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Data Privacy for Decentralized Sharing Applications


Origin Protocol, a blockchain start-up that is building infrastructure for a new decentralized sharing economy, has announced that it is forming a technology partnership with NuCypher, a company that provides encryption technology to decentralized applications. In the future, sharing economy companies building on the Origin Protocol platform will have access to NuCypher data re-encryption technology, which is described as ‘HTTPS for Dapps’ and will allow for more complicated applications to be built completely decentralized.

Data security is a top concern at the moment as data silos have been shown to be compromised, resulting in massive leaks of private information or the manipulation of personal data to influence the outcome of political events. Many large companies worldwide have created their business empires from their ability to collect, silo, and analyse huge amounts of customer data. The subsequent monopolisation has creates a single point of failure for data security, in addition to unfair practices that take advantage of consumers such as price and market manipulation.

Blockchain has the ability to create a public ledger of data that is protected against hacking and manipulation. However, most of the data on blockchain platforms like Ethereum are publicly available for anyone to access. This presents an issue for applications that need to incorporate certain types of data that are needed to run an application, but shouldn’t necessarily be publicly available on the blockchain such as location or health data.

Origin’s platform will enable an ecosystem of blockchain-based sharing economy companies. Over 30 companies have already committed to building on the platform, from decentralized home-sharing companies to for-sale marketplaces to P2P car hiring services. To help encrypt and securely share key portions of data, the company has announced the technology partnership with NuCypher to optionally act as a privacy layer for certain types of data within applications on their platform. The NuCypher KMS product enables end-to-end encrypted data sharing and access control for data that exists on a decentralized storage system.

Co-founder of the Origin Protocol, Matthew Liu explained: “By integrating NuCypher technology into Origin we are offering more flexibility and greater control of sensitive data to our partner companies that are building on our platform. With Origin and blockchain technology in general, we are building infrastructure for a completely new, decentralized Internet economy. This is one of those steps that seems small, but is actually a huge development.”

NuCypher uses a proxy re-encryption method which means that neither itself or companies implementing its protocols have access to the private data that is being encrypted. By giving optional privacy access control to specific types of data, companies building on the Origin Protocol platform will then be able to create sharing economy applications that exist in a completely decentralised manner.

MacLane Wilkison, NuCypher CEO & co-founder, stated: “The majority of P2P marketplaces require some private information to be communicated between buyers and sellers, of varying levels of sensitivity. We’re looking forward to providing secure access control and data sharing to the many marketplaces building on the Origin Protocol.”


Matthew Warner
Based near Windsor, England, Matthew Warner is an enthusiast for innovative, cutting edge technologies. He is a B.Eng. graduate in engineering with honors from the University of Warwick and also holds an PGCE in education degree. Matthew is a member of Mensa.