Episode 169: Arkworks SNARK libraries with Pratyush Mishra

In this week’s episode, Anna and Robert Habermeier chat with Pratyush Mishra, co-author of the Arkworks toolkit. Arkworks is a collection of Rust libraries designed to simplify development with SNARKs, both for developing high-level application circuits and building custom SNARK implementations.

Pratyush lays out what possibilities and trade-offs Arkworks offers, diving into the details of the Rust implementation and why it is the best language for developing cryptographic primitives. Anna, Rob and Pratyush then branch out into the philosophical and practical questions of open-source and blockchain development.

Here are a few links to Arkworks and the topics they discussed:

Arkworks GitHub page and Telegram group.

Pratyush’s GitHub, Twitter and Berkeley pages.

Bellman and Libsnark, some of the other libraries that are similar to Arkworks.

The Celo and Mina protocols, two major projects using Arkworks.

Here is a basic explainer of what projects like Arkworks are trying to do and why it’s useful, with a particular focus on ZoKrates, one of the languages Pratyush mentioned.

Intros to Circom, Leo and Zinc, some of the higher level languages.

An earlier episode with Robert Habermeier about the work he does on Polkadot.


Be sure to subscribe to the zkMesh Newsletter – a monthly rundown of the latest in decentralised privacy-preserving technologies, privacy protocol development and zero knowledge systems research. Put together by Anna & Mikerah (HashCloak).


Thank you to this week’s sponsor Least Authority.

Least Authority is a security consulting and product development company known for pushing the limits on how to build privacy-respecting solutions. They are a team of security researchers, open source developers, privacy advocates and cryptographers. They have developed an end-to-end encrypted cloud storage product that minimizes the collection of any data related to its users, called PrivateStorage.

PrivateStorage implements privacy and security by design, not by policy.

PrivateStorage is based on Tahoe-LAFS an open source distributed file store

PrivateStorage is launching in the second half of this year. Visit PrivateStorage.io to learn more and to sign up to be notified about its release.


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Previous Episodes

Episode 213: zk-SNARKs meets Optimistic Rollup with Zkopru

This week Anna chats with Wanseob an Applied ZKP Developer in the Privacy & Scaling Exploration Team at the Ethereum Foundation and one of the authors of the Zkopru protocol. They explore how Zkopru uses optimistic rollups and zero knowledge proofs to create a privacy-focused Layer 2. Wanseob walks us through the transaction process and how the protocol is built to circumvent high gas fees. We also hear a little about what’s to come in the Zkopru ecosystem from merchandising to private exchange of NFTs.

Episode 212: 2021 < 2022 with Co-hosts & Friends

This week, Anna checks in with co-hosts & friends, Tarun Chitra, James Prestwich, Josh Cincinnati and Guillermo Angeris, for a retrospective look at 2021 and a look forward to 2022. Enjoy this conversation full of blasphemous hot takes, bad 2022 predictions and dad jokes.

Bonus ZK Hack Wrap with Kobi!

While we decided not to release a full episode this week, Anna did get a chance to catch up with Kobi Gurkan, one of the co-organizers of ZK Hack and someone who was very missed in the last episode about the event!

Episode 211: It’s a wrap! ZK Hack Takeaways & What’s Next!

This week, Anna hosts a special 5-part interview with a roundup of perspectives from ZK Hack. First, she chats with puzzle hackers who share what it was like to solve these real-world cryptography bugs and learn complex concepts in real time. They discuss how they got started learning in this space and the resources and tools that helped them. Next, Anna speaks with the puzzle builders on the challenges of designing and building these novel zk puzzles. They discuss the state of the community and how the community could work together to create learning resources to enable its growth. Last but not least, there is a chat with part of the ZK Hack organizing team on what they thought of the event and what’s to come next!

Episode 210: The Road to STARKs and Miden with Bobbin Threadbare

This week, Anna chats with Bobbin Threadbare about his project Miden, a STARK-based roll-up which was recently purchased by Polygon. We recap the differences between STARKs and SNARKs and the increasingly blurred line between these two proving systems. We then map Bobbin’s journey to Miden VM (now Polygon Miden), how it originated from his earlier project Distaff VM and now incorporates the Winterfell prover from his days at Facebook.

Episode 209: Liquid Staking with Lido and Chorus One

This week Anna and Tarun chat with Vasiliy Shapovalov from Lido and Felix Lutsch of Chorus One about liquid staking on the ETH2 Proof of Stake consensus chain. Vasiliy explains Ethereum’s unique PoS validator setup and how liquid staking behaves on this network. They also talk about how liquid staking behaves on other live PoS, the inevitability of liquid staking and how to best design these systems. Lastly, they chat about navigating control and decision making in liquid staking protocols, touching on topics of decentralisation and governance.

Episode 208: Digging into Data Availability with Ismail Khoffi from Celestia

This week Anna chats with Ismail Khoffi from Celestia about how and why they’re focusing on building a data availability-first L1 blockchain. Ismail takes us through how data availability can be a problem, primarily with light clients and breaks down the components necessary to understanding the data availability problem such as state changes, the separation of consensus from execution and how Celestia aims to be a pluggable consensus layer.

Episode 207: Journey Through the Cosmos Ecosystem with Billy Rennekamp

This week, Anna chats with Billy Rennekamp about the Cosmos Hub ecosystem, ICF and some of the latest innovations he is watching. They discuss his early experiments with NFTs that led to the Clovers Network and his move into the Cosmos ecosystem. Through this, they cover how the space has evolved and the game changing potential of the IBC paradigm. Billy explains how the Cosmos Hub aims to support innovative modular development and shares the latest research into Interchain security, bridges, governance and much more.

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