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ZK Rust Language (ZKRust)

ZK-Rust is the main tool for writing Zero-Knowledge Computations for Partisia Blockchain. ZK-Rust resembles Rust in syntax, with a restricted feature set, and an alternative standard library tailored for Partisia Blockchain.

Further reading:


Zk-Rust's most significant difference from Rust, is it's support for representing Secret-shared values, the basic building blocks for writing Zero-knowledge computations. This secret-sharing support extends from new syntax to types to runtime behaviour.

Secret-shared integers

The secret-sharing supported in Zk-Rust is an alternative method of representing integers. This representation is used when working with the Sbi types (Sbi1, Sbi8, Sbi16, etc.,) which stands for "Secret-shared Binary Integer". These types are fully fledged integer types, supporting a variety of infix operations (+, -, ^, |, etc.) All of these operations are performed through secret-sharing, ensuring that the result is itself secret-shared:

use pbc_zk::Sbi32;

pub fn my_computation() -> Sbi32 {
    let public_1: i32 = 93
    let secret_1: Sbi32 = Sbi32::from(public_1);
    let secret_2: Sbi32 = Sbi32::from(231);
    let secret_3: Sbi32 = secret_1 + secret_2;
    secret_3 * Sbi32::from(2)

As seen above, secrecy is contagious: All operations involving a secret-shared type produces a new secret-shared type.

This comes from the more general rule that it must be impossible to learn any secret information at the public level, a kind of rule known as Information Flow Control (IFC). The secret-sharing IFC rule is enforced by The Partisia Blockchain, which prevents leakage of sensitive information.

The following program will not compile, for example:

use pbc_zk::Sbi32;

pub fn my_computation() -> i32 {
    let secret_1: Sbi32 = Sbi32::from(93);
    let secret_2: Sbi32 = Sbi32::from(231);
    let declassify: i32 = secret_1 + secret_2; // !! cannot assign secret to public variable!
    declassify * 2

New SbiN values can be created from public integers using SbiN::from(iN).

Secret Branching

As we've seen above, the operations available on Sbi is constrained, due to IFS. Another situation where Secret-shared values are less flexible than their public counterparts is when branching.

Consider for example:

use pbc_zk::Sbi32;

pub fn my_computation() -> i32 {
    let secret: Sbi32 = ...;
    let mut public: i32 = 9;
    if secret == Sbi32::from(4) {
        public = 5;  // !! Cannot assign secret to public variable!

The above program is disallowed by ZkRust, because it is trying to assign to a public value while braching upon a secret. This is clearly a break of IFC, as the value of public after the branch would be based upon the value of secret, which again is a break of IFC.

It is possible to assign secrets in secret-braches:

use pbc_zk::Sbi32;

pub fn my_computation() -> Sbi32 {
    let secret: Sbi32 = ...;
    let mut secret_2: Sbi32 = Sbi32::from(9);
    if secret == Sbi32::from(4) {
        secret_2 = Sbi32::from(5);

Here the assignment is allowed, as there is no declassification. Note though that this branch is compiled differently from public branches, and might result in some performance overhead.

Secret variables

Each contract possess a list of secret variables. These variables possess:

  • A unique id.
  • Secret data, secret-shared between contract's computation nodes. Loadable in the computation by load_sbi::<S: SecretBinary>(id: i32): S.
  • Public information called metadata. Loadable in the computation by load_metadata::<T: Public>(id: i32): T.
  • An owner (blockchain account), who uploaded the variable, or in the case of computation outputs, the contract itself. This information is not available for zk-computation.

Contract users can add new variables (called inputs at this point) by invoking the contract's #[zk_on_secret_input]. Variables can additionally be created as the result of running a computation. The public part of the ZK-contract is responsible for managing the variables, including opening (revealing the output of a computation) and deleting them.

Variable ids can be iterated by calling pbc_zk::secret_variable_ids(): Iter<i32>:

use pbc_zk::{Sbi32, secret_variable_ids, load_sbi};

pub fn sum_all_variables() -> Sbi32 {
    let mut sum = Sbi32::from(0);
    for variable_id in secret_variable_ids() {
        sum = sum + load_sbi::<Sbi32>(variable_id);

Type Structures

Rust's struct keyword is supported for creating structure types. These structs can either contain purely public types, or purely secret-shared types.

use pbc_zk::{Sbi16, SecretBinary};

// public
struct SomeData {
    uid: i64,
    info: i32,

struct Point {
    x: Sbi16,
    y: Sbi16,

struct Triangle {
    x: Point,
    y: Point,
    z: Point,

Types with #[derive(SecretBinary)] implements the SecretBinary trait, allowing them to be loaded using the load_sbi function. Note that variables does not possess explicit types, and can be loaded as any type of equal or fewer bits. For example, let's say variable with id 42 has 64 bits of data. This variable can be loaded using any of the following, producing different values for each:

  • load_sbi::<Sbi32>(42), due to 32 <= 64.
  • load_sbi::<Sbi64>(42), due to 64 <= 64.
  • load_sbi::<Point>(42), due to 16 + 16 <= 64.

Attempting to load variable 42 as Triangle would result in a runtime exception, as it would attempt to load (16 + 16)*3 = 96 bits, which variable 42 cannot provide.


As shown in the previous examples, it is possible to import functions and data structures from the pbc_zk module. See Zero-knowledge Language Reference for what is available.