without losing privacy.
And if you ask me, I see it as a huge deal in our connected world and a crucial piece in the Web3 puzzle.

Spotlight 1: Polygon x Zero-Knowledge

Polygon, renowned in the blockchain arena, has been pioneering in Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZK) technology.

This strategic move highlights their commitment to advancing privacy and efficiency in blockchain, with a keen focus on user-centric solutions.

At the core of Polygon’s ZK initiative is the Polygon zkEVM. This project aims to improve Ethereum transactions through scalable solutions and lower transaction costs. It’s a strategic blend of compatibility with Ethereum’s existing applications and smart contracts, and the innovative application of ZK.

Polygon ID, a ZK-based digital identity verification tool, marks another step towards secure digital identity verification. It allows users to confirm identities and credentials without revealing sensitive information, emphasizing online privacy and security.

On their X/Twitter account, Polygon explains that:

“Businesses can say goodbye to user data management headaches, and individuals can have discretion in using their personal data when builders build with Polygon ID”.

How Polygon ID interacts with user credentials

Polygon’s approach in the ZK field demonstrates a clear vision: to create more user-friendly and secure blockchain experiences.

So, in short, here’s why you should keep an eye on what Polygon Labs is building:

💡 Privacy reinvented: With Polygon ID, your private info stays just that – private.
Zero-Knowledge Proof ensures you can prove your credentials without oversharing. Like proving you’re over 18 without spilling your actual age – smart and secure.

💡 Flexible verification: Whether it’s off-chain or on the blockchain, Polygon ID’s got you covered. Developers can easily tailor experiences like airdropping tokens based on users’ verified creds.

💡 Power to you: Self-sovereignty is the name of the game. You hold the keys to your digital identity, sharing data on your terms, with no gatekeepers.

💡 Trust goes the distance: Polygon ID’s transitive trust is all about extending credibility. Collect multiple credentials in one wallet, and let your digital rep do the talking across diverse platforms and verifiers.

Polygon’s journey in the ZK domain is a significant chapter in blockchain technology, prioritizing privacy, security, and efficiency. Their efforts in ZK are setting new standards for blockchain usability and security.

For clarity: I do not work with Polygon Labs, but as someone who has been exploring Web3, this is one of the names I can’t ignore.

Spotlight 2:
Midnight – Pioneering privacy

Midnight is an innovative company, specializing in data protection and privacy.

They’ve harnessed the power of Zero-Knowledge Proof technology to revolutionize digital interactions, and their approach strikes a balance between privacy and transparency, vital for wider enterprise adoption, where data security is paramount.

The core of Midnight’s technological offering is its dual ledger system. This system combines shielded and unshielded ledgers, providing a layered approach to data management.

Sounds complicated? It basically allows for the protection of sensitive information while still engaging actively in the blockchain network.

This feature is particularly significant for enterprises concerned about the privacy implications of blockchain, enabling them to participate in the blockchain ecosystem without compromising on data security.

(So yeah, you’ve got a reply for when your boss – or the legal department – asks “but how are we going to keep our data safe?”)

Midnight’s smart contract innovation is another area where it excels. By leveraging Kachina, Midnight enables the creation of smart contracts capable of handling both public and private data.

This approach ensures the integrity and decentralized nature of the blockchain is maintained while providing new avenues for smart contract applications, a crucial aspect in the current era of digital transformation.

Finally, Midnight empowers developers by simplifying the integration of ZK technology.

This accessibility is a significant step forward, enabling a broader range of developers to create privacy-focused applications and contributing to the overall advancement of blockchain technology.

To save you some time, here’s why it’s worth checking out what Midnight’s been doing:

→ Tailored privacy: Midnight’s dual ledger system offers a nuanced approach to data protection, ensuring confidentiality while participating in blockchain activities.

→ Smart contract flexibility: Utilizing Kachina, Midnight facilitates smart contracts that handle both public and private data, maintaining blockchain’s decentralized ethos.

→ User-centric design: Focusing on user experience, Midnight ensures that privacy doesn’t compromise efficiency or security in digital interactions.

→ Developer support: Midnight makes integrating ZK technology more accessible, empowering developers to build innovative privacy-focused applications.

→ Comprehensive data protection: Midnight’s emphasis on privacy and security is foundational, creating a blockchain environment where these elements are not just features but core principles.

Through these capabilities, Midnight is not only enhancing security but also paving the way for a more efficient and privacy-focused blockchain environment. Keep an eye on Midnight as they continue to innovate and redefine the blockchain landscape.

Transparency: besides knowing two guys from their team (see their names below), I have no ties with Midnight.

Shout-out:
Anthony Day & Mauricio Magaldi

If you want to stay updated on what’s going on in data protection, Zero-Knowledge Proof, and Web3 in general, I 100% recommend you give these two big brains a follow: Anthony Day and Mauricio Magaldi, Midnight’s Head of Strategy & Marketing, and Head of Product, respectively.

Not long ago they had a very interesting conversation on data protection and why data remains a huge issue (and cost) in Web2 as well as Web3.

When it comes to Zero-Knowledge Proof, these guys have a lot of interesting stuff to share, so make sure to stay tuned to their content.

So we have covered the general overview of the Zero-Knowledge Proof concept.

This is an exciting, rich subject, which we’ll certainly revisit in the (near) future.

However, from this point, I want to make a quick change and give you some extra stuff that would otherwise have made the previous edition way too long 😆 .

PINK BEANIE’S ACTIONABLE GUIDE:
Leveraging Web3 for your marketing strategy (part 2)

In the previous edition of The Wild West of Web3 I shared the part 1 of a quick actionable guide that can help you and your company identify some of the ways Web3 can take your projects to the next level.

So here’s the second part:

6) Role of community in Web3 Marketing

Why? Communities are crucial in Web3, with tokenization enabling active participation.
How? Build and nurture communities around your brand, using them as a resource for feedback, innovation, and advocacy.

7) From Persona-based to Identity-based marketing

Why? Focuses on individual identities and preferences in Web3.
How? Use blockchain technology and digital identities to create personalized marketing strategies.

8) Empowering customers through Token-based incentives

Why? Enhances customer engagement and loyalty.
How? Use tokens to reward customers for engagement and participation in brand activities.

9) Evolution of customer journey in Web3

Why? The customer journey in Web3 is dynamic and interactive.
How? Adapt your marketing strategies to meet the new dynamics of customer interaction in Web3.

10) iCommerce: reinventing retail

Why? iCommerce represents the convergence of immersive technology and e-commerce.
How? Create virtual stores and experiences that allow customers to interact with products in a more engaging and realistic manner.

Curious about the “iCommerce” concept? I got you → Our edition #11 covered this.

WALKING THE TALK

Walking the talk” is section in the Wild West of Web3 I will dedicate to projects I am directly involved with.

I’ll share with you what I’m seeing in the Web3 trenches, what I’m discussing with the suits in meetings with Fortune 500 brands, and what I literally invest my money and time on.

No bullsh*t, no sugar coating. Real talk.

Districts
The future of virtual real estate is here

In an age where the lines between the digital and physical are increasingly blurred, one platform is stepping up to redefine what we understand as ‘real estate’:

Districts.

Districts is a decentralized, open-source ecosystem that’s not just another virtual playground. This is a place where architects, designers, investors, and content creators can come together to not just imagine but actively shape the future.

It’s a collaborative hub that transcends mere 3D rendering, offering a fully interactive, dynamic environment that’s as real as it gets in the virtual world.

So, what sets Districts apart? It’s a revolution in how we approach real estate, investment, and community building. Through it every stakeholder can contribute to and benefit from a thriving, dynamic ecosystem.

Content creators, for example, can flourish in Districts, utilizing the platform to turn their creative visions into immersive digital paradises. Whether it’s crafting breathtaking landscapes or designing cutting-edge virtual interiors, Districts offers a canvas limited only by one’s imagination Districts is where virtual real estate meets real-world impact.

Imagine owning a piece of virtual land that you can design, develop, and monetize, just like you would in the physical world. But here’s the punchline: it’s not just about owning a bunch of pixels; it’s about contributing to a whole new economic and social ecosystem.

The core elements:

– Digital land ownership: You’re not just acquiring digital space; you’re securing a unique NFT with real ownership rights, all backed by blockchain tech.

– The Land Bank: Your investment in Districts isn’t isolated; it contributes to the platform’s overall economic health, offering a more stable investment avenue.

– Innovation central: This is where you can build a dynamic portfolio of innovative urban designs. It’s not just about creation; it’s about collaboration.

– Social responsibility: Districts aligns innovation with responsible stewardship. A portion of land sales goes to nonprofits, making a difference while making money.

– Community building: Districts is a community of forward-thinkers. Whether you’re a Web3 degen or a newcomer, you’re welcome here.

At its core, Districts is a visionary platform that’s pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the virtual world.

For clarity: This isn’t a “shill” or “part of my deal” thing; it’s a project that’s redefining the virtual landscape, and as always, I’m talking about what I’m living and breathing daily.

Learn more about Districts at districts.xyz and check their X/Twitter profile.

As promised at the beginning of this edition, my mission today was to try and make it easier for you to understand what ZK brings to the table when it comes to data protection.

Like many other concepts, Zero-knowledge proof goes much further. So hopefully you now have solid foundations and can start digging deeper.

See you next week for edition #18. But, before we leave…

BONUS CONTENT:

http://eesee.io/DYOR (Do Your Own Research), but I’d pay attention to this project. And for what’s worth, I advise the project.

Also, NFA (not financial advice).

eesee is a next-generation gamified SocialFi platform and digital assets marketplace that accelerates sales, provides additional liquidity, lowers cost barrier to enter the market, and facilitates community growth.

In other words, eessee boosts asset demand through gamified trading processes.

The team also developed the first protocol that enables digital asset purchases at a fraction of their value.

If you like numbers, here are a couple:

Raised a $1.1M Seed round in April 2023, backed by Daedalus. Got $600k committed for Private round

80,000+ users in Waitlist, 35,000+ verified users in Discord, 38,000+ wallets connected

But in case you feel like testing it out, here’s an invite code you can use:

ESE-2I60-9Q4P

#LFGrow
Diego Borgo

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