Proposal “dash-core-group-research“ (Active)Back

Title:Dash Core Group Research
One-time payment: 345 DASH (38175 USD)
Completed payments: no payments occurred yet (1 month remaining)
Payment start/end: 2019-07-17 / 2019-08-15 (added on 2019-07-10)
Final voting deadline: in 9 days
Votes: 257 Yes / 22 No / 0 Abstain
Will be funded: No. This proposal needs additional 253 Yes votes to become funded.
External information:
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Proposal description

Dash Core Group August 1st Funding Proposals
DCG is submitting 3 funding proposals for the August 1st budget cycle:
1) DCG Compensation: proposal posted in May: currently month 3 of 3
2) DCG Research: $50,000
3) DCG Infrastructure: $32,000

This Proposal
This is cross-posted here

Dash Core Group and Arizona State University have a great ongoing relationship connected through both the Dash sponsored Blockchain Research Lab (part of CASCADE) and Dash Core HQ location at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. Ranked as the most innovative university in the United States, by U.S. News and World Report, ASU consistently strives to push the boundaries of education and seeks to partner with organizations and industry partners who are doing the same. Together, Dash and ASU can accelerate and leverage their on-going partnership to provide insight into the value of innovative technologies to improve the security of the Dash Network. With the upcoming introduction of identities on the Dash blockchain, it is imperative to study methods to ensure a proper balance is achieved between creating identities and maintaining privacy across a decentralized network.

This proposal seeks funding to renew our annual funding commitment to ASU’s Blockchain Research Lab and specifically to fund a research project which would investigate methods to apply zero-knowledge proofs to blockchain identities. It is possible Dash could leverage this research to apply zero-knowledge proofs to identity functions within the Dash network.

What is a zero-knowledge proof?
A zero knowledge proof (ZKP) is a protocol between two parties. The goal is for one party (the verifier) to be convinced by the other party (the prover) that a predicate (statement) is true without learning any information other than what can be inferred from the truth of the predicate. To make this characterization of ZKP concrete, we contrast it with a non-ZKP for the problem of identification. A simple non-ZKP solution to the identification problem is for a trusted third party to provide a certificate of identity to be presented when needed. The certificate would be accepted by anyone who trusts the third party. For example, if the credential is the age of the person, the certificate can include the age. If the credential is "older than 18", then a certificate of age would can be used to establish credential "older than 18". But using the actual age certificate divulges more information than is needed by the credential "older than 18". In addition to the person’s other identity information (such as address, sex, and eye color), this method also exposes the person’s birthdate (June 22nd, 1987). In the zero knowledge approach, the certificate can made so that it can be used in zero knowledge proofs for a credential that depend on age without divulging any additional information. In that case, using the certificate to establish the credential "older than 18" would only prove that the age is more than 18, but nothing else about the age would be divulged. If the credential is salary range, then a properly prepared certificate can be used in a zero knowledge proof to show that the salary is in the range 50k - 200k, for example, without disclosing the exact salary. The benefit of such an approach in the context of a distributed ledger is that the nodes will be able to verify the needed information without learning any information that is not needed. This is particularly important if some of the nodes are unscrupulous.

ZKPs have benefits for both individuals and businesses. For individuals, they provide greater privacy and safety, because an individual’s personal information (such as birthdate) can remain private. Businesses can benefit because ZKPs reduce the need for businesses to implement security measures to safeguard customer information, since specific information is never shared with the business.  This reduces both the cost of security and potential reputational risk associated with breach of security for the business.

This proposal is to provide a grant for specific blockchain research related to zero knowledge proofs on the Dash network.

Dash ZKP Research: $50,000
It is proposed that ASU will survey existing efforts on incorporating ZKP with distributed ledgers and identify their strengths and weaknesses. This will cover both commercial work (ING, Altoros, EY, Zcash, and others) and academic work. ASU will also consider the problem of how ZKP can be incorporated into Dash and identify the factors that can affect deploying zero knowledge solutions in Dash.

Looking forward:
The future of blockchain technology is advancing quickly on the Dash network. The next major release will include blockchain-based identities to be leveraged for simplified payment solutions.    Together, the Dash Network and ASU can accelerate technological solutions around identities and the blockchain. Harnessing the combined power of ASU and our cross-disciplinary work, partnerships could include research across law, social sciences, economics, business and coding expertise.  

Treasury Funding and Disbursement:
This proposal uses Dash Core Group’s address as the payout address. Dash Core Group will convert $50,000 worth of the funds into USD and then grant those funds to the ASU Foundation under the Blockchain Research Lab. From there, the Blockchain Research Lab will store/disburse the funds to conduct research into zero knowledge proofs.

We look forward to growing the research insights of Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKP) from the partnership between Dash and ASU. By looking at both academic work and commercial work, we can determine appropriate methods to improve the privacy and security of identity solutions on the Dash blockchain.

Requested funding is as follows for the August budget cycle:
· 340 Dash for research ($50,000 USD @ $147 per Dash)
·     5 Dash proposal reimbursement
Total: 345 Dash

Note: Should any funding remain, we will apply it toward future compensation expenses (since the research and compensation budgets recently merged).

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Discussion: Should we fund this proposal?

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1 point,2 days ago
50K is a lot money for this type of project research.

When I was a Ph.D student I received sponsorship from a research grant equivalent to $2,000 per month (today's rates) to undertake research on behalf a corporate sponsor. The sponsorship covered a 2 year period. I also received some computer equipment and monthly visits to the sponsor along with my travel expenses to and from the sponsor. That level of grant for a student was classed as excellent at the time because that is a lot of money for a student. It also made certain that the focus of the project was on the research and not the money.

I do not see why we should be paying 50K to have a research student do a project for DASH when that project research also benefits ASU.

My questions are the following:

1. "hat would DASH network specifically be getting in terms of human resource and physical resources in order to undertake this research at ASU?

2. What is the connection between Ryan Taylor and ASU? Specifically has Ryan attended ASU or has any other connections with ASU previously to DASH? It is important in any investment for the investors to understand the background to the connections of that investment to see if there could possibly exists any bias toward favoring one organization or giving them more favorable terms than is necessary due to past association.

I feel that the ASU funding has been excessive in the past. Ryan Taylor once stated in an interview the investment in ASU for testing scaling of DASH was a "huge return on investment". However an important point to understand is that ASU gets as much out of the relationship with DASH as DASH gets from ASU - even without the funding. ASU benefit from undertaking the research and building the business connections with DASH, increase in reputation and the possibility of publishing a scientific papers - all of which increase the profile of ASU in dealing with real world technology. That is how healthy university sponshorship needs to be. The focus should always be on the research and not on funding.

I agree that the ZKP research is needed but what I have an issue with is the amount of money requested to do this research. To me DCG projects are over bloated. Including their office spaces - which I know for a fact empty the majority of the time. I know this because a DASH member has visited those offices numerous times and not once found anyone there.

I would need the answers to the above questions to be adequately addressed before I can consider voting favorably on this proposal.
5 points,7 days ago
This is the most exciting proposal from Dash Core Group I've seen in a long time (and the recent ChainLocks, default InstantSend, and Dash Investment Foundation have been *incredibly* exciting).

Hoping for more privacy research to continue!
1 point,7 days ago
You have my support.