Enigma aims to be a P2P network allowing for multiple different entities to collectively process computations performed on securely stored data sets. Maintaining the privacy of these data sets is one of the main objectives of this platform. According to the Enigma whitepaper, its “computational model is based on a highly optimized version of secure multi-party computation.” The whitepaper further notes that the “multi-party computation” is backed by a “verifiable secret-sharing scheme.”
In order to store confidential and shared information, a “modified distributed hashtable” is used. Management of the Enigma network is done via an external blockchain, which also monitors and controls access to the network, in addition to maintaining a “tamper-proof” events log. To incentivize platform users, network usage fees and and security deposits are collected.
Just like the Bitcoin network, and most other crypto platforms, Enigma eliminates the requirement of a trusted third-party, thus allowing for every network user to independently control their data. Moreover, the platform’s users can share data with other network participants in a cryptographically secure manner.
Data queries are processed in a distributed manner by allowing multiple network nodes to access only subsets of a data set, while also collectively computing functions based on inputs from the data set. Only nodes participating in the computation process of a particular data set are able to view the subsets of data assigned to each of them, and the computation related to them. Interestingly, all nodes participating to collectively process a particular data set are not able to derive information (data which has meaning) from what they’re computing as they only have access to “meaningless” data.
The Enigma Whitepaper At A Glance
The Enigma whitepaper states:
“Unlike blockchains, computations and data storage are not replicated by every node in the network. Only a small subset perform each computation over different parts of the data. The decreased redundancy in storage and computations enables more demanding computations.”
The whitepaper explains that workers in a company can share their salary information and the average of their salaries can be computed by the network, however, each worker would only be able to view their relative rank and the average salary of all the people, including themselves. No single worker would be able to view salary information of other workers. The whitepaper adds, “In practice, any program can be securely evaluated while maintaining the inputs a secret.”
Moreover, the Enigma developers say that once data has been shared on any of the existing blockchains, the process cannot be reversed, meaning the way that the data is used cannot be controlled. With this platform, this will no longer be a limitation, according to its architects.
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