Samsung SDS, the enterprise technology arm of the South Korean behemoth, is enhancing privacy on its Nexledger blockchain with zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs).
The company said Thursday it had formed a partnership with Israel-based QEDIT to record and authenticate the transfer of assets on a shared ledger without revealing underlying confidential information.
The step underscores one of the challenges facing companies adopting distributed ledger technology: broadcasting transactions to a network puts them at risk of exposing sensitive client data and tipping their hands to competitors.
Zero-knowledge proofs, a branch of cryptography that can authenticate data without revealing any details about it, are a common strategy for squaring this circle. Banks such as JPMorgan Chase and ING have used ZKPs in their blockchain forays.
The catch is that ZKPs often require considerable computing power and can gum up the works. But Samsung SDS says this one outperformed.
“The performance of QEDIT’s private asset transfer solution has been exemplary during the rigorous series of testing and trials we conducted," said Jeanie Hong, Senior Vice President, Leader of Blockchain Center at Samsung SDS, said in a statement. "The QEDIT team has consistently demonstrated the ability to horizontally scale ZKP cryptography in a blockchain environment.”
QEDIT co-founder and CEO Jonathan Rouach said his firm’s solution will be useful to Samsung SDS’s Nexledger in areas like banking and supply chain.
“Samsung SDS is very active in supply chain and insurance,” said Rouach. “For instance, Nexledger is used by an 18-bank blockchain consortium in Korea.”
Samsung SDS, which employs about 35,000, many of them software engineers, has been working in the enterprise blockchain space for several years.
While Samsung SDS' R&D is designed for business-to-business uses, and not the parent company’s mobile phone business, Rouach said the firm is “very interested in privacy-enhancing tech and ZKPs can, of course, be used in many contexts.”