Zcash Source Code Dubbed ‘Halo 2’ Set to Eliminate the Need for Trusted Setup; Integration Scheduled for 2021


The Zcash source code will soon be updated to a more efficient version of the underlying recursive proof composition, the basis of this privacy-focused project. According to a blog announcement by its parent company, Electric Coin Co. (ECC), they have since opened the source code of the latest product ‘Halo 2’ set for integration with Zcash (ZEC).

Halo 2, which has been touted as a game-changer in recursive SNARKS projects,’ seeks to remove the need for trusted setups in these ecosystems. Also, this technology increases the scalability of the Zcash blockchain and interoperability with other chains,

“An updated more efficient version of ECC’s recursive proof composition that eliminates the need for a trusted setup in Zcash. It may also advance a promising scalability solution for Zcash and other blockchains.”

Notably, Halo 2 has gathered support from prominent stakeholders in the crypto industry, including Ethereum Foundation, which allocated the team $120,000 back in July. With a launch date scheduled for early 2021, ECC is also in discussions with other players. This initiative might see the debut of Halo 2 on multiple blockchains, given a probable value in flexible and trustless cross-chain interoperations.

Halo 2 Fundamentals on Recursive SNARKs Tech

Halo 2 is different from the original Halo in that it uses ‘PLONK’ to verify transactions while the latter implemented ‘Sonic.’ The blog announcement details that the latest approach proposes more value to recursive SNARKS projects by compressing history and distributing computation through recursive proof composition. In doing so, the underlying blockchain transactions become lighter and faster, which eventually improves efficiency and eliminates the need for trusted setups. The original halo announcement in 2019 noted,

“Recursive proof composition holds the potential for compressing unlimited amounts of computation, creating auditable distributed systems, building highly scalable blockchains, and protecting privacy for all humanity.”

While it is yet to be voted for integration by the Zcash community, Halo’s fundamentals ideas are already being leveraged in recursive SNARKS innovations. Some notable projects that have adopted these ideas include Mir (Plonky) and Coda (Pickles). Mir which is being developed by Predicate Labs acknowledged the Halo 2 positive effect through the firm’s CEO, Brendan Farmer,

“Halo is a significant breakthrough in making recursive SNARKs practical: We now have a smaller field, faster provers, and no trusted setups.”

IOHK CEO and Cardano (ADA) founder, Charles Hoskinson called this new source code “halo is one of the most exciting workstreams that I've seen in the industry.” It will be interesting to watch the developments of the new Halo 2 over the coming months.

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