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Vitalik Buterin Supports ZK ‘Likes’ on Farcaster Following X’s Privacy Update

ByDayne Lee

May 24, 2024

Vitalik Buterin Supports ZK ‘Likes’ on Farcaster Following X’s Privacy Update

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has voiced his approval for a recent development on the decentralized social media platform Farcaster. The platform’s engineer, Haofei, announced that X will be privatizing “Likes,” a move that Buterin not only supported but suggested taking further by implementing zero-knowledge (ZK) likes.

Understanding Zero-Knowledge Likes

Buterin proposed that Farcaster should adopt zero-knowledge technology for likes to address preference falsification — where individuals misrepresent their true preferences due to social pressure or fear. Zero-knowledge proof, a cryptographic method, enables one party to prove the validity of a statement to another party without revealing any additional information. Applying this to likes would mean a user’s like on a post can be verified without disclosing their identity.

Buterin referenced the Zupoll tool, used in his conceptual pop-up city, Zuzalu, to explain how zero-knowledge technology could be utilized. Zupoll employs this technology for anonymous voting and polling, embodying principles of decentralization and cryptographic privacy. These principles, Buterin noted, are in line with Farcaster’s commitment to user privacy, censorship resistance, and autonomy, making zero-knowledge likes a fitting enhancement for the platform.

Haofei’s Rationale Behind Making Likes Private

In response to rumors about X making user likes private by default, Haofei confirmed the change, stating that public likes were promoting undesirable behavior. He highlighted how the visibility of likes could deter users from endorsing content deemed “edgy” for fear of public backlash or damage to their online persona. The new update will allow users to like posts anonymously, alleviating concerns over who might see their likes.

The community’s response to this announcement has been mixed. Some users suggested extending privacy beyond likes to other areas, such as who users follow. Conversely, entities like Wall Street Silver expressed skepticism about the need for such privacy measures.

Broader Implications and Buterin’s Other Initiatives

Outside his contributions to ZK technology, Buterin has been active in addressing other systemic issues within the blockchain ecosystem. He has proposed several solutions to mitigate the miner extracted value (MEV) problem, where validators manipulate transaction orders within a block to profit from arbitrage opportunities. This practice often leads to increased network congestion, higher gas fees, and greater slippage for traders. To counter this, Buterin has suggested implementing MEV minimization techniques, such as quarantine periods for transactions, inclusion lists, and reducing the operational requirements for running a node.

Buterin’s advocacy for zero-knowledge likes on Farcaster after X’s shift towards greater privacy represents a significant step towards more secure and user-centric social media interactions. As these technologies evolve, they could profoundly influence how social media platforms operate, emphasizing the protection of user data and personal preferences.

Buterin’s push for integrating advanced cryptographic solutions like zero-knowledge proofs into social media settings highlights his ongoing commitment to enhancing privacy and security within the digital landscape.

Featured image credit: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.

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