Limits on the power of zero-knowledge proofs in cryptographic constructions

Zvika Brakerski, Jonathan Katz, Gil Segev, Arkady Yerukhimovich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


For over 20 years, black-box impossibility results have been used to argue the infeasibility of constructing certain cryptographic primitives (e.g., key agreement) from others (e.g., one-way functions). A widely recognized limitation of such impossibility results, however, is that they say nothing about the usefulness of (known) nonblack-box techniques. This is unsatisfying, as we would at least like to rule out constructions using the set of techniques we have at our disposal. With this motivation in mind, we suggest a new framework for black-box constructions that encompasses constructions with a nonblack-box flavor: specifically, those that rely on zero-knowledge proofs relative to some oracle. We show that our framework is powerful enough to capture the Naor-Yung/Sahai paradigm for building a (shielding) CCA-secure public-key encryption scheme from a CPA-secure one, something ruled out by prior black-box separation results. On the other hand, we show that several black-box impossibility results still hold even in a setting that allows for zero-knowledge proofs.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationTheory of Cryptography - 8th Theory of Cryptography Conference, TCC 2011, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9783642195709
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event8th Theory of Cryptography Conference, TCC 2011 - Providence, RI, United States
Duration: 28 Mar 201130 Mar 2011

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume6597 LNCS


Conference8th Theory of Cryptography Conference, TCC 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityProvidence, RI

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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