Crypto Asset NYM to Fuel Test of Tokenized Facebook Login Alternative

Privacy-focused Nym Technologies plans to launch a testnet this fall. Its identity system masks identifying user data across blockchains.

AccessTimeIconAug 21, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:21 a.m. UTC
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Privacy-focused Nym Technologies unveiled new code this week for its decentralized identity system. It's slated for testnet launch this fall.

On Tuesday at the Web3 Summit in Berlin, Nym CEO Harry Halpin said the technology represents "the next generation of privacy infrastructure" not just for blockchains but for the entire web. Indeed, one of the key features of the Nym network, according to Halpin, is that it is blockchain-agnostic.

“We’re open-sourcing our implementation, which has [built-in] communication with the ethereum blockchain,” said Halpin. “We’re allowing the value of particular tokens from the ethereum blockchain to be transformed into Nym credentials.”

If successful, the move could bring Nym's data-masking features to privacy-minded users of virtually any blockchain platform in the world.

In doing so, Halpin believes Nym can rival Facebook, and its single login application, Facebook Connect, to place user data privacy back into the hands of users.

“The briefest way to describe what Nym does with Coconut-enabled credentialing is it allows there to be a decentralized, privacy-preserving version of Facebook Connect,” said Halpin.


Outside of Nym’s interoperability with the ethereum blockchain, Halpin noted the code, written in the programming language Go, leverages a novel cryptographic signature scheme called Coconut.

“The novel thing about Coconut is that it provides privacy and decentralization that no other signature scheme provided thus far,” said Nym's lead developer, Jedrzej Stuczynski, adding:

“You can transform your [identity] credentials into something that is valid and perfectly able to use but in no way linkable back to what you already have.”

Coconut, according to Halpin, was originally developed by blockchain startup Chainspace before it was acquired in February by Facebook. Former employees of Chainspace who left before the Facebook acquisition – such as Chainspace co-founder Dave Hrycyszyn – have now joined Nym to help build its identity platform.

In addition, former investors in Chainspace such as Lemniscap and KR1 contributed to Nym’s private token sale in May, which raised $2.5 million.

“[Nym] ended up in the center of our venn diagram in terms of what technology we wanted to support,” said KR1 CEO George McDonaugh, adding:

“There are  lots of projects talking about privacy but ignoring the elephant in the room, which is the network layer. You can build privacy applications but unless they're built on a private network, you’re only going halfway. What Harry [Halpin] and his team are doing is ... using blockchains to incentivize and create network-level privacy.”

Nym Technologies CEO Harry Halpin speaks at Web3 Summit 2019 (photo by Christine Kim for CoinDesk)

Correction: Nym CEO Harry Halpin clarified lead developer Jedrzej Stuczynski studied under Chainspace co-founder George Danezis, but did not work for Chainspace directly. 


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