A soon-to-launch plug-in would ensure privacy across blockchains, wallets, bridges and dapps.
Until now, there have been two basic approaches to ensuring privacy in the crypto space. The first was to bake privacy into the core, layer 1 blockchain, like Zcash. The other was to create a layer 2 privacy overlay, as Aztec did.
But that never meant that only two approaches were possible – as a matter of fact, these solutions are neither compatible nor affordable for end users and developers. A third and potentially more elegant one draws on a way generations of software developers have used to keep on-chain privacy simple and standardized: Mystiko.Network is the first blockchain privacy solution to be offered as a software development kit and “privacy as an SDK” (PaaS), solving interoperability and privacy at once.
Zk of Zk: Straightforward, but not simple
“It’s privacy-as-a-service,” says a spokesperson for the pseudonymous team, borrowing from the language of cloud computing. “As an SDK, Mystiko.Network as a general privacy layer can be added anywhere, whether developers are building infrastructures or applications.”
The plug-and-play privacy solution is built on two separate zero-knowledge proofs. While ZK SNARKs maintain privacy by making transaction details anonymous, ZK rollups offset any potential loss of efficiency and high transaction gas fees. The anticipated result is a more secure, more decentralized, higher availability transaction medium with a better user experience.
“The combination of both these in one protocol – that’s new,” says the spokesperson, who holds a Ph.D. in cryptography.
Because of its flexibility, Mystiko.Network, which is expected to roll out in the third quarter, is designed to work equally well in blockchains, wallets, bridges and dapps, enabling end-to-end privacy for any transfer of value. Users could enjoy seamless, multichain privacy without leaving Mystiko.Network’s integrated dapps and they could also try the directly user-facing wallet application ZK^2, built by early contributors to the platform.
Until its audit is complete and Mystiko can launch, it lives on its second version of testnets ZK^2 , dubbed “ZK-Squared.” The name expresses the developers’ intention that by combining ZKs, their power doesn’t just double, but increases exponentially.
One advantage Web 3 has over legacy internet protocols is interoperability. Data silos were often isolated in pre-Satoshi days, but connectivity between different blockchains and blockchain applications is a major premise of Web 3. Hundreds of cross-chain bridges have emerged, enabling users to transfer assets from one chain to another, leading to billions of inter-chain transactions. And yet, no existing cross-chain bridge supports private transactions that protect users’ account balances, asset holdings or trading histories.
Mystiko.Network intends to correct that oversight, unlocking such cross-chain privacy options – both single-chain and cross-chain transactions are available in Mystiko.Network V1 on testnets.
Paying less for gas
Inherent in the concept of zero knowledge is zero data. None of that leaves the L1 blockchain in a Mystiko-enabled trade, and so the whole transaction ordinarily takes up less than 200 bytes.
As a result, gas costs – assuming that Ethereum is the base blockchain – might be as little as 10% to 20% of those for conventional privacy solutions. Mystiko.Network is simultaneously running on a BNB Chain testnet, but the general point holds.
There is always a trade-off, though. While Mystiko does its best to solve Vitalik Buterin’s “trilemma” – increasing security and decentralization without sacrificing scalability – it’s not without cost. It’s a cost, though, the project team believes the end users will be more than willing to bear.
Two ZK protocols means double the steps, which means double the time to complete a transaction. That said, these are not exactly eons. A deposit would take around five seconds via Mystiko.Network, and a withdrawal could take as many as 20 seconds. High-frequency trading might not be the best use case for this solution, but for those willing to sacrifice a few seconds of screen time to ensure their anonymity, this could represent a new paradigm. This paradigm, in turn, could add another dimension to the trilemma that the Ethereum founder conceived to explain the benefits of sharding years ago and that have yet to be fully realized.
Invisibility is contagious
Mystiko.Network is cultivating and supporting the clientele who want to remain invisible online.
This is an aspiration the project team understands well. As individuals, they value their privacy as much as anyone in the crypto space – and value it more than most. The demand for privacy and invisibility is booming, as evidenced by the results of Mystiko.Network V1’s testnet launch. Through that exercise, more than 200,000 transactions were cleared by more than 40,000 unique users.
Perhaps that’s the inspiration behind Mystiko’s user experience.
“The best UX is no UX,” the spokesperson said. “Everything the end user sees comes straight from the wallets, bridges or dapps integrated with Mystiko.Network, without even noticing the operations of Mystiko.”
All this results in an array of application scenarios. For example, Mystiko ensures that sending and receiving on-chain crypto payments can be achieved privately as well as affordably. The inevitable result of this would be a crypto payroll system through which both the employer’s and the employee’s privacy is maintained.
It must be admitted that the reality of DeFi (decentralized finance) hasn’t always matched its promise, especially around privacy. Crypto traders on decentralized exchanges have long dealt with exposed account balances, transaction histories and asset portfolios. Mystiko, though, could improve crypto trading by obscuring counterparties’ purchases, sales and balances.
The Mystiko team believes that making financial privacy invisible would be a huge incentive for broader Web 3 adoption. If data can be protected to this degree end to end, then why wouldn’t everyone who ever had their credit card hacked not line up for it?
Mystiko.Network is the base layer of Web 3 with both connectivity and confidentiality. Leveraging zero knowledge proof with industry leading “zk of zk” technology, Mystiko.Network guarantees interoperability, scalability and privacy, all at once.
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