Enigma CEO Guy Zyskind demonstrated the Enigma protocol live at the Consensus 2018 conference in New York.
He began his speech by discussing the merits of decentralised applications, stating that ‘decentralised application can succeed where centralised applications have failed us’. He outlined how he believed a centralised point of trust to culminate in a decentralised point of failure. In terms of scalability, storing data on machines is slow so crypto traders and users of blockchain apps have taken to placing their data ‘off-chain’ according to Zyskind. People take decentralised apps’ data and put it ‘off-chain’. This simply disguises the centralised application as a decentralised one.
He outlined how he believed that privacy is a technical term, stating that ‘without data privacy we don’t have decentralised applications’. He then described secret contracts before demonstrating the Enigma protocol. Enigma’s blockchain protocol which allows it to run computations over encrypted data. Secret contracts are actually smart contracts but even the nodes can not see what they are operating on. Secret contracts can handle personal data, allow the collaboration of data between corporations and companies can reduce liability induced by the release of sensitive data.
Zyskind demonstrated secret contracts working with a coin mixer. Coin mixers pool different user’s coins and distribute them to people for purposes of anonymity. With Enigma, you can build a coin mixer with a secret contract, allowing the mixing of coins without a centralised coin mixer. He demonstrated this by using two ETH coins to mix them anonymously using the Enigma protocol.