The Ultimate Guide to Zero-Knowledge Proofs: zk-SNARKs vs zk-STARKs

Paulina Lewandowska

14 Apr 2023
The Ultimate Guide to Zero-Knowledge Proofs: zk-SNARKs vs zk-STARKs


As blockchain and cryptocurrency have risen in popularity, zero-knowledge proofs have become increasingly important in cryptography. These types of proofs allow for one party to prove they know certain information without actually revealing the information, making them useful for confidential transactions. In this blog post, we will compare the differences between the two most commonly used kinds of zero-knowledge proofs: zk-SNARKs vs zk-STARKs.

What are Zero Knowledge Proofs?

In cryptography, zero-knowledge proofs are a type of protocol that enables one party to prove to another party that a statement is true without revealing any additional information beyond the statement's truthfulness. In other words, zero-knowledge proofs allow one party to demonstrate knowledge of a particular fact without disclosing any other information that could be used to derive the same knowledge. This makes them useful for applications that require secure and private transactions, such as in blockchain and cryptocurrency, where they can be used to verify transactions without revealing any sensitive information. Zero-knowledge proofs are becoming increasingly important in cryptography due to their potential applications in privacy-preserving systems and secure transactions.

In the Mina Protocol video below, you will learn more details:

Zk-SNARKs vs zk-STARKs: what’s the difference?

In the realm of zero-knowledge proofs, there are two types: k-SNARKs and zk-STARKs. The distinguishing factor between the two lies in their approach to generating proofs. While zk-SNARKs utilize a trusted setup in which a group of trusted individuals generate a set of public parameters to generate proofs that can be reused indefinitely, zk-STARKs employ a more computationally intensive method that negates the need for a trusted setup.

Zk-SNARKs vs zk-STARKs

When comparing Zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKs, one key difference is their level of transparency. Zk-SNARKs are considered less transparent than zk-STARKs due to their reliance on a secret key that is only known to trusted setup participants, which could compromise the system's security if leaked or compromised. However, zk-STARKs are completely transparent and don't rely on assumptions or secret keys, making them more appealing to those who prioritize both transparency and security.

In terms of proof generation time and size, Zk-SNARKs are generally less efficient than zk-STARKs. However, zk-STARKs have the advantage of scalability and can handle more complex computations. Additionally, zk-STARKs are post-quantum secure, while Zk-SNARKs are not, making them resistant to attacks from quantum computers. Another important consideration is that zk-STARKs are more scalable and can handle larger computations compared to zk-SNARKs.

Zk-SNARKs explained

Zk-SNARKs have become increasingly popular due to their efficiency and privacy-preserving features, making them applicable in various real-life scenarios such as in blockchain, where they can be deployed to prove ownership of digital assets without revealing sensitive information. Additionally, Zk-SNARKs have played a crucial role in voting systems by ensuring the accurate counting of votes while maintaining voter anonymity. One of the most notable applications of Zk-SNARKs can be observed in Zcash, a private cryptocurrency, which allows users to transact anonymously while concealing transaction data. However, concerns about potential security risks have been raised regarding the use of trusted setups in Zk-SNARKs, as a compromised trusted setup can put the entire system's privacy at risk.

Zk-STARKs explained

Rather than requiring a trusted setup like zk-SNARKs do, zk-STARKs were developed as a better alternative, which is more resistant to attacks. This is because the trusted setup of zk-SNARKs is vulnerable to malicious use should it be compromised. Despite this, zk-STARKs require more calculations to generate a proof, making them less efficient overall. Still, recent developments have paved the way for more efficient zk-STARKs, making it a promising replacement to zk-SNARKs.

According to their use cases, zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKs differ not only in efficiency and trusted setups. Applications that require fast and efficient proof verification, such as privacy-preserving transactions in cryptocurrencies, typically use zk-SNARKs. In contrast, zk-STARKs are more appropriate for applications that require transparency and no trusted setup, such as voting systems and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). Additionally, it's worth noting that although zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKs are the most prominent types of zero-knowledge proofs, there are other variants such as Bulletproofs and Aurora that offer different trade-offs in efficiency and security, depending on the specific use case.

How to implement zk proof in the project?

When implementing zero-knowledge proof in a project, there are various technical steps involved, and depending on the type of zero-knowledge proof used, different methods and tools are available, such as zk-SNARKs vs zk-STARKs. For instance, when using zk-SNARKs, developers must utilize a trusted setup to produce the public parameters that will be used to generate and authenticate the proofs. The process requires the selection of the appropriate trusted setup ceremony, the setup of necessary infrastructure and assigning the participants who will generate the parameters. After the trusted setup, developers must include the appropriate libraries such as libsnark in their code and develop the functions required to generate and authenticate the proofs.

When it comes to zk-STARKs, a different approach is necessary for developers since trusted setup isn't required. To prove the computations, they need to utilize tools like circom and snarkjs to generate the circuits and tools such as groth16 and marlin to verify and generate the proofs. This includes choosing the appropriate tools and libraries, creating circuits, and ensuring full implementation of verification functions and proof generation.

A deep understanding of the cryptographic protocols involved, as well as having access to the necessary tools and libraries, are crucial requirements for developers when implementing zero-knowledge proof in a project. Additionally, developers must ensure that the proofs generated by the system are correct, secure, and efficient without compromising the users' privacy or security. Testing and debugging play a critical role during the process, and developers must ensure the system undergoes thorough testing before deploying it to production.


Zero-knowledge proofs have become increasingly crucial in cryptography, particularly in blockchain and cryptocurrency. The most commonly used types of zero-knowledge proofs are zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKs, which vary in their approach to generating proofs, level of transparency, proof generation time and size, scalability, and post-quantum security. To implement zero-knowledge proof in a project, developers must possess a thorough understanding of the cryptographic protocols employed, access to the necessary tools and libraries, and ensure the system undergoes comprehensive testing before deployment. Different technical steps and methods are required depending on the zero-knowledge proof used. As the use of zero-knowledge proofs continues to expand, comprehending the trade-offs between different types and effectively implementing them in various applications while safeguarding privacy and security is of utmost importance.

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What is Account Abstraction?


10 Nov 2023
What is Account Abstraction?

Account abstraction is a new way of thinking about how users interact with blockchains. Instead of using traditional externally owned accounts (EOAs), account abstraction allows users to create and manage their accounts using smart contracts. This has a number of potential benefits, including improved security, enhanced privacy, and increased flexibility.

What is account abstraction?

Account abstraction is a concept that, at its core, aims to simplify the user's interaction with blockchain networks. It is a transformative approach that seeks to mask the technicalities of blockchain operations from end-users. It is making transactions as straightforward as sending an email. Account Abstr. allows users to interact with the blockchain without worrying about the underlying technical details.

How does account abstraction differ from the traditional model?

In the traditional account model, each user has an EOA. EOAs are controlled by private keys, which must be kept secret in order to protect the user's funds. Acc. abstraction allows users to create and manage their accounts using smart contracts.

Historical Context

The journey towards acc. abstraction began with the first generation of blockchain technologies, characterized by their "one-size-fits-all" approach to account management. Bitcoin, for instance, introduced the concept of accounts and transactions in a form that was accessible to tech-savvy individuals but remained perplexing to the layperson. Ethereum expanded on this by introducing smart contracts, which opened the door to programmable transactions but did not alter the fundamental account structure. The idea of acc. abstraction has been discussed in the Ethereum community for several years as a part of various Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), particularly as a feature to be potentially implemented in Ethereum 2.0. It is a direct response to the need for a more versatile and user-centric design that can cater to a broader audience and spur the widespread adoption of blockchain technology.

The Technicalities of Account Abstraction

Account abstraction is not merely a theoretical construct but a technical innovation with specific mechanisms underpinning its operation. In essence, it alters the way transactions are initiated and executed within a blockchain network.

How Account Abstraction Works

Under traditional blockchain models, initiating a transaction involves an externally owned account (EOA) signing a transaction with a private key. This transaction is then broadcast to the network for validation and inclusion in the blockchain. Account abstraction, however, replaces this process with a more flexible one. Here, every account is a smart contract, and transactions are messages sent through these contracts. These smart contracts can encode complex rules for transaction validation, beyond what EOAs can do, such as multi-signature requirements or conditional transactions based on certain triggers.

The technical crux of account abstraction lies in the smart contract’s ability to define its own conditions for transaction execution. This means that user accounts can have unique security protocols or automated operations without the user needing to understand the underlying smart contract code.

Hey! Are you interested in the latest technologies in the blockchain area? be sure to read the article 'Top Zero-Knowledge Proof Projects to watch in 2023'

The Benefits of Account Abstraction

The implications of account abstraction are profound, offering a range of benefits that can enhance the blockchain experience for users and developers alike.

Improved User Experience

One of the most significant advantages of account abstraction is the improvement it brings to user experience. By abstracting away the complexities of key management and transaction rules, it presents a more intuitive interface for users.

Enhanced Security Features

Account abstraction also allows for the implementation of advanced security measures. Since each account can define its own logic, users can tailor their security settings to their specific needs. For instance, one might set up an account that requires additional verification for transactions exceeding a certain value or restricts withdrawals to certain addresses.

Future Implications

The future implications of account abstraction are vast. As the technology matures, it could become a standard feature of blockchain networks, potentially making the current distinction between user accounts and smart contracts obsolete. This could lead to a new wave of blockchain applications that are both powerful and accessible, bringing us closer to the vision of blockchain technology as a seamless part of everyday life.

Challenges and Considerations

Technical Limitations

One of the primary technical challenges of Acc. abstraction lies in its integration with existing blockchain protocols. Current networks are optimized for the EOA model, and introducing a new account structure necessitates significant changes to the core protocol. This includes modifications to the way transactions are propagated in the network, how gas fees are calculated, and how the state of the blockchain is managed. Ensuring that these changes do not compromise the network's performance or security requires careful planning and extensive testing.

Compatibility with Current Systems

Another consideration is the compatibility of account abstr. with the vast ecosystem of existing blockchain applications and services. Wallets, exchanges, and other services have been built around the traditional account model. Transitioning to an acc. abstraction model will require these services to update their infrastructure, which may be a complex and resource-intensive process. Furthermore, there is a need for standardization across the industry to ensure that different implementations of account abstr. can work seamlessly together.


Acc. abstraction represents a significant leap forward in the quest for a more user-friendly blockchain experience. By streamlining the transaction process and offering enhanced security features, acc abstraction has the potential to make blockchain technology more accessible to a broader audience. However, the path to widespread adoption is not without its obstacles. Technical challenges and compatibility issues must be carefully navigated to integrate it into the existing blockchain landscape.

Key Takeaways

How to Add Gnosis Chain to MetaMask: A Simple Tutorial


03 Nov 2023
How to Add Gnosis Chain to MetaMask: A Simple Tutorial

As the cryptocurrency ecosystem expands, there is an increasing need for various blockchains with distinct capabilities. Gnosis Chain enters the scene, offering a selection of unique characteristics. By integrating Gnosis Chain with MetaMask, users can access a more comprehensive array of decentralized services. We will walk you through the steps to add Gnosis Chain to your MetaMask wallet in this tutorial.


Setting up MetaMask

Before exploring the integration of Gnosis Chain, it is crucial to have MetaMask installed and operational:

  • Download and Install: If you have not done so already, visit the official website to download and install the MetaMask browser extension.
  • Setup Account: After completing the installation, create your account and make sure to remember the provided seed phrase. This phrase serves as your primary means for account recovery, so keep it secure.
  • Secure Your Account: Protecting your MetaMask account is of utmost importance. Use a robust password and never disclose your seed phrase to anyone.

Gnosis Chain

It is always helpful to have a basic understanding before incorporating any new blockchain into your wallet:

  • Gnosis Chain Overview: Gnosis Chain, a rising star in the blockchain world, brings a range of decentralized solutions to the table, such as prediction markets and decentralized trading platforms.
  • Benefits & Features: Among Gnosis Chain's main selling points are its accelerated transaction speeds and potentially lower fees when compared to congested networks.

Tutorial: How to Add Gnosis Chain to MetaMask

In the top right-hand corner of your browser, you'll find the wallet. If pinned, click on the MetaMask fox icon; if not, click the three dots in the top-right corner. The following screen will appear:

An option to expand the wallet to a new browser page is available by clicking "Expand view:"

This action will launch MetaMask in a new tab:

By clicking on the ‘Ethereum mainnet’ in the top left corner, you can add another network. Click ‘Add Network’

Choose option ‘Add a network manually’

Then, input the information below:

Network Name: Gnosis Chain formerly xDai


ChainID: 100

Symbol: XDAI

Block Explorer URL:

After saving the settings, Gnosis Chain will be added to your network.

The Benefits of Adding Gnosis Chain to MetaMask

With multiple blockchains becoming more common, integrating Gnosis Chain with MetaMask offers numerous advantages:

Expanded Capabilities: Accessing Gnosis Chain through MetaMask opens up a collection of exclusive applications and features inherent to this particular blockchain, which may include unique dapps or cutting-edge financial products.

Diversification: The crypto domain is extensive and constantly growing. By incorporating various chains like Gnosis into MetaMask, you broaden your potential investment opportunities and decentralized application experiences, ensuring no opportunities are missed.

Speed & Cost-Effectiveness: Network congestion and high gas fees on established platforms like Ethereum can discourage many users. Gnosis Chain's architecture has the potential to provide relief through quicker transaction times and more affordable fees.

In summary, as the possibilities within the crypto sphere continue to evolve, tools like MetaMask grant users access to this expanding world. By adding chains like Gnosis, users can stay ahead in this decentralized revolution.


By bridging platforms like Gnosis Chain with accessible tools like MetaMask, individuals not only amplify their engagement with decentralized applications but also fortify their position in this expansive realm. The integration of Gnosis Chain to MetaMask epitomizes the evolution of the crypto landscape – a testament to its ever-growing diversity and potential. As we continue to delve deeper into the decentralized future, tools and integrations like these will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping our digital experiences and opportunities. Whether you're seeking more efficient transactions, diverse dapp interactions, or simply a broader understanding of the crypto ecosystem, this guide's steps open doors to a new horizon.