Introducing Ingonyama

Lowering the Barrier of Entry to ZKP

5 min readAug 7, 2022

Ingonyama means Lion (in Zulu)

We are a next-generation semiconductor collective, designing accelerators for advanced cryptography.

Our mission is to lead the pack, forging the bedrock upon which applications requiring Zero Knowledge Proof performance can be built at greater speed and scale.

At Ingonyama we hunger for ambitious breakthroughs, rely on teamwork and collaboration to succeed, and build on communal achievements. We are working to redesign the hardware layer to improve the cost and energy efficiency for Zero Knowledge applications.

The Adoption of ZKP

It is increasingly evident that Web3 will be the backend for future financial and Metaverse environments. These markets show increasing reliance on, and hunger for, Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs) to achieve both secure scaling and user privacy. The higher the demands for scaling of blockchain networks and the more complex the code running on top of them, the more ZKP computation presents a persistent constraint on users.

Cryptography has high computational demands that require increased use of specialized hardware acceleration. Creating a more cost effective base layer of Zero Knowledge Proofs is key to their widespread adoption.

The ramifications of accessible ZKP will be game-changing. Zero Knowledge processing will revolutionize a multitude of industries, from blockchains and the financial and insurance industries, to gaming, the Metaverse, and decentralized identity, to reinventing how personal, medical, and other sensitive data is shared across the web.

As the technology becomes accessible, many more applications leveraging ZKP will emerge as new builders create markets and service their communities. This presents Ingonyama a unique opportunity to be the difference-maker across a spectrum of use cases as we work to make Zero Knowledge Proofs inexpensive, accessible, and fast.

Ingonyama means Innovation

Today, developers working on secure computing algorithms and Zero Knowledge Proofs have limited options for tools and programs. A ‘Level 1’ Zero Knowledge hardware is the foundational layer of critical infrastructure necessary to build a verifiable compute software stack.

Verifiable Computation enables programs to delegate processing to untrusted environments, and then verify the correctness of the returned results, all with greater efficiency than performing the computation itself. This has major ramifications for decentralized applications, privacy preservation, and security.

A small number of talented teams and developers are bootstrapping the Zero Knowledge ecosystem today. Purpose-built hardware will make the difference in lowering the barrier to entry.

Lions Lead the Way

As general purpose CPUs are pushed to their limits, the demand for faster computation and lowered cost is only increasing. Hardware acceleration enables applications to offload certain computing tasks to specialized hardware, dramatically improving their speed and capability.

GPUs, FPGAs and ASICs are types of accelerators that enhance processing power according to their purpose and design.

Much of our research takes advantage of FPGA conveniences to develop proofs of concept related to ZK protocols. However, for many of the problems we aim to solve, FPGA architecture becomes the bottleneck.

We believe that Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) will ultimately emerge as the most suitable hardware for implementation of Zero Knowledge algorithms due to their superior performance related to power consumption, throughput, and latency.

At Ingonyama we develop original chip designs, collaborate with teams working on cryptographic implementation, and experiment with ZK compute problems including MSM and NTT acceleration.

A number of factors set Ingonyama apart from traditional semiconductor outfits:

Developer First Mindset

Ingonyama is a team of developers, engineers, and researchers, building for developers. The technology stack accompanying Ingonyama accelerators will enable programmers to build applications of increasing complexity while exploiting the privacy and scalability that ZKP facilitates.

At the same time, Ingonyama is an organization with roadmapped plans. Not every application, project or idea requires on-premise, dedicated hardware. Zero Knowledge cloud computing is on the horizon, allowing developers to spin up an instance of ZK computation at fractional cost and on-tap demand.


Perhaps our greatest differentiator is a commitment to release Ingonyama research to the public. Planting trees of learning grows a forest of knowledge. Delivering original, advanced cryptography to the world gives public access and encourages examination.

By inviting scrutiny, the community around open source cryptography has the power to provide analysis, feedback, and opportunities for collaboration. Releasing original cryptography, math, and infrastructure research also invites merciless attack, making our efforts more robust and secure.

Collaboration on Tap

Rarely do innovators build in a vacuum. Community and feedback are paramount in cutting-edge fields like cryptographic engineering. Along with in-house chip design, we seek like-minded teams and researchers with whom to work in partnership and develop projects.

We also recognize the path to becoming an industry leader is rarely linear. Collaboration and community are water and sunlight that nurture an environment of discovery. Together we are stronger, collectively pushing the boundaries of humanity toward a world of increased data security, scalability, and social sovereignty.

Ingonyama’s greatest resource is our team. We are a multidisciplinary group of engineers, cryptographers, chip designers, innovators and explorers focused on finding and improving bottlenecks related to cryptography.

We believe a community-led approach to advancing Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKP) and other modern cryptography such as Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) and Multi Party Computation (MPC) is the best way to realize progress.


Ingonyama was conceived, designed, and built with a focus on coupling hardware, software, and mathematics. Taking a cryptography-first approach to circuitry design makes us a rarity. By leveraging world class R&D, we advance both the hardware-specific algorithms and semiconductors in tandem.

Innovating an industry of infinite implementation

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Latest work: PipeMSM: Hardware Acceleration for Multi-Scalar Multiplication

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Ingonyama means Lion. We are a next-generation semiconductor company, designing accelerators for Zero Knowledge cryptography.