Why Is Enigma Teaming Up With Intel?
The Enigma Project has announced a major partnership with Intel, which could bring more visibility and credibility to the 82nd largest cryptocurrency. Enigma will use Intel’s Software Guard Extensions(SGX) to create privacy-centric “secret contracts.” The partnership was highlighted in a keynote at Cyber Week 2018 in Tel Aviv.
In a press release accompanying the announcement, the two companies stated that the would research “advance development of privacy preserving computation technologies.” According to the release, Enigma is preparing private smart contracts for the Ethereum blockchain using Intel’s SGX, “that protects data and code through the use of enclaves that are protected areas of execution in memory.”
“Enigma’s vision is making decentralized technologies work at scale, and in these critical early stages of the industry it is important to work with the best partners and technology,” said Guy Zyskind, CEO and co-founder of Enigma, in a statement. “We are excited to collaborate with Intel to advance privacy technology and protocols on public blockchains.”
“Enigma has developed a unique privacy protocol that uses Intel SGX to protect data, while allowing computation over the data,” explained Rick Echevarria, Vice President of Intel’s Software and Services Group, in an editorial published on Intel’s website. “In our collaboration, we’ll work together to integrate this functionality for private smart contracts on the Ethereum public ledger.”
What are “Secret Contracts?”
This may sound esoteric, and it’s common for newcomers to mistake crypto-jargon for witchcraft. But before we get ready to burn Enigma at the stake, it’s worth taking some time to understand what privacy means for a dApp platform.
So far decentralized apps have done all their math in public—you send some numbers to a smart contract address, which sends back some numbers in return, all of which can be verified by anyone with a blockchain explorer.
But this situation is not optimal, especially if dApps are to become as influential and sophisticated as Nick Szabo believes. It’s one thing to trade money on a decentralized exchange, but sharing in sensitive data in plein air is quite another. Most of casual users would rightly hesitate to use a dApp that interacted with their medical records or credit history.
Moreover, it also creates problems of scaling: it’s somewhat superfluous to have each of Ethereum’s 27,000 nodes checking the same math to verify that you have a cat.
The MIT-based Enigma Project attempts to solve both of those problems via secure computation, an area of mathematics that allows calculations on encrypted data. According to the project’s roadmap, Enigma’s first network will introduce Ethereum-based secret contracts later this month. An independent Enigma blockchain is scheduled for later release.
This is not Intel’s first foray into blockchain technology, either. Last month, three Israeli trading companies used Intel technology to develop a blockchain-based securities trading platform. Earlier this month, the tech giant joined SAP in a blockchain consortium.
Note: This article is about the Enigma Project(ENG), sometimes shortened to “Enigma” for readability. It should not be mistaken for the other Enigma(XNG)
Disclaimer: The author is not invested in the Enigma project, but he is invested in Ethereum.