Ever since the advent of blockchain, its transparency has been a double-edged sword. While this is often cited as one of the technology’s key advantages, it can be a weakness too, ruling it out for applications involving confidential data. Our lightpaper explains how we cracked the problem.
The Integritee lightpaper, now available to download, provides a concise, yet comprehensive overview of the project’s goals. Our unique network design combines the privacy of TEEs with the scalability of second-layer sidechains. This paves the way for a new era in which potentially sensitive data can be leveraged without compromising confidentiality.
As set out in the lightpaper, the fundamental goal of Integritee is to make it far easier for firms to create data-driven services that protect user data and foster consumer trust. This is clearly a pressing concern. Cybercrime is predicted to inflict damages totaling $6 trillion globally in 2021, with attackers going after the vast honeypots of data that have been created by centralized data services pervasive in the tech industry.
Blockchains can offer some protection against this vulnerability, by decentralizing computation and thereby providing no single point of attack. But most current blockchain solutions cannot provide confidentiality, and scaling up is a big problem as it usually reduces transaction speeds. Similarly, many of the privacy-preserving technologies currently on the market — such as multiparty computation, homomorphic encryption and differential privacy — have major limitations in terms of practical application. Trusted execution environments (TEEs), which provide a hardware-based method of preserving privacy, currently provide the best balance of security and usability for a wide range of applications.
A Powerful Hybrid of Polkadot and TEEs
The Integritee solution will combine TEEs with second-layer sidechains on a Polkadot parachain to create an interoperable, scalable and decentralized platform for processing sensitive data.
A TEE is a locked, isolated hardware component that not even the system administrator can access. Data can be stored and processed within a TEE according to predetermined rules, without the underlying dataset ever being exposed. The manufacturer of the TEE hardware allows remote attestation using a digital signature. This provides the user with assurance that they are connected to a genuine TEE.
Integritee proposes building a parachain on Polkadot that will maintain a registry of valid TEEs and allow users to connect with one securely, without the need to register with the device manufacturer for attestation services. Polkadot consists of the main Relay Chain, parachains and bridges. The main Relay Chain provides pooled security and interoperability for all participants. Parachains are heterogeneous blockchain shards that can be optimized for specific use cases. Finally, bridges allow parachains to connect externally to other major blockchain networks, such as Ethereum or Bitcoin, for example.
Together, TEEs and Polkadot provide a compelling confidential computing solution. With TEEs providing confidentiality, and our second-layer Polkadot sidechains enabling scalability and interoperability, Integritee serves as a genuine alternative to centralised data services that preserves user privacy by default.
Download the full lightpaper here to learn more about the technology behind Integritee’s confidential computing solution.