Riad S. Wahby
Brakedown: Linear-time and field-agnostic SNARKs for R1CS
This paper introduces a SNARK called Brakedown. Brakedown targets R1CS, a popular NP-complete problem that generalizes circuit-satisfiability. It is the first built system that provides a linear-time prover, meaning the prover incurs O(N) finite field operations to prove the satisfiability of an N-sized R1CS instance. Brakedown’s prover is faster, both concretely and asymptotically, than prior SNARK implementations. It does not require a trusted setup and may be post-quantum secure. Furthermore, it is compatible with arbitrary finite fields of sufficient size; this property is new among built proof systems with sublinear proof sizes. To design Brakedown, we observe that recent work of Bootle, Chiesa, and Groth (BCG, TCC 2020) provides a polynomial commitment scheme that, when combined with the linear-time interactive proof system of Spartan (CRYPTO 2020), yields linear-time IOPs and SNARKs for R1CS (a similar theoretical result was previously established by BCG, but our approach is conceptually simpler, and crucial for achieving high-speed SNARKs). A core ingredient in the polynomial commitment scheme that we distill from BCG is a linear-time encodable code. Existing constructions of such codes are believed to be impractical. Nonetheless, we design and engineer a new one that is practical in our context. We also implement a variant of Brakedown that uses Reed-Solomon codes instead of our linear-time encodable codes; we refer to this variant as Shockwave. Shockwave is not a linear-time SNARK, but it provides shorter proofs and lower verification times than Brakedown, and also provides a faster prover than prior plausibly post-quantum SNARKs.
Fast and simple constant-time hashing to the BLS12-381 elliptic curve 📺
Pairing-friendly elliptic curves in the Barreto-Lynn-Scott family are seeing a resurgence in popularity because of the recent result of Kim and Barbulescu that improves attacks against other pairing-friendly curve families. One particular Barreto-Lynn-Scott curve, called BLS12-381, is the locus of significant development and deployment effort, especially in blockchain applications. This effort has sparked interest in using the BLS12-381 curve for BLS signatures, which requires hashing to one of the groups of the bilinear pairing defined by BLS12-381.While there is a substantial body of literature on the problem of hashing to elliptic curves, much of this work does not apply to Barreto-Lynn-Scott curves. Moreover, the work that does apply has the unfortunate property that fast implementations are complex, while simple implementations are slow.In this work, we address these issues. First, we show a straightforward way of adapting the “simplified SWU” map of Brier et al. to BLS12-381. Second, we describe optimizations to this map that both simplify its implementation and improve its performance; these optimizations may be of interest in other contexts. Third, we implement and evaluate. We find that our work yields constant-time hash functions that are simple to implement, yet perform within 9% of the fastest, non–constant-time alternatives, which require much more complex implementations.