Privacy and scalability are arguably the most challenging issues blockchains face. Scalable privacy-preserving state machines are inherently difficult. While cryptocurrencies like Zcash have proven trustworthy for simple transactions, privacy in smart contract platforms is an entirely different animal.

We’re joined by Guy Zyskind, CEO of Enigma, a platform for scalable decentralized apps which preserves privacy. The Enigma network treats Ethereum smart contracts as “secret contracts” and can perform computations on encrypted data. Inputs are broken into pieces and distributed to network nodes which perform computations on a segment of the full data. Once returned to the Ethreum chain, data is reassembled and may be decrypted to reveal the result. Leveraging secure multi-party computation and Trusted Execution Environments (TEE), Enigma prevents a malicious actor from gaining access to the input data and the computation results.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Guy’s background and secure computation research at MIT
  • The different approaches to privacy preservation in computing
  • The different multi-party computations methods and how they work
  • Fully Homomorphic Encryption in the context of MPC
  • How Enigma would preserve privacy for a simple application like tallying votes
  • How Enigma reads encrypted data from the Ethereum network and leverages Trusted Execution Environments to perform computations
  • How developers build smart contracts which use Enigma
  • The role of the Enigma token as an incentive mechanism
  • How Enigma ensures network availability by penalizing nodes which go offline
  • The current state of the project and upcoming milestones

Episode links:

This episode is hosted by Sébastien Couture and Sunny Aggarwal. Show notes and listening options: