DZK Foundation Awarded Chainlink-Filecoin Joint Grant to Support zk-Rollup Research

In 2021, Chainlink and Filecoin launched a joint grant initiative to accelerate the development of hybrid smart contracts that combine Chainlink decentralized oracles and Filecoin decentralized storage. The joint grant initiative supports teams building and researching hybrid smart contract applications powered by tamper-proof file storage and universal connectivity. In essence, these co-sponsored grants are designed to help extend the Web3 stack beyond on-chain computation to include decentralized off-chain computation, data, and storage.

We are excited to announce that DZK Foundation, an early-stage organization with extensive experience in zero-knowledge proofs, has been selected to receive a Chainlink-Filecoin Joint Grant. This grant will support research into how zk-Rollups can prove that specific data has been stored on Filecoin using a Chainlink External Adapter.

Today, zk-Rollups are faced with the challenge of data availability, as putting data on a layer-1 chain like Ethereum is expensive. A decentralized storage network like Filecoin can reduce such costs while providing strong data availability guarantees. 

Ethereum and Filecoin can be connected in a decentralized manner using a Chainlink External Adapter, meaning Ethereum layer 2s can use zk-SNARKs to prove the status of information on the Filecoin network. Because Filecoin uses a number of cryptographic primitives that are challenging to integrate with zk-Rollups on Ethereum, DZK Foundation plans to conduct a pilot study to overcome these challenges. One technique that DZK Foundation is exploring is “ZK glue,” which allows different ZK algorithms to interoperate with each other. 

By supporting DZK Foundation’s work in exploring the technical design of Chainlink External Adapters in relation to zk-Rollups, this grant will ultimately help empower smart contract developers to seamlessly use Filecoin’s data storage network on Ethereum layer 2s. Developing a Chainlink External Adapter that supports interpolation between Ethereum layer 2s and Filecoin will dramatically reduce costs for users and therefore increase the demand for storage on the Filecoin network. By making it more affordable to leverage the security blockchains provide, new business use cases will emerge, ultimately helping to drive the entire blockchain space forward. 

DZK Foundation has extensive experience in implementing zero-knowledge proofs in the real world. DZK Foundation Co-Founder Weikeng Chen is a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley working on recursive composition of zero-knowledge proofs. He is also co-maintainer of the arkworks-rs library. 

Rami Akeela, DZK Foundation’s VP of Engineering, has received Ph.D.s from Santa Clara University and Lehigh University, respectively. He is working on hardware acceleration for zero-knowledge proofs and developing hardware-friendly zero-knowledge proofs.  

“We are excited to receive this Chainlink-Filecoin Joint Grant. Chainlink External Adapters offer an unparalleled solution for sharing data between different chains, and we are exploring using External Adapters to solve the data availability problem of zk-Rollups,” stated Weikeng Chen. “By making Web3 technologies more interoperable, we can drastically improve their scalability and support the growth of the entire decentralized ecosystem.”

Through the Chainlink Community Grants program, we look forward to continuing to empower Chainlink ecosystem teams and researchers who are both researching and building key tools and infrastructure that accelerate the development of hybrid smart contracts and secure oracle networks. We will continue supporting the community as a key driver of Chainlink’s rapid growth, because only together can we make hybrid smart contracts into the dominant form of digital agreement.

About the Chainlink Grant Program

If you want to learn more about the Grant Program, check out our blog post that further expands upon its goals and the criteria for submission. If you would like to participate in the Chainlink Grant Program, please apply here.

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