Zero-knowledge proof implementation based on device-independent quantum random number beacon

Recently, Academician Pan Jianwei and Professor Zhang Qiang of the University of Science and Technology of China, in cooperation with Professor Yu Yu of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Associate Professor Ma Xiongfeng of Tsinghua University, Professor Fan Jingyun of Southern University of Science and Technology and other researchers, for the first time, realized a set of random number beacon public services with device-independent quantum random number generator as the entropy source and later quantum cryptography as identity authentication, and applied it to the field of zero-knowledge proof, eliminating the security risks caused by the difficulty of realizing true random numbers in non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs. Improved security of non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs. On November 2, the research results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Schematic diagram of zero-knowledge proof based on device-independent quantum random number beacon. Courtesy of USTC
A zero-knowledge proof is a basic cryptographic tool that allows one party to prove the validity of a proposition to the other without revealing any additional information. Non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs are one of the most important variants of zero-knowledge proofs, which are characterized by the fact that the communicating parties do not need to exchange information multiple times. Due to their simplicity and low number of interactions, non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs are widely used in areas such as digital signatures, blockchain, and authentication. The security of commonly used non-interactive zero-knowledge proof systems is based on the assumption of generating credible true random numbers, however, in practical applications, deterministic pseudorandom number algorithms are usually used instead due to the difficulty of true random number generators. Previous studies have pointed out that this approach creates potential safety implications.
The intrinsic randomness of quantum physics provides a new solution to this security risk. In particular, device-independent quantum random numbers based on the bug-free Bell inequality test can provide true random numbers with the highest level of security, and their security is guaranteed by the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics without requiring the user to make any prior characterizations or assumptions about the quantum device. In 2018, the research team achieved the first device-independent quantum random number that can resist quantum attacks in the world, and then increased the random number generation speed in 2021.
In this work, the research team built a beacon public service system based on device-independent quantum random numbers, and used the system to design and implement a non-interactive zero-knowledge proof scheme that does not rely on the assumption of true random numbers. This random number beacon service can broadcast the generated random numbers to the public in real-time. In addition, to ensure the security of random numbers during broadcasting, the research team adopted a quantum-secure signature algorithm that can resist quantum attacks. Subsequently, the research team used the received device-independent quantum random number to replace the previous pseudo-random number to build and experimentally verify a more secure non-interactive zero-knowledge proof protocol.
For the first time, this research work combines three different fields: quantum non-locality, quantum security algorithms and zero-knowledge proofs, which greatly improves the security of zero-knowledge proofs, and the public-facing random number service has important potential applications in the fields of cryptography, lottery industry and social welfare.
Related Paper Information:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2205463120

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