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What is a Computational Receipt?

When a method executes inside the RISC Zero zkVM, the zkVM produces a computational receipt along with the output.

The receipt serves as a cryptographic authentication that the given method was executed faithfully. In particular, the receipt includes a MethodID, which serves as an identifier for a particular computational method and a seal which indicates that the associated execution trace satisfies the rules of the RISC-V ISA.

By linking the MethodID to the asserted output of the computation, computational receipts offer a powerful new model for trust in software. The option to check a computational receipt opens the doors to the era of verifiable computing, where we use mathematics and science to bring trustable software into trustless environments.

For a more technical description of RISC Zero's receipts, see the Proof System Sequence Diagram, the Seal Construction Explainer and the STARKs reference page.