Blockchain Startup Enigma to Demo 'Secret Contracts' Privacy Tech

Enigma will conduct the first public demonstration of its "secret contracts" protocol, which revamps smart contracts to provide data privacy.

May 15, 2018 at 6:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:57 a.m. UTC

Enigma will conduct the first public demonstration of its privacy-oriented, blockchain-based protocol at CoinDesk's Consensus 2018 conference on Tuesday.

Former MIT researcher and Enigma co-founder and CEO Guy Zyskind first introduced the technology in 2015, seeking to rebuild the foundational layer of ethereum to address the blockchain's privacy-related shortcomings.

The protocol essentially allows nodes to compute using encrypted fragments of the smart contracts without having to decrypt them, which other blockchains cannot do. Dubbed "secret contracts," it also facilitates "coin mixing" – a tactic that obscures the original source of ether used within the protocol.

Likewise, it stands apart from other privacy-guarantee mechanisms like zk-SNARKs in which one party can prove its possession of information to another party without revealing the information or interacting with the other party. Enigma's protocol, on the other hand, uses a trusted execution environment in which the cryptography is relied upon for certainty and neither party has any information on their respective data inputs and outputs.

The company, which plans to launch its test network on June 15, claims that the data privacy furnished by the protocol is crucial for the widespread adoption of decentralized applications (dapps).

In particular, the tech can be utilized for use cases in industries like healthcare and finance that frequently handle sensitive data and must comply with legal measures like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Co-founder and chief product officer Can Kisagun added in a statement that "It also solves real-world problems with data sharing, data matching and other important, complex issues facing global organizations."

Because computations are done off-chain, Enigma argues that the protocol will also enable the use of dapps at a larger scale than current iterations – such as CryptoKitties, for example.

"With Enigma, decentralized applications will move from novelty to necessity," Kisagun claimed.

Enigma website image via Shutterstock

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