Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2020/062

Lift-and-Shift: Obtaining Simulation Extractable Subversion and Updatable SNARKs Generically

Behzad Abdolmaleki and Sebastian Ramacher and Daniel Slamanig

Abstract: Zero-knowledge proofs and in particular succinct non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs (so called zk-SNARKs) are getting increasingly used in real-world applications, with cryptocurrencies being the prime example. Simulation extractability (SE) is a strong security notion of zk-SNARKs which informally ensures non-malleability of proofs. This property is acknowledged as being highly important by leading companies in this field such as Zcash and supported by various attacks against the malleability of cryptographic primitives in the past. Another problematic issue for the practical use of zk-SNARKs is the requirement of a fully trusted setup, as especially for large-scale decentralized applications finding a trusted party that runs the setup is practically impossible. Quite recently, the study of approaches to relax or even remove the trust in the setup procedure, and in particular subversion as well as updatable zk-SNARKs (with latter being the most promising approach), has been initiated and received considerable attention since then. Unfortunately, so far SE-SNARKs with aforementioned properties are only constructed in an ad-hoc manner and no generic techniques are available.

In this paper we are interested in such generic techniques and therefore firstly revisit the only available lifting technique due to Kosba et al. (called COCO) to generically obtain SE-SNARKs. By exploring the design space of many recently proposed SNARK- and STARK-friendly symmetric-key primitives we thereby achieve significant improvements in the prover computation and proof size. Unfortunately, the COCO framework as well as our improved version (called OCOCO) is not compatible with updatable SNARKs. Consequently, we propose a novel generic lifting transformation called Lamassu. It is built using different underlying ideas compared to COCO (and OCOCO). In contrast to COCO it only requires key-homomorphic signatures (which allow to shift keys) covering well studied schemes such as Schnorr or ECDSA. This makes Lamassu highly interesting, as by using the novel concept of so called updatable signatures, which we introduce in this paper, we can prove that Lamassu preserves the subversion and in particular updatable properties of the underlying zk-SNARK. This makes Lamassu the first technique to also generically obtain SE subversion and updatable SNARKs. As its performance compares favorably to OCOCO, Lamassu is an attractive alternative that in contrast to OCOCO is only based on well established cryptographic assumptions.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / Zero-knowledge, simulation extractability, SNARK, updatable SNARK, subversion SNARK

Original Publication (with minor differences): ACM CCS 2020

Date: received 21 Jan 2020, last revised 24 Aug 2020

Contact author: behzad abdolmaleki at ut ee, sebastian ramacher at ait ac at, daniel slamanig at ait ac at

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Version: 20200824:105429 (All versions of this report)

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