15 Feb 2024

3 min read

Wormhole Foundation Collaborates with Succinct to Build Ethereum ZK Light Client and Accelerate ZK Development


Wormhole Foundation is collaborating with the team at Succinct to build an Ethereum ZK Light Client as part of an ongoing effort to further decentralize message verification within the Wormhole platform. Wormhole ZK is being leveraged by developers to minimize trust in the Wormhole platform, improve cross-chain composability, and increase network security. You can read more about the vision of Wormhole ZK in the recently announced ZK roadmap.

Meet Succinct

Succinct is building core ZK infrastructure, including a decentralized proving network and an open-source zkVM called SP1, so that any developer can build blockchain applications and infrastructure secured by cryptographic truth, not trust. Succinct’s network is a base layer that simplifies the complexities associated with using ZKPs by unifying the entire developer experience into one unified protocol for the entire ZK stack. 

This protocol streamlines the ZKP development process, providing a standardized interface to seamlessly integrate the latest proof systems and custom hardware for production use in ZKP-based applications. This approach not only accelerates development but also ensures cost-effective and reliable proof generation.

Succinct also just this week released the Succinct Processor 1 (SP1), a 100% open-source zkVM that verifies the execution of arbitrary Rust (or any LLVM-compiled language) programs. SP1 targets an order of magnitude performance improvement vs. existing zkVMs—its alpha release is up to 28x faster for certain programs and competitive with circuit-based approaches. You can learn more here.

How are Wormhole contributors and Succinct working together?

Currently, the Wormhole platform relies on the Wormhole Guardians to verify all multichain messages being sent through the network. The recent advances in zero-knowledge proofs make it feasible to upgrade the security of the protocol by augmenting the Guardian network with cryptographic truth in the form of a ZK light client. The Wormhole contributors are building an Ethereum ZK light client to secure all messages from Ethereum to other EVM chains as part of a recent push on integration of zero-knowledge proofs into the Wormhole platform.

The Succinct team is contributing to the Wormhole ecosystem to improve the performance of the Ethereum ZK Light Client and deploy it to production with the Succinct Platform.

  • The Succinct team’s primitives in this GitHub repo provide SOTA STARKs for proving hash functions like SHA256 and signature schemes. SHA256 is a large bottleneck in an Ethereum ZK Light Client, so integrating these accelerators is critical to getting performance to be practical.
  • The Succinct team’s STARK -> SNARK wrapper (GitHub) compresses the STARK proofs generated by plonky2 and makes them compatible with Ethereum and other EVM chains, making verification costs significantly cheaper. 
  • The Succinct Platform provides easy-to-use hosted proof generation for the Wormhole ZK Light Client proofs, making it easy for Wormhole contributors to deploy the ZK circuits to production seamlessly.

By building with Succinct’s tooling, engineers working on Wormhole replaced months of wrangling custom infrastructure for ZKP generation with a seamless production deployment using Succinct’s platform and unified interfaces. With Succinct, the Wormhole ecosystem was able to accelerate its ZK timeline and utilize the latest innovations in ZKPs with ease.

In summary, the Wormhole Foundation, in collaboration with Succinct, is developing an Ethereum ZK Light Client to enhance the trust minimization and security of the Wormhole platform. This collaboration leverages Succinct's expertise in decentralized proving networks and its protocol to optimize zero-knowledge proofs. This initiative aims to reduce trust, improve cross-chain composability, and enhance network security using ZKPs to significantly accelerate the Wormhole ZK development roadmap.

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