Understanding Namada's trusted setup

Why do we need a trusted setup?

To enable multi-asset privacy, namada utilizes zero knowledge proofs that require the generation of public parameters that must be random and unknown to anyone. Someone that would know these parameters, could generate counterfeit proofs. To avoid this scenario, the team behind Zcash invented trusted setup ceremonies. Under the hood, a trusted setup ceremony is a multi-party computation (MPC) that lets many participants contribute randomness to the public parameters in a trustless manner. The setup is secure, as long as one participant is honest; the probability of all participants being malicious decreases dramatically as the number of participants in the ceremony grows. It takes only one.

How exactly does the setup work?

A trusted setup consists of 2 phases. The first phase is circuit-agnostic, that is, anyone who wants to build a zk-SNARK can use the outputs from this phase to bootstrap their zk-SNARK. This phase is called The Powers of Tau and has already been done by Zcash. The second phase is circuit-specific and this is where we will construct our MASP zk-SNARK.

What is a zk-SNARK?

The acronym zk-SNARK stands for “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge,” and refers to a proof construction where you can prove possession of certain information to someone else, e.g. a secret key, without revealing that information, and without any interaction between you (the prover) and someone else (the verifier).

What do I get for participating?

We will reward participants for contributing to the security of Namada. More details will be announced via a newsletter. For regulatory reasons, a KYC will be necessary to claim your rewards.

How many times can I participate?

By contributing honestly multiple times, you don’t increase the security of the ceremony. We recommend that you participate only once. You won’t be rewarded for participating multiple times and we reserve the right to waive your rewards if we detect spamming behavior.

What are the hardware requirements for the Trusted Setup?

  • Desktop running at least Intel Core i5 7700HQ or similar.
  • Laptop running at least AMD Ryzen 5 2700U or similar with 2+ real cores.