Episode 141: ZK & Games: Dark Forest with Brian Gu

In this week's episode, we chat with Brian Gu, a student at MIT and creator of the Dark Forest game. We chat about education, blockchain based games and what inspired his work on the Dark Forest game. We then dig into how this game creates an incomplete information game space by using zkSNARKs to create a “cryptographic fog of war” and more!

As described on their blog, Dark Forest is an MMO space-conquest game where players discover and conquer planets in an infinite, procedurally-generated, cryptographically-specified universe.

Find out more about the game here: https://zkga.me/


Least Authority is a team of security researchers, open source developers, privacy advocates, and cryptographers focused is on securing distributed systems: blockchain, peer-to-peer and other approaches to systems built with the principle of least authority. They are known for security audits and reviews like the Eth 2.0 Specification, Protocol Lab's Gossipsub Protocol, Zcash Sapling upgrade, & Tezos Foundation's TzBTC, as well as their work with zero knowledge proofs integrated into the Tahoe-LAFS (secure distributed file store) with “ZKAPs: zero knowledge access passes“.

They are currently looking for a technical writer to help the Least Authority team write security research and audit reports, open source technical documentation and privacy analysis statements on technical approaches.

Find out more here: leastauthority.com/zkpodcast


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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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