Enigma: Privacy on the Blockchain
As people around the world remain stunned by recent revelations of online privacy invasions from corporations and governments alike, a startup blockchain project offers an innovative value proposition and a glimmer of hope for digital privacy.
Enigma (ENG) is a nonprofit startup that recognizes that a privacy protocol is critical to transforming the social media space. Enigma’s goal is to solve blockchain’s two major issues of scalability and privacy. The project’s in-progress Enigma protocol turns smart contracts into “secret contracts” that hide inputted data from other nodes in the Enigma network.
Interested in Enigma? Here’s a quick rundown of the project:
Platform & Development
In short, Enigma’s main features include off-chain storage and privacy-enforcing computation. The distributed storage means data will be encrypted, private and linkable to the main blockchain. Off-chain storage helps address scalability and access to large amounts of data. Its multi-party computation will use advanced cryptography techniques to enable end-to-end secure decentralized applications.
An integral element of Engima’s private platform is its ‘Secret Contracts’, which expand on Ethereum smart contracts in both correctness and privacy. These contracts enable nodes to completely execute an application without being able to observe the user’s data or transactions. With these contracts, users and applications can effectively function within a totally secure environment.
One of Enigma’s foremost real-world applications is its data marketplace. A decentralized market for personal data would allow people to buy and sell their data but also ensure privacy. Unlike Facebook, which sells personal data access to advertisers who create micro-targeted ads, a decentralized data market would let people choose how to monetize and protect their data.
Other major platform applications include computations on genomic data, artificial intelligence on healthcare data, credit assessment and decentralized lending, as well as other sensitive data marketplaces.
Enigma is currently planning for a mainnet launch in Q3 2018 after its recent testnet launch in Q2 2018. In 2019, Enigma’s roadmap indicates its planning to improve upon its Secret Contracts, while also addressing scalability and chain independence.
Enigma was created by a team at MIT. Co-founder and CEO Guy Zyskind served as the CTO of three tech firms before working at Enigma. Chief Product Officer and co-founder Can Kisagun worked at McKinsey and co-founded Eximchain prior to Enigma. The team also boasts a number of talented software engineers, most with over ten years of experience.
Enigma (ENG) currently trades for $1.17 and has a market cap of ~$88 million with a circulating supply of 74,836,171 ENG and a total supply of 150,000,000 ENG. ENG is tradable on Binance, Bittrex, and Huobi, among other exchanges.
Many societal changes are required in order for Enigma to succeed in its ambitious goals. While Enigma’s primary value proposition — digital privacy — is enormously precious, external factors will affect its future potential. First, Western consumers and users, who have grown complacent about big tech’s data exploitation practices, need to collectively awaken and realize how companies like Facebook profit from their data. Second, the epiphany needs to translate into massive consumer demand for open-source privacy-focused services and privacy-enabling technologies. Finally, Enigma needs to effectively provide and maintain a next-generation decentralized social network that is actually user-friendly and easy for the average person to understand.
The Intel partnership and testnet release are bullish news for the project. Ultimately, whether Enigma’s grand project will succeed in the long run depends on people’s desire for privacy in the digital age.
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Disclaimer: This article’s author has cryptocurrency holdings that can be tracked here. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.