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zkBob FAQ

Frequently asked questions
General Questions
Privacy
Accounts and Addresses
Troubleshooting

Who should use zkBob?

Eligible users interested in private business transactions (salary payments, vendor payments etc) and people interested in cash-like transactions should consider zkBob. In the offline world, cash can be used for financial privacy. In the blockchain space, zk-based "digital cash" transactions can offer similar privacy.
Some users of zkBob may include:
  • Large cryptocurrency holders who want to protect their identity and reduce possible targeting by cyber criminals.
  • Individuals or groups who hold many identifying NFTs in their wallets and may want to make a transaction without exposing all of those details (ie communities/DAO/meetup participation etc).
  • Business owners who want to pay salaries in stablecoins without displaying amounts and receivers.
  • Business owners who do not want to divulge vendor addresses, prices they paid for items, or other business transactions that can put them at competitive risk.
  • DAOs or small businesses who want to pay salaries in stable tokens without revealing amount paid to every employee or member.
  • Everyday users who want a "digital cash" option to transfer and trade for goods and services with one another privately through a shielded pool.
  • Philanthropists who want to donate to causes anonymously.
  • Individuals interested in privacy, zksnarks, or novel auction mechanisms related to XP functionality.
Please refence the Compliance and Security page for additional information regarding zkBob usage.

Who should not use zkBob?

zkBob should not be used for any illegitimate or criminal activity. It should not be used in any way that violates any laws in the jurisdiction of the user, and should not be used by politically exposed individuals or associates of those individuals. Prior to using zkBob, you must acknowledge and accept these terms of usage:
  • If acting as an individual you are of legal age (as applicable in the jurisdiction where you live).
  • You are not a politically exposed person, that is, a person who is entrusted with any prominent public function, or a politically exposed person who has stepped down from that role.
  • You are not an immediate family member or close associate of a politically exposed person or a politically exposed person who has stepped down.
  • You are not engaged in money laundering or the financing of terrorism.
  • Your access to the application does not violate any rule, law, regulation or directive of the country of your residence and the jurisdiction in which you reside.
  • You have not been arrested or convicted of any offense or crime.
  • You are willing to provide and verify your identity upon request.

Is the code open-source?

The underlying code is open-source and anyone can deploy contracts, a relayer, and a cli to perform basic operations. The UI is not currently open-source to avoid simple clones. Source code is available here.

Who heads development and deployment?

zkBob is a decentralized, open-source application with a distributed & decentralized team and no centralized head of development. The app was initiated by the xDai research group in collaboration with ZeroPool and community support. zkBob is multichain and deployed on Polygon and Optimism.

Does zkBob work on mobile devices?

Yes! However, operations can take longer as Proof generation is resource intensive on many mobile devices. Ideally, we recommend using a desktop/laptop environment for zkBob, and we continue to optimize mobile for faster processing.

Why does zkBob use the BOB stablecoin?

zkBob was originally designed to use the BOB stablecoin. After v1 was complete, the protocol was opened up to additional pools including a USDC pool on Polygon and an ETH pool on Optimism. BOB is still available in the ecosystem, but not as used as it once was. For questions related to BOB, please see the BOB details page.

Do I need MATIC/ETH to pay for transactions?

No, all fees are paid in USDC with a stable $0.10(Polygon) or a stable dynamic (Optimism) fee per tx! This includes deposits into the protocol, transfers within zkBob, and withdrawals from the application.
Withdrawals from zkBob on Polygon will also result in a small amount of MATIC (Polygon) sent to the receiving address if certain criteria are met. To receive, the address must have a 0 balance, and the withdrawal amount must be 10 or more USDC. Note a faucet is not available on Optimism.

Where can I see zkBob stats?

zkBob dune analytics dashboard https://dune.com/zkbob/zkbob​ is a good place to start. zkBob is also supported by Defillama https://defillama.com/protocol/zkbob.​

Privacy

How long should I keep my tokens in a zkBob anonymity pool to increase privacy?

It depends on how large the pool set is and how much activity has happened since your deposit. Looking at the number of deposits since your deposit can provide a rough estimation of safety (though not complete because it does not account for transfers within the protocol). In general, waiting longer to withdraw (several days minimum) increases privacy. It is also useful to withdraw a different amount than the amount deposited to increase privacy.

Are deposits into zkBob and withdrawals from zkBob private?

Not completely, there is some information which is recorded on chain. It is transparent that an address interacted with the zkBob application and how much was deposited or withdrawn.
Deposits: When you deposit into zkBob, the 0x address on Polygon or Optimism you deposited from and how much of any tokenyou deposited into the zkBob protocol can be viewed in a block explorer. Example Transaction.
Deposit transaction from an EOA to the zkBob Pool
Withdrawals: When withdrawing to a regular 0x address on Polygon or Optimism, the address you withdrew to and amount withdrawn from the protocol can be viewed in a block explorer. Example Transaction.
Withdrawal transaction from the zkBob pool to an EOA.

Can the zkBob application be compromised and my information made available?

With zkproof transactions specific identifying information is never recorded (such as sender, receiver, and amount sent) so it is not possible to connect these bits of information within zkBob. However, there are other ways your information may be compromised. To maintain privacy, be aware of the following.
  • Secret phrase / private key discovery: Never write a secret phrase on any internet-connected device. Do not take a screenshot of it. Do not copy and paste it anywhere. Write it on a physical piece of paper and keep somewhere secure.
  • Ip-tracing: Internet service providers collect logs that can show all ip addresses that connected to an application, including zkBob.
  • Transaction inference: Depositing a specific amount of tokens and then withdrawing that exact amount (especially unconventional amounts in a short timeframe) can create a compelling case for connection. Withdrawing different amounts than deposit amounts, and maintaining funds in the pool for longer periods of time, increases privacy.
  • Address trail: Using the same generated zkAddress for transactions with many different parties creates a connection string which can compromise privacy. It is best to generate a new address for each transfer within the application.
  • Secure address messaging: When sending a generated address to another party, carefully choose the application you use (ie telegram, discord etc). It is best to choose a secure and private channel.
  • Withdrawals: When withdrawing from the application, sending to a newly generated address without a prior transaction history increases privacy.

What is Anonymity Set Awareness?

To maintain privacy it is advisable to keep funds in the anonymity set for some time and consider transferring/withdrawing different arbitrary amounts than deposited when performing transactions. These measures allow for additional pool entropy and make it more difficult to infer any transaction details.
Although internal transaction details are hidden, user privacy can be compromised when entering in or leaving the solution in cases when there is a small anonymity set.
Imagine you want to send money to Alice through zkBob. You decide to create a new account and deposit the exact necessary amount of tokens.
Alice also creates an account and provides her private address. You transfer funds to Alice and she makes a withdrawal transaction for all received tokens.
If you and Alice are the only active users of the zkBob solution, any neutral observer can infer your funds movement with a high degree of accuracy.
There are no time limits for funds withdrawal. It is recommended to keep funds inside the solution some extra time to increase the anonymity set and safeguard your privacy.

Accounts and Addresses

I made deposits to 1 zkAccount from multiple 0x addresses. Is information tying these deposits to a single zkAccount available in the on-chain data?

No. The only available information available is that the 0x addresses made a deposit for a specific amount of BOB into the zkBob app. Due to the zk proving mechanisms, zkAccount details are not revealed (only confirmation that the amount was deposited), and thus there is no public record of which zkAccount the funds were deposited to in zkBob.

Why are there multiple accounts?

There are 2 different types of accounts displayed in the interface. One is for transferring funds to and from zkBob (Wallet account) and the second is for transferring funds within zkBob (zkAccount).
Accounts: Wallet is not yet connected and user is not logged into their zkAccount
  1. 1.
    Wallet Account. This is a standard EOA (Externally owned address) you can connect to fund or withdraw from your zkAccount. It can also be used to generate a zkAccount using the private key from the EOA.
  2. 2.
    zkAccount. This is the shielded account where you can transact privately with other zkAccount holders. It is auto-named when created. More on zkAccounts.
MM wallet is connected and user has logged into zkAccount which is auto-named zkGerti

What is the difference between an account and an address?

-> Accounts are used to perform actions with zkBob. You may use an EOA wallet account to deposit or withdraw, and your zkBob account to initiate deposits, withdrawals, transfers, or view your transaction history.
-> Addresses are used for shielded token transfers between users in zkBob. Ideally, a new address is generated for each transfer. It is not possible to link different private addresses to one another or to the primary account. Only the account owner can confirm ownership. Each created address is encoded in base58 format.

I generated a new zkBob address, will my old one still work?

Yes, it will still work. You can generate as many addresses as you would like. Each one is encrypted and cannot be connected to one another or to the primary account except by the account owner, and each one will work indefinitely.

Troubleshooting

What if I lose my password?

It's ok. You can restore your account depending on how you created it. If you used a secret phrase to create, restore your account by entering your secret phrase. If you created your account using MM or WalletConnect, you can restore it by going through the create account process and signing the message using the same wallet address
Once restored, you will be asked to create a new password. The password is kept in local storage.

Why do I keep having to enter my password?

Encrypted data is stored in local storage for safety purposes. When the app is refreshed from the browser, the password is needed to decrypt the locally-stored account data. A built-in refresh function lets you update history and balance without needing to refresh the entire application. This is useful to view your current zkAccount state once a transaction has been processed on-chain.
The in-app refresh, located next to your zkAccount name, should be used rather than a 'hard refresh' to avoid password re-entry.

I'm getting a deposit error or cannot deposit

There are several applications that can interfere with zkBob. Some known ones include:

Why is my zkBob transaction taking almost a minute to process?

Several processes are required for a successful transaction. Proof generation takes place on the client side and typically takes 10 seconds or less. Transactions are then processed in parallel rather than sequentially through the relayer, which optimizes the zkBob application. However, once a transaction is submitted to the chain, timing can vary based on blockchain congestion, resulting in some longer transaction times.
For safety purposes and to prevent potential double-spend scenarios, the application waits until a transaction is confirmed before another transaction can be initiated.

I received a "Transaction was Rejected" error.

Likely your local state has been corrupted and you can either:
a) clear your current browser storage b) switch to a different browser, or c) connect to zkBob using incognito mode.
After choosing from the options above, reconnect to zkBob using your active MetaMask or WalletConnect account or your secret phrase and create a new password. Your old account should populate, and you can try the transaction again.
-> Instructions on clearing browser storage.
If the problem persists, contact the team via Telegram.

I can't connect to my zkBob account or I am stuck at "Updating Zero Pool State" or "Loading zkAccount."

If you are experiencing these issues on a mobile device please switch to a desktop/laptop. zkBob is currently not supported on mobile.
If you have entered the correct information but your account is not loading you can try clearing the cache and storage. Version updates can sometimes result in artifacts that must be cleared for the latest version to work.
Chrome / Firefox are the recommended browsers for the zkBob UI, the following are instructions for refreshing the zkBob app in Chrome. 1) Open the developer console. Ctrl Shift J (Windows) Cmd Option J (Mac)
or in the Chrome menu go to View -> Developer -> Developer Tools
2) With dev tools open, right click the reload symbol and select Empty Cache and Hard Reload.
If this doesn't fix the issue, proceed to clear site data. Note this process will clear all local storage and require you to reenter your secret phrase. If you do not have it your account information will be unrecoverable.

Clear Browser Storage

3) Right click the lock🔒 icon and select Site Settings.
4) Click the Clear Data button.
5) Restore your previous account with your secret phrase and create a new password to re-enter the application.
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