Blockchain transactions just got a whole lot safer

Banking giant ING’s blockchain team has announced a major breakthrough that will help overcome one of the biggest obstacles to using blockchain in financial services: protecting data privacy. The new code, known as a “zero-knowledge range proof” (ZKRP) is 10 times more efficient than existing technologies designed to keep information on a ledger private.“Our solution is 10 times more efficient than other technologies” - Mariana Gomez de la Villa

“Our solution is 10 times more efficient than other technologies” – Mariana Gomez de la Villa

How does it work?

Currently, information on a public ledger is not private given that changes must be verified by each participant in the network. The ZKRP code adds a layer of cryptography to blockchain technology that resolves this challenge.

The ZKRP solution demonstrates the truth of a specific statement without revealing any additional information beyond what it’s trying to prove. For example, a mortgage applicant could prove that their salary sits within a certain range, without revealing the exact figure. Similarly, the ZKRP could prove that a payment amount is within a limit, without showing the exact amount.

What’s so clever about that?

“Until recently, one of the primary challenges for applying blockchain in the banking sector was ensuring that data privacy was protected and at the same time meeting regulatory reporting requirements,” explained Mariana Gomez de la Villa, global head of ING’s blockchain programme.

“While existing zero-knowledge technology has provided us with a way of overcoming that, the main limiting factor is the resource, and therefore cost, that each verification would generate.”

ING’s specific solution has been benchmarked against similar technologies in Ethereum, the world’s largest blockchain alliance, which the bank is part of. The operating costs of ZKRP are much lower than other technologies.

“ING’s ZKRP solution has been proven to be 10 times more efficient than others in the Ethereum test network, while upholding the same three principles: completeness, soundness and zero-knowledge,” said Mariana.

ING’s blockchain team have launched ZKRP as an open source solution, which means that other interested parties in the development community are able to download, access and even contribute to the solution.


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Bitcoin briefly jumps more than 11% after news Square is testing the digital currency

Square is testing support for Bitcoin 

The digital currency briefly surged more than 11 percent Wednesday to a high of $7,336.80 , according to Coin Desk. That’s within 10 percent of its record high of $7,879.06 hit last Wednesday. Bitcoin had fallen 30 percent below that record over the weekend amid controversy over the digital currency’s future.

In the established stock market, a decline of at least 10 percent from a recent high sends a stock into “correction” territory, and a drop of at least 20 percent marks “bear market” territory.

Wednesday’s gains in bitcoin came after news that Jack Dorsey’s company Square is testing support for bitcoin through its payments app Cash. Early on Wednesday, Credit Suisse analysts published a report on the Square news describing how the “bitcoin buying option could help stock.”

Square shares spiked more than 5 percent in the open before closing about 2 percent higher. The company’s test of bitcoin is still small and focused on letting customers buy and sell the digital currency within the app. The test does not allow individuals or businesses to send or accept bitcoin, Square said.

Bitcoin performance over the last six months


Source: CoinDesk

Digital currency trading firm Genesis Global Trading found bitcoin tends to recover dramatically from large drops. The last four times bitcoin has fallen more than 20 percent this year, it has gained an average 28 percent in the two weeks following, and an average 61.5 percent in the four weeks following, the analysis showed.

Trading in Japanese yen accounted for about nearly 56 percent of bitcoin trading volume Wednesday, according to CryptoCompare. U.S. dollar-bitcoin trading volume accounted for about 25 percent.

Another digital currency, ethereum, traded about 1.5 percent lower near $331, according to CoinDesk.

“A lot of the recent volatility has been caused by the recent narrative and events surrounding bitcoin and bitcoin cash and the record setting exchange trading volume between the two amongst large investors, miners, and retail investors in Asia,” Alex Sunnarborg, founding partner, Tetras Capital, said in an email. “The price of BTC and BCH have moved inversely between each either, driving the price of bitcoin down as it flows to bitcoin cash and vice versa.”

The controversy over the best way to improve bitcoin’s transaction speeds and costs remains unresolved.

One upgrade proposal called SegWit2x was called off last Wednesday, causing bitcoin to surge temporarily to its record high before crashing.

An upgrade which took effect in August split bitcoin into bitcoin and bitcoin cash. The offshoot bitcoin cash traded slightly lower Wednesday near $1,222, about 50 percent below its record high of $2,477.65 hit Sunday, according to CoinMarketCap.

Another version of bitcoin that launched Sunday, bitcoin gold, has tumbled more than 20 percent in the last 24 hours to around $162, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin gold is an attempt to make “mining,” or creating, the digital currency less dependent on specialized hardware.

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