Priyeshu Garg · 5 hours ago · 5 min read
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How Phala Network is bringing on-chain privacy to the Polkadot (DOT) ecosystem
The burgeoning Polkadot ecosystem is getting yet another huge use case to its ever-expanding suite of innovative products.
Privacy for transactions
The cryptocurrency space—far, far before its current form—started out with the ethos of financial inclusion and privacy. This meant transacting in a fully private, safe manner while still viewing all such transactions in a publicly accessible and immutable database, i.e. the blockchain.
Somewhere down the line, this use case lost prominence and the blockchain was opened up to much bigger implementations, such as (but not limited to), smart contract services, decentralized identities, oracles, tokenized assets, non-fungible token, art, and a plethora of other features.
Then came Ethereum, with its blockchain-as-an-operating system narrative that allowed developers to build their own use cases atop its blockchain. High-speed blockchains like Polkadot, Cardano, and others followed soon after.
But while the privacy narrative got lost somewhere among all that, a relatively new project is working in that regard on the Polkadot ecosystem. For the uninitiated, Polkadot is among the top ten cryptocurrencies of the world by market cap, providing economic scalability by enabling a common set of validators to secure multiple blockchains.
Ethereum is a one-size-fits-all chain. This doesn't work at scale.
Dev teams use @Polkadot's Substrate framework to build custom chains for a specific use/vertical, such as @AcalaNetwork for DeFi, @PhalaNetwork for Privacy, @chainlink for Oracles, or @hydra_dx for liquidity.
— Dan Reecer 🕊⚪️ (@danreecer_) January 17, 2021
And bringing privacy to it is the Phala Network, whose founders say is the first confidential smart contract network built on Substrate that aims to provide confidential computation and data protection services for enterprises and users.
The project would serve the whole Polkadot ecosystem as one of the Polkadot parachains, or projects that are commissioned by and run atop Polkadot to better the entire ecosystem.
Benefits of Phala
Phala’s two products are the pLIBRA and Web3 Analytics. The former is a confidential computation component built for Libra granted by Web3 foundation (as per a blog in March 2020) while the latter is a tool that analyzes user data and output results without invading personal privacy.
More use cases would be added to and unveiled on the network as it grows to serve more people and their communities.
In terms of technology, Phala applies a Trusted Environment Execution (TEE) design that allows confidential data to run in an isolated and private environment and outputs results alone with authorization.
Can you imagine Kusama without privacy? https://t.co/4ThFTRf2p9
— Phala Network (@PhalaNetwork) January 21, 2021
This allows for two separate, distinct organizations to share sensitive data with one other without worrying about a potential data leak.
Another benefit of Phala is its interoperability features that would allow any two blockchains to interact with each other in a private manner (a difficult problem to solve).
As of today, the Phala Network’s PHA token has a 1 billion supply, and its mainnet was released last year. It has a market cap of over $41 million, and its current circulating supply is 142 million (subject to change as token lockups are released).