ING Bank Releases Zero-Knowledge Set Membership (ZKSM) to Enhance Blockchain Anonymity


ING Bank Announced New Progress on Blockchain Privacy at Sibos Conference

Blockchain technology continues to be advanced through different use cases, but ING Bank is focusing on the privacy of it. They’ve launched a new product called the Zero-Knowledge Set Membership (ZKSM) solution. The first that the public has heard about it was at the Sibos banking conference that was just held this week.

There’s been a lot of praise bestowed upon the lender in their mission to make zero-knowledge proofs into a simpler process that banks can use. The process is simply a way that possession is proven for a secret, but without the exposure of said secret. The new process that the company is launching is called a zero-knowledge range proof.

Zero knowledge range proofs, instead, use a number that falls in a certain range. In an article by Ian Allison on CoinDesk, he explains,

“For example, a mortgage applicant could prove that their salary sits within a certain range without revealing the exact figure. As such range proofs are computationally lighter than regular zero-knowledge proofs and run faster on a blockchain.”

ZKSM makes it possible for alphanumeric data to be included in that range but validated in a specific set and modified to work on blockchain architecture. As these methods of proof are uses, it makes it possible to migrate away from only using numbers and instead using a variety of data types. Some perfect examples of this data include proving dimensions and geographic positioning.

A perfect way to show this process in action is against Know Your Customer processes. The protocols involved with Know Your Customer (KYC) allow each user to be verified as part of a group. An EU citizen could be categorized in a group with other users, but without having their country of origin exposed. If this data set is a collective group of the countries of the EU union, and the country of resident is available for the user, that person can show their citizenship. ING’s work has been in the process of an academic to peer review with Madaras Virza of MIT, which is one of the multiple founders of ZCash.

The head of wholesale banking at ING, Annerie Vreugdenhil, commented that this release of the ZKSM solution in an open-source way is the best way to continue with the way to protect data and privacy with blockchain. Vreugdenhil also said,

“At ING, we are fortunate to have some of the best minds in the industry working on our programme. And we are excited that our ground-breaking solution is now ready to be implemented and tested.”

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