Episode 76: Sean Bowe on SNARKs, Trusted Setups & Elliptic Curve Cryptography

In this week’s episode, we welcome special guest Sean Bowe. Sean is an engineer at the Electric Coin Company and the author of the Sprout and Sapling Zcash trusted set ups and much of the underlying cryptography of the protocol. We had a chance to chat about his history, what got him into the topic, some of the joys & challenges to working with SNARKs, and what ideas are inspiring him.

We also covered the story of Zcash and the Powers of Tau trusted set up, MPCs, the story of the bug, SONICs, ZEXE, the BLS12-381 Elliptic Curve Construction

Early on in the episode, we mention the Radiolab episode about the zcash trusted setup: https://archive.org/details/radiolab_podcast17crypto_zcash_ceremony

Questions from the audience: https://twitter.com/AnnaRRose/status/1122818062061797376

We also mention some of our previous ZK centric episodes that can be found here: https://www.zeroknowledge.fm/zkseries


Special thanks to this week's sponsor: Trail of Bits

Trail of Bits is offering a service for young technology companies who could use expert security support, but aren't quite at a stage to hire their own team. The service includes staffing a #security channel to answer questions, review high risk PRs, and integrate the latest in continuous testing into your build pipeline. Visit www.trailofbits.com for help securing your product.


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Previous Episodes

Episode 202: Stateless Ethereum & Verkle Tries with Dankrad Feist

This week, Anna speaks with Dankrad Feist, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation. They talk about the future of the ETH client infrastructure, the Merge, Verkle Tries, and more. They also explore how concepts that originated in the ZK research space have made their way into the ETH client stack.

Episode 201: DeFi’s Multichain Future with Zaki Manian from Sommelier

This week, Anna catches up with Zaki Manian and his new project Sommelier. They explore how Sommelier aims to develop strategies to better serve the more complex emerging DeFi projects like Uniswap V3, and how this would allow the average user to benefit from these new powerful tools. They also discuss Zaki’s vision for multichain DeFi and how the space has evolved over the last few years.

Episode 200: SNARK Research & Pedagogy with Alessandro Chiesa

This week, in our 200th episode (!), Anna chats with Alessandro Chiesa, a professor working on cryptography, complexity and security. Anna and Ale dig into some of the recent SNARK research coming out of his lab and discuss how to navigate the challenges of teaching in a space that changes quickly.

Episode 199: Snapps on Mina with Emre and Izaak

In this week’s episode, Anna chats with Emre Tekişalp and Izaak Meckler about what’s new with Mina, O(1) Labs, the network launch and the anticipated release of Snapps to testnet later this year. We learn more about how Snapps – these SNARK-powered applications are the bridge between real world data that can be represented cryptographically – think https for the blockchain.

Episode 197: WalletConnect & the DApp/Wallet connection with Pedro Gomes

This week, Anna chats with Pedro Gomes, Founder of WalletConnect, about how wallets and DApps traditionally interact and the journey to WalletConnect and WalletConnect 2.0. Pedro shares the ideas behind the new WalletConnect 2.0 development and his thoughts on what role the project will play in a Multi-Chain future.

Episode 196: Mixnets, Activism and Privacy with Nym’s Harry Halpin

This week, Anna chats with Harry Halpin, CEO of the Nym project, about a variety of topics related to privacy, politics and the need to build censorship-resistant systems. Harry talks about his early involvement in cryptography and his changing perspectives on capitalism as a tool for good. He shares how Nym aims to protect blockchain transactions from network-based deanonymization attacks.

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