Semiconductor Company Ingonyama Focuses On Zero-Knowledge Proof Hardware Acceleration

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Below is our recent interview with Elan Neiger, Head of Marketing at Ingonyama:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?

A: With pleasure. Ingonyama is a semiconductor company focusing on Zero-Knowledge Proof hardware acceleration. Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs) are considered one of the greatest achievements of modern cryptography. A ZKP is a protocol that allows one party (i.e a web-connected person or application) known as the Prover, to prove to another party, known as the Verifier, that they know a certain piece of information, without revealing anything about the content of that information. The highlighted section is where the “Zero Knowledge” aspect comes from, that is, no additional information is revealed to the Verifier apart from the proof of knowing the information.

In short, ZKPs are a way to prove you know something, own something, or have done something, without revealing any information about that something. This cryptography has the power to revolutionize a number of industries, especially those requiring private information to be shared across the web. It also allows for ‘yes-no’ answers to complex questions involving private data.

For example, imagine that you want to prove to someone that you’re a citizen of a country, without giving them your name or passport number. With a ZKP-based identity solution, you could prove that you’re a citizen without revealing your identity.

Today, Prover overhead is considered the main bottleneck for applied ZK. Traditional CPU and GPU architecture are not built to handle this form of computation efficiently, so we are designing hardware and software to lower the barrier of entry to ZKP.

At Ingonyama we take a broad, multidisciplinary approach and a deep understanding of the ZK landscape, and focus on finding and solving computational bottlenecks in ZKPs.

Our goal is to radically improve the performance of Zero-Knowledge (ZK) Provers by designing hardware optimized for ZK computation.

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Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?

A: Yes, our recent announcement is exciting news! We launched “ICICLE”, an Open Source CUDA-based GPU library, to support ZK acceleration for applications like Aleo blockchain and many others.

Like earlier game-changing technologies in history, the road to mass adoption and scale goes through hardware. Math primitives such as multi-scalar multiplication (MSM) and polynomial arithmetic, which dominate the time and memory consumption of Zero Knowledge provers, can benefit from parallelism and specialized algorithms. Today, hardware acceleration of ZK primitives is an exciting and growing field — the design space of ZK protocols and cryptography is shifting towards a hardware-friendliness mindset. Our goal is to facilitate ZK adoption and make GPU the standard hardware for ZK applications.

Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?

Our offering is mainly centered around working with the ZK developer community and collaborating on various projects. For example we work with blockchain miners who focus on ZK related blockchains, such as Aleo and Filecoin. We also partnered with AWS to bring ZK hardware acceleration to their cloud computing offerings, including their cloud FPGA offering,

We develop and ship hardware acceleration technologies for Zero-Knowledge developer toolkits like Sparkworks, research and publish information about the Zero-Knowledge landscape, and share deep dives into ways that ZK technology will enhance various industries such as gaming, the Metaverse, digital identity, and more.

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Q: What can we expect from your company in next 6 months? What are your plans?

A: In the next 6 months we plan to raise additional funds with the goal of doubling our current staff and diving even further into the world of ZK hardware optimization. Ultimately we plan to release a Zero-Knowledge Processor (ZPU™) along with a software stack, setting the software standard for ZK hardware acceleration.

Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?

A: We are experts in Zero-Knowledge Proof technology! Developers and others interested in ZK technology are invited to join our Discord channel to collaborate, chat with the dev team, talk about features, bugs, redesign and basically everything around acceleration of ZKPs. We also released a community driven knowledgebase around Zero Knowledge Proofs that includes resources, articles, lectures, videos, and tutorials.