Monero Beats Other Billion-Dollar Crypto to Take on ‘Bulletproofs' Tech
Privacy-oriented cryptocurrency Monero becomes the first to try out “bulletproofs,” a technology designed to make blockchain privacy features more scalable will be tested in the wild soon.
Monero has been making efforts to implement bulletproofs for the past year so as to cut the size of its confidential transactions by at least 75 percent.
The company deals with the scaling setbacks inherent to most blockchains brings along additional privacy layers, which are heavy to compute and unruly to store.
Pseudonymous Monero cryptographer Sarang Noether said,
“blockchain bloat was definitely an issue for Monero.”
The scalability of confidential transactions has been a significant hurdle for the $1 billion blockchains.
“We're excited about it,” Sarang continued. “Part of the reason we do the upgrades is so we can be safely on the cutting edge, and I think this is a really, really good move forward.”
Bulletproofs will replace the current zero-knowledge range proofs that its confidential transactions rely on.
Monero says it will activate the technology during its next system-wide upgrade, or hard fork.
It's worth noting that bulletproofs don't actually contribute to privacy itself. Rather, they simply ensure that the information stored within a confidential transaction doesn't contain any false information.
“They're not about anonymity; they are about assuring that the other stuff we do for anonymity works correctly,” Sarang added.
Monero relies on three different mechanisms in combination to realize anonymity – stealth addresses, ring signatures, and ring confidential transactions.
Bulletproofs target the latter, ring confidential transactions, or RingCT, which is how Monero obfuscates the quantities that are being sent in a transaction.
Because RingCT's use ring signatures, a cryptographic operation that obscures data by mixing it up with different outputs, Monero needs a way to ensure that transactions balance correctly – that is, to make it impossible for money to be printed in the process.
Up until now, Monero has relied a kind of zero-knowledge range proofs to fulfill this task, named a bitwise Borromean range proof.
Trouble is, these range proofs are “a very slow and large operation,” Sarang said, to the point that “the vast bulk of our transactions, size wise, on the blockchain are these existing range proofs.”
Instead, bulletproofs work by aggregating information into new data structures that scale logarithmically, rather than linearly – meaning that the scaling gets even more notable for large transactions that contain multiple outputs.
Speaking to this, Sarang said:
“It does the same thing, this nice, black box, zero-knowledge proof idea, but is much, much, much smaller and much, much, much faster to do.”