Hello world!

Woah! It's been almost a year since Modulo-p was formed. Time flies fast, and now we're delighted to see our first fruits. It seems like a good time to talk about what this is all about, but first, a few words to capture the exciting things happening right now in the Cardano ecosystem.

It's been really exciting to work in the blockchain space; certainly, one quickly gets that this is one of the technologies that will drive society into a greater transition. For its part, Cardano is getting really fun; interesting projects and dApps are emerging each day, along with new developer tools and programming languages on the way. From the developer perspective, you feel like the network is getting more robust than ever.

On the other hand, a new hard fork is coming that will incorporate governance features and new Plutus primitives. This event will open new possibilities. Given its importance, a lot has been said about governance lately. Thus, conversely, technical advances have been somewhat overlooked; however, just because their consequences are less obvious does not mean they are any less important. Noteworthy updates include new hashing algorithms (Blake2b-224 and Keccak-256), bitwise operations, and a range of functions to work with the bls12-381 elliptic curve. The latter is particularly important because it allows the development of Zero-Knowledge proofs applications. For sure, some of you readers have heard of them and may have noticed that there is a lot of expectation around them. The reason for this is that these are part of the recent innovations in cryptography that are pushing the blockchain space in a next revolution. ZK proofs address many deficiencies in privacy and scalability that first-gen blockchains had. Plus, if this wasn’t enough, the most noticeable quality is their programmability; they can become highly adaptable to many use cases. This explains why they are becoming more ubiquitous and progressively dominating the space. In this regard, Cardano is still very green compared to Ethereum, for example. This is demonstrated by the fact that zk-apps aren’t possible yet. However, these features are coming, so this opens the opportunity to leverage developments from other parts of the blockchain ecosystem. And well… since we are passionate about cryptography (as evidenced by our name lol), we decided to participate in this journey and bring innovations to bridge the gap.

Taking this challenge, Modulo-p took root during Emurgo’s Hackathon. Fourtunately, we reached the finals in the zero-knowledge track, and this was the first event that fueled us as team. But we didn’t stayed there and we kept hungry, we decided to take our experience further; resulting in a F10 funded proposal (kudos for all our supporters) to do the first Groth-16 zk-validator in the Cardano ecosystem. Currently, we're putting the finishing touches on that proposal, and some promising results are coming out of it:

  • ak-381 library: The most promising outcome that we're excited to announce is the beta version of our ak-381 library . This includes an implementation of the zk-validator using the Plutus V3 primitives along with utilities for proof generation and interoperability with the virtual machine.
  • Hydra incremental commitment: We've also implemented an interesting integration enhancement to Hydra, mainly focused on incremental commitment. This feature is important for user experience as it enables peers to join and leave asynchronously.
  • Native Plutus V2 zk-Validator: In our initial exploration, we successfully managed to develop a zk-validator from scratch, relying solely on the V2 primitives. While this isn't the most efficient solution since it can only be used in Hydra, but it was the most accessible approach to achieve a PoC until the next Plutus version release. This is available too.
  • zk-Mastermind Demo: Lastly, we're preparing the Mastermind demo, which will wrap-up and show all the above. It's a ridiculously fun way to learn about the tech behind it all! So, be prepared to play.

These advancements are currently being released and will be fully available to everyone in the following weeks. These mark the end of an exciting phase for us, one defined by a strong emphasis on technical aspects, and the dawn of a new one that embraces a broader vision, highlighting the importance of privacy within our ecosystem. But this is a matter to another post ;)

Kind regards

Modulo-p team