The privacy-focused Enigma Project (ENG) announced this evening a series of new partnerships, which they call ‘Launch Partners.’ These are eight other projects in crypto working on everything from fair data monetization to security to browser friendly and easy to use smart contracts that don’t require any knowledge of crypto to use.
Unlike many ‘partnerships’ in crypto, the partners are already working directly with Enigma developers to develop privacy and security improvements from the bottom up.
Privacy in the World of Distributed Data
Anyone can purchase some Monero (XMR) and be as confident in their anonymity as they would be using cash from their pocket, but when using the vast majority of cryptocurrencies, there is no such protection. Transactions are stored on the chain forever, whether we are talking about Bitcoin or Ethereum or most of the other coins. And there is another limitation here. Even the projects which do provide anonymity are focused on concealing holdings, and the movement of funds.
But when wanting to interact with something like smart contracts, all data that goes into the interaction are public. You are trusting not a centralized entity like a bank, but anyone and everyone who cares to scrape data from the blockchain.
While there is no doubt that more prominent and more complicated smart contacts are on their way, the main advantage of such contracts is that they execute predictably and reasonably, with no human involvement – except humans are perfectly capable of scraping all the data they want after the fact.
To use one of the Enigma team’s examples, you could set up a smart contract that provides loans on the blockchain. You would have to build into that smart contract some means of judging the applicant’s past behavior, the funds in their wallet, analyzing the long-term prospects of the collateral they offer up, etc., but these are all perfectly straightforward problems that are being worked on.
To take that smart contract up on its offers, though, you would have to tip your hand so to speak and make all the data the contract needs visible to anyone and everyone. Most blockchain projects in this manner offer worse functionality than centralized corporations, where you only have to trust one group of people with sensitive data.
And this is where the Enigma Project comes at privacy from a different angle. Enigma intends to offer anonymity not only for wallet states and transaction but with secret contracts, where users’ privacy can be preserved even when faced with more complicated interactions.
Which brings us to Enigma’s Launch Partners. These are other projects in crypto worthy of attention in their rights, and it speaks to the need Enigma is working to address that such disparate projects are allying themselves with the team.
Enigma is working with Ocean Protocol, a decentralized data exchange project to enable anonymous voting, integral to OP’s vision of quality assurance for private, resellable data. Datawallet and Datacoup similarly seek to give Internet users control of their personal information – through meta-analysis and scraping users’ social media accounts they will allow individuals to sell their data the same way Facebook sells it – with profits going to the user. Enigma is working with both projects to increase digital security, in particular by guarding against people creating false or stolen identities on the network, as well as in enabling meta-analysis of your data while keeping it safe and private.
Colendi brings us back to the ‘credit checks’ we mention when explaining the need for secret smart contracts – and Enigma is working with them precisely on how to allow users to give sensitive information to smart contracts without revealing it to the world.
2key are ‘reinventing the link’ as they call it, by fusing HTTP and smart contracts, allowing users to interact with blockchains and smart contracts without needing to know how they work. 2key are making use of Enigma’s tools and experience with data encryption to ensure smooth encryption and anonymity for sensitive data stored on the chain.
Eximchain, not entirely unlike Colendi, is working with Enigma to allow users to leverage their transaction history on the blockchain as business history, allowing them to get a fairer risk analysis from creditors.
We have ReBloc, who are building a decentralized real estate data marketplace, where Enigma will be helping to secure the authenticity of secret data being traded. And lastly, we have Portal Network, which is working with Enigma to enable secret auctions for PN’s Blockchain Name Service model.
Eight projects that span the gamut of crypto application. It will be fascinating to see what comes of these projects over the coming years – and what role of Enigma will ultimately play in the development of each, and in the development of the crypto space as a whole.