Announced end of October on the FileCoin blog, the Filecoin trusted ceremony allowed anyone to register and participate in establishing the trusted parameters for the zk-SNARKs used in FileCoin.
zk-SNARKs, or zero-knowledge Succint Arguments of Knowledge, are a cryptographic tool allowing a party to prove knowledge of something without revealing it. In a simple form, it can be viewed as proving you know a correct password without revealing to anyone. In a more complicated form, it can be to prove that you know the correct algorithm leading to a result, without revealing the algorithm itself.
zk-SNARKs can be used to aggregate transactions together, as proposed last year on the Ethereum research forum, to achieve massive increase in transaction output, reaching potentially 15,000 TPS.
The requirements for participants, after registering and being accepted, were about 100 GB of disk space, 16 GB memory and a powerful enough processor: with a last genration AM Ryzen processor, generation time would have been around 3 minutes, meaning much much more with a regular CPU, especially a bit older.
The goal of the ceremony is to generate the parameters for the zk-SNARKs, which ustn’t be leaked or it would allow anyone to fake proof on the FileCoin blockchain. The trusted ceremony means bringing together a large number of participants, therefore getting people to trust that those parameters were not kept by the founders but discarded after use, making fake proofs impossible. It was first pioneered by ZCash, who is behind the technology FileCoin uses.