Enigma: ‘Keeping Data Completely Private’

BOSTONThe MIT media lab project Enigma is starting its beta of its blockchain-encrypted protocol. The peer-to-peer network allows computers to “jointly store and run computations on data while keeping the data completely private.” The system is claimed to be quite secure, offers complete autonomy over data, and removes the need for third-party arbitration.

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“Enigma is a decentralized computation platform with guaranteed privacy. Our goal is to enable developers to build ’privacy by design’, end-to-end decentralized applications, without a trusted third party.” Enigma White Paper

MIT Media LabPeople can now sign up for the Enigma beta pilot today, and the project will launch soon. There’s been quite a bit of anticipation for the project to begin from the day it was announced back in the summer of 2015. Companies, Banks, and financial institutions have been compromised, and have had data breached relentlessly over the course of this year.

Enigma will allow anyone or any organization to share data privately without the risk of malicious attacks or hacked information. The creators of the project — Oz Nathan, and Guy Zyskind — believe the blockchain can help security attacks and keep things private. They’ve built a supercomputer to do just that; Nathan explains to IBTimes UK, “Together we formed this decentralized super-computer and every computation is done between different participants in this network and in that way the actual data is never revealed to anyone.” Nathan tells the publication that the project was inspired by the Bitcoin technology and holds to its core foundations.

MIT Media LabCurrent operations of holding data typically involve a third-party, whereas Enigma uses an emulation of the information and encrypts it within many areas. The only people who have access to the information are key holders, much like the Bitcoin concept. The service will also offer analytics of the data stored, and users will be able to sell the content as well all without the need for arbitration. These concepts are kept completely private, and users can trust in the distributed protocol. The white paper details, “Off-chain nodes construct a distributed database. Each node has a distinct view of shares and encrypted data so that the computation process is guaranteed to be privacy-preserving and fault tolerant.” The use of Enigma the paper says enables developers to write “high-level” code where they can keep public information on the blockchain, and private data is stored off-chain through Enigma. The team explains this system will be a pioneering effort into this realm; they say:

“For the first time, users are able to share their data with cryptographic guarantees regarding their privacy.” — Enigma White Paper

MIT Media LabCan this protocol help fight data breaches and compromised security of private information? MIT’s media lab project sure thinks so, as it prepares its platform for the public to test. The white paper gives an example to the many attacks on private data this day in age that include “manipulation, surveillance, and frequent data breaches.” Enigma’s goal is to curb these acts by taking away the need for third-parties and trusting entirely on encryption.

Bitcoin.com will keep an eye on the MIT project as it develops. The great news is engineers and projects like Enigma are showing the world the idea is a strong possibility.

What do you think about the Enigma project? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of the MIT media lab & Enigma website