Nexus zkVM Overview

Nexus zkVM Overview

The Nexus Zero-Knowledge Virtual Machine (Nexus zkVM) is a general computing platform allowing programs to be executed in a verifiable way. The Nexus zkVM architecture has two main components: the Nexus Virtual Machine and the Nexus Proof System.

Being inspired by the RISC-V ISA [WLPA14] and the vnTinyRAM architecture [CGTV20], the Nexus VM can be easily translated from the RISC-V instruction set, for which a rich set of compilation tools already exists. As a result, the Nexus zkVM can easily support the verifiable execution of programs written in high-level programming languages such as Rust and C++. Support for other machine architectures such as EVM and Wasm can be provided through translation, emulation, or native execution.

The first iteration of the Nexus Virtual Machine provides support for circuits encoded in Rank-1 Constraint Satisfiability (R1CS). Future versions of the Nexus zkVM will provide support for user-defined circuits encoded in CCS [STW23], a modern encoding that simultaneously captures R1CS [GGPR13], Plonkish [GWC19; CBBZ23], and AIR [BBHR19; Sta21; BCKL22].


[BBHR19 (opens in a new tab)] Eli Ben-Sasson, Iddo Bentov, Yinon Horesh, and Michael Riabzev. “Scalable zero knowledge with no trusted setup”. In CRYPTO 2019.

[BCKL22 (opens in a new tab)] Eli Ben-Sasson, Dan Carmon, Swastik Kopparty, and David Levit. “Scalable and transparent proofs over all large fields, via elliptic curves”. In: Electronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity, Report. Vol. 110. 2022, p. 2022

[CGTV20 (opens in a new tab)] Eli Ben-Sasson Alessandro Chiesa, Daniel Genkin, Eran Tromer, and Madars Virza. “TinyRAM Architecture Specification v2. 000”. (2020)

[CBBZ23 (opens in a new tab)] Binyi Chen, Benedikt Bünz, Dan Boneh, and Zhenfei Zhang. “Hyperplonk: Plonk with linear-time prover and high-degree custom gates”. In EUROCRYPT 2023.

[GGPR13 (opens in a new tab)] Rosario Gennaro, Craig Gentry, Bryan Parno, and Mariana Raykova. “Quadratic span programs and succinct NIZKs without PCPs”. In EUROCRYPT 2013.

[GWC19 (opens in a new tab)] Ariel Gabizon, Zachary J Williamson, and Oana Ciobotaru. “Plonk: Permutations over lagrange-bases for oecumenical noninteractive arguments of knowledge”. In: Cryptology ePrint Archive (2019)

[Sta21 (opens in a new tab)] StarkWare. ethSTARK Documentation. Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/582.

[STW23 (opens in a new tab)] Srinath Setty, Justin Thaler, and Riad Wahby. “Customizable constraint systems for succinct arguments”. In: Cryptology ePrint Archive (2023)

[WLPA14 (opens in a new tab)] Andrew Waterman, Yunsup Lee, David A Patterson, and Krste Asanovic. “The RISC-V instruction set manual, volume I: User-level ISA, version 2.0”. In: EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley, Tech. Rep. UCB/EECS-2014-54 (2014)