The Enigma project, which is developing a second-layer, off-chain network that aims to solve issues of scalability and privacy on public blockchains such as Ethereum, announced on Saturday (30 June 2018) that it had launched the initial version of its testnet.

The Enigma team believes that public blockchains, such as Ethereum, have two major problems:

  • Privacy (since data on the blockchain “accessible by anyone, making storing sensitive data impossible,” thereby restricting the range of useful decentralized apps that one can build.
  • Scalability (since on-chain computations are too slow and costly, hence making it impractical to store and compute over very large data sets).

The Enigma team tries to solve both of these problems by utilizing technology that “protects privacy of data while still allowing for computation over that data.” The Enigma protocol is based CEO and co-founder Guy Zyskind‘s graduate research work at MIT's Media Lab (whilst under supervision of Professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland). Enigma allows development of “secret” smart contracts, where “input data is kept hidden from nodes in the Enigma network that execute code.” The white paper for Engima was published in 2015.

According to the Enigma team’s blog post about the Testnet 1.0 release,

“The initial testnet release is a self-contained network which allows external developers to build their first secret contracts. This developer release provides a deployable Docker network that holds a simplified, containerized environment that also makes available multiple core components of the Enigma protocol. Developers are able to deploy secret contracts, and verify that these contracts are executed as intended.

Secret contracts operate by being executed in a retrofitted EVM running inside a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), based on Intel’s SGX technology. This supports out-of-the-box interoperability with Solidity, as well as the Ethereum network.”

The team also points out that

  • “Execute secret contracts outside of the Docker network. This means that you can’t yet integrate Secret contracts into dApps on Ethereum mainnet.”

  • “Access the “world state” (i.e. account information, storage, or account’s code). This will change in future releases.”

Enigma is currently is in the “Discovery”phase (goals: Secret Contracts 1.0, DApp data privacy, Ethereum integration) of its roadmap. The mainnet is expected to launch in a few months. 


Featured Image Credit: Enigma website