22 tech companies unify around ZPrize, a $7 million call to action with a single objective: to advance zero-knowledge to support scalability and mainstream adoption of Web3
A coalition of 22 leading zero-knowledge technology companies, foundations, and funds including Aleo, Anoma, the Ethereum Foundation, Matter Labs, Mina Protocol, Polkadot Pioneers Prize, and Polygon, joined by tech giant Advanced Micro Devices (“AMD”) announced the launch of ZPrize, an industry-sponsored contest offering $7 million in prizes to accelerate zero-knowledge cryptography to enable the technology to help scale blockchain networks. The challenge is modeled after the famous XPrize competitions that have used private contributions to fuel advances in a variety of areas including spaceflight, adult literacy, and ocean health. For the ZPrize, teams will compete for awards by engineering new algorithms and techniques that achieve performance metrics unmatched by the best zero-knowledge systems deployed in the blockchain industry today.
One of the most promising approaches for scaling zero-knowledge technology is to use specialized hardware like graphics processing units (GPUs) or field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). So ZPrize is collaborating with AMD-Xilinx to provide access to cutting-edge hardware such as the Varium C1100 blockchain accelerator card for competing teams to develop the best solutions to the ZPrize challenges.
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“Zero-knowledge systems are paving the way toward mass adoption of decentralized applications as they transform the way we interact and transact online and the ZPrize is an important effort to accelerate that progress.”
“Incorporating zero-knowledge cryptography in a blockchain platform is critical for widespread adoption of the technology, but it comes with a significantly increased compute workload,” said Hamid Salehi, Director of Product Marketing, AECG Data Center Group, at AMD. “FPGAs are uniquely positioned to accelerate the zero-knowledge protocol efficiently, at the hardware level, to create scalable blockchain solutions. AMD-Xilinx is proud to support the ZPrize competition with our FPGA-based accelerators to enable the community to create innovative solutions that help advance zero-knowledge technology.”
As blockchain technology and Web3 expand into more use cases, it faces the challenge of scaling to hundreds of millions of users while at the same time remaining trustless, secure, and accessible. Zero-knowledge is a new technology that shows great promise in solving these problems. Since its introduction by ZCash in 2016, the technology has evolved through rapid-fire innovation. That’s why industry and academic experts alike view it as the key to enabling mainstream adoption of Web3 and blockchain technology.
“Espresso Systems is proud to sponsor the ZPrize, an industry-wide collaboration which we believe will be crucial to advancing zero-knowledge as a technology,” said Jill Gunter, Chief Strategy Officer for Espresso Systems. “Zero-knowledge systems are paving the way toward mass adoption of decentralized applications as they transform the way we interact and transact online and the ZPrize is an important effort to accelerate that progress.”
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Teams will compete to win financial rewards in both dollars and tokens across a range of categories that the sponsors have identified to be of particular importance for practical application of zero-knowledge systems. Submissions will be judged against the existing technical benchmarks, with the highest rewards paid out for the greatest improvements on the current state-of-the-art.
The unique cooperation of competing entities embodied by ZPrize centers around the shared objective of making widespread application of this technology practical and enabling privacy & scalability in Web 3.0. To that end, winners of the competition must open-source their challenge solutions so that the entire community can access and benefit from them fully.
“The goal of the ZPrize is to spur a quantum leap in zero-knowledge cryptography that so many Web3 protocol and application developers are waiting for to enable their products to scale to millions,” said Alex Pruden, COO of Aleo & founder of the ZPrize initiative. “The sponsors of ZPrize not only represent an industry but a united community of believers in this technology. We share a collective desire to turn these exciting academic ideas into a deployed reality. With the ZPrize, we’re advancing the state-of-the-art to form the bricks of the technological foundation that will scale and secure the next-generation web.”
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