Systemization of Knowledge: ZK-Friendly Hash Functions

Published on: 
Oct 3, 2022


  • Soft intro to hashes in ZKP
  • Real-world use cases
  • Design patterns
  • Weirdest / Coolest names in cryptography literature


In this article we present a systematization of knowledge (SoK) on the usage of hash functions in Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKP’s).

Since ZKP’s operate on finite fields, traditional time-tested hash functions like SHA256 are unsuitable due to overhead in proving and verification of large number of bitwise operations.

ZK-friendly hash functions are optimized for modular arithmetic in a finite field which reduces the circuit complexity significantly. This has led to widespread deployment of these hash functions in production level systems.

That said, the ZK-friendly hash functions are relatively newer than the traditional hash functions, and are yet to undergo the test of time. Our main goal is to survey such ZK-friendly hash functions, and highlight their general use cases in ZKP’s.

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