Zero Knowledge in the Celestia Baselayer

There are numerous potential applications that could benefit from increased expressiveness between the Celestia base layer and applications leveraging Celestia for data availability. This enhanced expressiveness would enable the creation of TIA-aligned DeFi, liquid staking, and re-staking. However, the demand for expressiveness conflicts with Celestia’s core value of state minimalism. A viable solution for the Celestia community to achieve expressiveness while maintaining minimalism is to embed zero-knowledge proof verification into the base layer.

Zero-knowledge proofs enable developers to construct expressive rules governing simple state transitions in the base layer, such as staking, claiming rewards, delegating, and escrowing funds.

The greatest challenge that ZK in the Celestia base layer will face is the rapid evolution of proof systems since ‘Snarktember’ in 2019. This rapid innovation makes neutral and inclusive choices for proof systems a moving target.

The purpose of this working group is to devise a plan for incorporating ZK verification into the Celestia base layer and to adapt to evolving proof systems. Skip is stewarding the working group, guiding its direction and facilitating discussions as part of increasing overall contributions to the Celestia ecosystem.

Overall Time Commitment

  • The working group will hold two meetings per month.
  • Participants advocating for specific cryptographic primitives and the verification function for proof systems in Celestia core, as well as application builders seeking protocol changes integrating those primitives, should be prepared for a higher time commitment. This includes writing and reviewing code, and developing Celestia Improvement Proposals (CIPs).
  • For those interested primarily in the high-level structure of base layer ZK in Celestia, occasionally joining a meeting will suffice.

The first meeting will be held on Jan 24 3pm UTC.

Please fill out this Google Form for details.

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Fixed the Google Form link

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I would appreciate any proposals for working groups for ideas for the base layer to at least inform the Core Devs on the Core Devs Call to align it with the CIP process and framework.

Is the outcome here to create CIP specifications? Is the intention to at least work within the CIP framework? Will this working group follow other working groups frameworks in Celestia for the CIP process?

I ask these questions as I have no idea about the intentions behind how this working group will work. The CIP process was created for such working groups as the one proposed to strive and exist. It would be helpful to align this working group with the CIP process (which contains all core devs on the protocol anyways).

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The intention with the Working Group is to inform multiple CIPs.

Examples of CIPs

  • A Cip for adding a particular proof system to the Celestia Code base

  • A CIP for Snark accounts

  • A CIP for Snark Staking etc etc

Those would then be pushed into the CIP process.

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Amazing, this is great. A fan of the working group proposal.

Happy to join upcoming calls as optional. Looking forward to seeing new CIPs!

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How does this relate to the existing discussions around this?

  1. Achieving base layer functionality escape velocity without on-chain smart contracts, using sovereign ZK rollups
  2. Public Inputs for SNARK Accounts · celestiaorg/celestia-app · Discussion #2902 · GitHub
  3. SNARK Account State · celestiaorg/celestia-app · Discussion #2903 · GitHub
  4. SNARK Account Predicates · celestiaorg/celestia-app · Discussion #2904 · GitHub
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Very much related. The intention is to inform those discussions. We offered to do a small amount of external facilitation for the following reasons:

  • Skip has an interest in ensuring we can properly route multi-hop transactions through this system and expect others will have similar user requirements that should be surfaced.
  • The facilities provided by SNARK accounts will impact the design of 3rd party staking applications and therefore benefit from community input. Zaki and I ran a similar group when developing the LSM.
  • Given the rapid pace of zk-SNARK R&D it seems prudent to invite experts from the field to help guide the selection of a proof system that is sufficiently hardened, while not overly limiting of future development.
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Hi, this is Shivanshu from Succinct. We’re hyped about the idea of leveraging ZK to increase expressiveness at Celestia’s base layer.

As you mentioned, since ‘Snarktember’, the pace of development of proof systems has been exponential. Currently, there are a lot of ZK proof systems in various stages of development, with various tradeoffs. While this is a positive for the space as a whole, the rapid growth trajectory makes it difficult to enshrine a non-opinionated system into any given protocol. For instance, if the base layer supports one particular ZK scheme and in the future a new, faster, and more optimized proof system is developed, switching to this new system might require major changes to the protocol.

At Succinct we have been working with ZK proof systems and ZK applications in partnership with a variety of different projects for the past year and a half (including, Gnosis, Lido, and Celestia as well!). We’ve also collaborated with Celestia on making ZK Blobstream (BlobstreamX)

With our experience of working with multiple proof systems as well as with Celestia devs in the past, we believe we can make valuable contributions to the discussion of choosing the optimal ZK scheme for Celestia’s base layer (and any required protocol changes).

We’d love to join the working group!

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I just sent out calendar invites to everyone who filled the form!

I’m gonna move the meeting to earlier because it currently conflicts with the Celestia Core Dev call