The Netherland-based giant banking group, ING, is aiming to become a blockchain innovator.
The bank is already known for modifying an area of cryptography called zero-knowledge proofs in November last year (a code that allows someone to prove they have knowledge of the secret without revealing the secret itself).
The zero-knowledge proofs were a tool for financial institutions that didn’t want to disclose too much information to their competitors. Zcash offered banks a way to transfer assets on these networks without revealing relevant information or compromising client confidentiality.
That’s where ING came up with a modified version called “zero-knowledge range proofs”, which can prove that a number is within a certain range without revealing exactly what that number is. This update uses less computational power and runs faster on a blockchain.
Coindesk: For example, zero-knowledge range proofs (which the bank open-sourced last year) can be used to prove that someone has a salary within the range needed to attain a mortgage without revealing the actual figure, said Mariana Gomez de la Villa, global head of ING’s blockchain program.
“It can be used to protect the denomination of a transaction, but still allowing validation that there’s enough money in the participant account to settle the transaction,” she said.
ING has revealed exclusively to Coindesk that they want to improve the zero-knowledge concept by introducing other types of data, besides numbers.
“Zero-knowledge set membership” will allow the prover to demonstrate that a secret belongs to a generic set of data, which can include any kind of information like names, addresses and locations.
“For example, imagine that you could validate that someone lives in a country that belongs to the European Union, without revealing which one.”
ING is a banking group from Netherlands with over 60 bln individual clients and 50 subsidiaries all over the world. It’s a massive step to see financial institutions enter the race to innovate the blockchain industry.