NuCypher: Building Scalable Privacy in Blockchains

  • Episode 2

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MacLane Wilkison from NuCypher joined Zach DeWitt to talk about scalable privacy and data control in public blockchains.

A Y Combinator alumnus, NuCypher is proxy re-encryption for modern blockchain technology. That is, it allows a central controller to encrypt data held on public blockchain systems, like IPFS, using a public key, with the ability to generate special, private decryption keys to authorize access to others. It’s akin to public-key encryption, but much more scalable.

MacLane had a lot of great insights about blockchain data security:

Blockchains are transparent ledgers that will require data privacy tools

While the most well-known blockchain implementations are cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, there are a variety of uses for blockchains, such as decentralized online file storage. These use cases are attractive to lots of organizations, but they’ll need to ensure that the data can remain private in an otherwise transparent ledger before they can begin to use them.

NuCypher is an infrastructure-level protocol designed to help decentralized applications manage and protect important data sets

Through proxy re-encryption -- essentially a newer generation of public-key encryption, tailored to authorize access to multiple recipients -- NuCypher’s technology lets decentralized applications running on public blockchains to encrypt data on the ledger. Only those granted special decryption keys (which can even be revoked after the fact) will have access to the data.

Data privacy is critical to the growth of the industry

If blockchain developers want to grow their potential market, they’ll need to tackle the current infrastructural holes that prevents them from expanding. Incorporating data privacy at a fundamental level is key to that effort.

End-users won't see NuCypher under the hood, but seen by blockchain developers

A hospital using a decentralized application for patient data management isn’t going to be interested in learning the nitty-gritty of modern encryption technology. They’ll have the confidence that their data will be protected on the ledger, but developers will be able to understand how the system works.

Key takeaways:

  • Blockchains are transparent ledgers that will require data privacy tools to scale
  • NuCypher is an infrastructure-level protocol designed to help decentralized applications manage and protect important data sets
  • Data privacy is critical to the growth of the industry, and
  • End-users won't see NuCypher under the hood, but seen by blockchain developers
  • Host

    Zach DeWitt

  • Guests

    MacLane Wilkison

    NuCypher

  • Date

    May 8, 2018

  • Duration

    35 minutes