Author: nairolf, Sensei Wu Source: substack Translation: Shan Ouba, Golden Finance

ZK this, ZK that, brother please stop talking about this. Starknet only has 8 monthly users, this was a failed airdrop, and no one cares about ZK Rollups. Okay, let me take my time, haha. This technology is really great.

Let's start with the simple and understand what zero-knowledge proof, or ZK proof, is. For example!

John likes to draw beautiful tigers, but he doesn't dare to show his paintings to his friends. He's shy!

His friends doubt his skills. They have never seen him draw! But John has a plan. A large tiger painting competition is about to be held. To enter, you must draw an amazing tiger painting.

If John enters the contest and passes the qualifier, his friends will know that he can draw a tiger. They didn’t see him draw, but they will eventually believe him.

John entered the contest, drew a tiger, and won the judges’ praise. His friends finally believed him! This guy can really draw a tiger. Awesome!

This is like a zk proof. Instead of showing something, you prove it without revealing any details. John’s proof is his qualifier. His friends didn’t see him draw, but they know he can.

As you may have figured out, one benefit of zk proofs is that they provide privacy.

But that’s not the only advantage. We won’t go into the details, but remember that zk proofs are also faster. This actually makes a lot of sense. If we go back to our example, John doesn’t need to show his friends one by one how to draw a tiger. He just needs to show his invitation to the contest.

Furthermore, zk proofs are more memory efficient. These proofs can verify larger computations more easily than other proof systems.

But, there is a problem: these proofs have to be verified at some point. Let's say James tells you that he was accepted into the competition. Great, but do you want to confirm that this is true?

Unfortunately, Ethereum, and more specifically the EVM, its virtual machine (the big computer behind Ethereum), was not designed for zk proofs. This makes verification very expensive and sometimes makes zk proofs unusable.

That's where the Aligned Layer comes in.

## Aligned

Instead of verifying your proofs directly on Ethereum, you submit these proofs to the Aligned Layer.

What might you be wondering? Well, the Aligned Layer specializes in verifying proofs. Think of Aligned as a dedicated validator for the network, ready to confirm that the proof you submit is correct.

Aligned plays the role of Ethereum here. But don't worry, they use EigenLayer's restaking to maintain the same level of security as Ethereum. Same security as Ethereum, but without the limitations of the EVM. Cool, right?

So, Aligned verifies your proof. The next step is to publish the verification result to Ethereum. Yes, I said "verification result". It's already been verified, why verify it a second time?

Now, you still have your data, a.k.a. the proof, that needs to be published somewhere. Well, Aligned will publish it to Ethereum or an AltDA like Celestia. It's your choice.

The process of verifying proofs becomes much cheaper through the Aligned Layer. We're talking about more than 10 times cost reduction, seriously!

It's also slightly faster. You don't have to wait for your proof to be verified on Ethereum; you've already received the first (soft) confirmation from the Aligned Layer.

No longer limited by the EVM, a lot of new potential use cases, and the goal of making zk-proofs mainstream: Aligned Layer will become one of the most important players in the zero-knowledge space. But it won't be the only one.

**Nebra**

Nebra is a general-purpose zero-knowledge proof aggregation protocol built on Ethereum. Sounds a bit crazy, right? Let me explain.

Verifying zero-knowledge proofs on Ethereum is extremely expensive. With Nebra, you can reduce these costs by a factor of five.

Nebra proposes: “Why don’t we verify a large number of zero-knowledge proofs off-chain, batch them into one big bundle, and then verify just one aggregate proof on-chain? That way, we keep Ethereum’s security while lowering the cost per unit to generate!” Pretty clever, right?

Also, Nebra is universal. This means that proofs can come from any source. Whether it’s zkRollups, zkCoprocessors, zkML, or any other source, Nebra accepts them all.

Nebra is also permissionless, which means that any project can use it without having to apply to the team first, making this technology usable at scale.

There are already several projects leveraging Nebra, such as Worldcoin and a brand new ZK Coprocessor – Brevis. Don’t know what a Coprocessor is? Check out our previous post.

And that’s the end… wait, you don’t even believe that’s the end?

**Succinct**

Succinct is a layer that generates zero-knowledge proofs for any blockchain. That's right, any blockchain. It aims to be the base layer for generating zero-knowledge proofs. Impressive, right?

You might be wondering how they do it — or maybe you don't; either way, let me explain. Succinct operates as a network of validators. These validators generate zero-knowledge proofs on the Succinct network, which are then sent to clients.

To ensure that clients get the best price, the Succinct layer is split into two parts: a marketplace where validators offer the best price for each request, and an aggregation system that reduces the unit cost by scaling each generated proof. Simple, right?

Essentially, Succinct is like a contractor you hire to handle proof work for you. Imagine if you couldn’t draw a meme or didn’t have the time to learn it, you could hire someone to do it for you. Succinct is like that, only for proofs.

This post is a bit long! But as the saying goes, “big innovations require big posts.” One thing is for sure: zero-knowledge proofs have huge potential. While we’re still a ways off from widespread adoption, the projects featured today are helping to close that gap.