Concise Mercurial Vector Commitments and Independent Zero-Knowledge Sets with Short Proofs

Abstract

Introduced by Micali, Rabin and Kilian (MRK), the basic primitive of zero-knowledge sets (ZKS) allows a prover to commit to a secret set S so as to be able to prove statements such as x ∈ S or \(x \not\in S\) . Chase et al. showed that ZKS protocols are underlain by a cryptographic primitive termed mercurial commitment. A (trapdoor) mercurial commitment has two commitment procedures. At committing time, the committer can choose not to commit to a specific message and rather generate a dummy value which it will be able to softly open to any message without being able to completely open it. Hard commitments, on the other hand, can be hardly or softly opened to only one specific message. At Eurocrypt 2008, Catalano, Fiore and Messina (CFM) introduced an extension called trapdoor q-mercurial commitment (qTMC), which allows committing to a vector of q messages. These qTMC schemes are interesting since their openings w.r.t. specific vector positions can be short (ideally, the opening length should not depend on q), which provides zero-knowledge sets with much shorter proofs when such a commitment is combined with a Merkle tree of arity q. The CFM construction notably features short proofs of non-membership as it makes use of a qTMC scheme with short soft openings. A problem left open is that hard openings still have size O(q), which prevents proofs of membership from being as compact as those of non-membership. In this paper, we solve this open problem and describe a new qTMC scheme where hard and short position-wise openings, both, have constant size. We then show how our scheme is amenable to constructing independent zero-knowledge sets (i.e., ZKS’s that prevent adversaries from correlating their set to the sets of honest provers, as defined by Gennaro and Micali). Our solution retains the short proof property for this important primitive as well.