Leo, trusted computing, and the World Bank; a translation of the recent statement by Song Bao (CEO of Manhattan Project Fund) on New Internet Yesterday.

Community Initiators:

Zhijun Zhang – Chief Information Security Architect, World Bank
Kevin Zhang – Senior Engineer, Silicon Valley
Feng Han – Cofounder of Elastos
Long Wang – Vice President of Tencent Cloud
Weimin Xin – Former MSN China CTO
Huabing Yan – Chief System Engineer, Huawei Intelligent Data and Storage
Yanqiang Shi – Founder & Chairman of BLOCK GLOBAL
Song Bao – CEO of Manhattan Project Fund
Xitao Wu – CEO of Red Brick Square
Jianing Yu – President of the Huobi University

In the era of the Internet and big data, individual privacy is constantly threatened. Whether it is personal social data, as with Facebook’s leakage of the data of 87 million users in 2016, resulting in a fine of 5 billion US dollars; or personal financial data, such as the loss of the data of 100 million Capital One customers due to a wrong setting of Amazon’s cloud service settings; and Equifax, one of the four largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, leaking the private data of 143 million Americans in 2018 which basically affects every adult in the United States.

The reason why data security-related events are emerging is that the value of data is being recognized; data is the oil and energy of the new era. People keep providing a variety of data to Internet giants like Alibaba, Facebook, and Google, which in turn collect and analyze the data and sells it. Facebook has 2.4 billion users worldwide, and their data has created a market value of more than 500 billion US dollars, but no single user directly benefits.

The founder of Elastos, Rong Chen, recognized the shortcomings of today’s Internet and operating systems in 2000. In the past 20 years, he has insisted on promoting a new Internet with safer and more reliable data (Modern Internet). The first step is to add the trust of the blockchain on to the operating systems that are already used, so everyone can have their privacy protected and own their data assets. 

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg was the first to launch a data privatization campaign (Future is Private) in the US after their data leak and $5 billion fine. The launch of the Libra digital currency sets off a wave of global data privatization. Tim Berners Lee, the father of the World Wide Web, also wants to change the World Wide Web he founded “to restore rightful ownership of data back to every web user.” 2020 US presidential candidate Andrew Yang also proposes Data As A Property Right.

A “data capitalization” era is coming; people’s consciousness is awakening, and we don’t want privacy to be violated. We have to take back ownership of our data which will be our secret code for wealth in the future.

The birth of any great era is accompanied by the large-scale application of great technology, and the era of “data capitalization” also needs the support of corresponding technology infrastructure. Based on our belief in the new Internet and data capitalization, we jointly launched LEO on Elastos’ Trusted Computing Community Program to promote the “data capitalization” campaign with practical measures.

Since the beginning of 2018, we have had in-depth discussions with large institutions and companies such as the World Bank and found that many of their application scenarios like the World Bank’s initiatives in poverty alleviation or medical assistance in third world countries require high standards of user privacy data protection. However, they have not found any suitable solution in the industry for processing personal privacy data.

Now, we need a complete set of trusted computing solutions that are user-friendly. We have established the LEO on Elastos Trusted Computing Open Source Community to promote the research, development, and industrialization of trusted computing technologies. Many members of the LEO community have been working in the field of trusted computing technology research for many years and some have begun to pilot related technologies for Tencent Cloud, the industry representative. 

At present, the technical solutions in the field of global trusted computing are mainly divided into two routes. One is pure cryptography, which is represented by MPC (Multi-Party Computing) and HE (Homomorphic Encryption). The advantages and disadvantages of a pure cryptography solution are obvious: its security feasibility is proven mathematically and does not rely on any hardware, avoiding the monopoly of certain companies on hardware technology.

Currently, several giants in China and abroad like Tencent, Alibaba, Google, and Microsoft are researching in this direction. Blockchain projects such as Algorand and Platon are also working in this direction. The shortcoming is that the computational efficiency is low by design. A task that takes one minute to calculate requires hundreds or even thousands of minutes to solve with such an algorithm currently. It is expected to take 10-20 years for extensive availability. 

The other route is cryptography + hardware, which is currently a mainstream solution to build a TEE (Trusted Execution Environment) on the CPU through hardware so that the computational efficiency is much higher than with pure cryptography. However, the solution relies on hardware. Foreign technology giants and blockchain projects such as Oasis Labs and Enigma are working hard on this method. Google also launched “Federated Learning”, which trains a shared neural network model for tens of millions of mobile phones.

The LEO on Elastos community is open and inclusive. It not only actively studies the above mentioned matured technical routes, but also proposes a set of trusted computing protocols—the Layer 2 protocol that combines the blockchain consensus mechanism and the hardware trusted computing environment. In terms of technical design, it attempts to extend security from software to hardware, from the core layer of the CPU to a wider range of IoT devices. The protocol also uses Elastos infrastructure. 

Among them, the Elastos blockchain provides the public account book as the root of trust for data. The Carrier acts as the peer-to-peer network and the transport layer for the security network. Runtime serves as the virtual machine operating system to provide the client with a trusted security environment. The protocol is compatible with a variety of existing trusted computing solutions and various trusted computing solutions can join the Carrier’s trusted network in the future. 

Our main job is to develop a safety consensus and credit scoring system for different uses. LEO uses hardware that is now available in the market, such as TPM chips found on every PC that has been produced for nearly a decade. At the P2P network level, we need to perform a trusted security upgrade of the existing Carrier to form a trusted computing subnet within it. Only nodes that meet the security requirements after being authenticated by remote attestation can join the subnet as a secure node.

The existing network infrastructure of Elastos can be directly used as the trusted computing infrastructure, and only a standard smart contract sidechain is needed. With the successful construction of the trusted computing sidechain and the trusted computing carrier subnet, a simplified version of the new consensus algorithm can be run inside the secure subnet in the future to achieve an efficient large-capacity consensus mechanism that breaks through the impossible blockchain triangle.

As hardware guarantees a high level of credibility, LEO will be widely used in various application scenarios, such as the financial sector, medical big data, government institutions, consumer data copyright protection, 5G, IoT, edge computing, digital media copyright protection, etc. Because the new consensus mechanism provides an efficient dApp runtime environment, it can greatly improve the user experience and application usage of existing dApps.

The LEO on Elastos Trusted Computing Community is based in Shenzhen, China, and strives to be a global open source community program. You are welcome to join our community. Dr. Angelos Stavrou, a professor of computer security at George Mason University, has become one of the major code contributors to LEO. The community will uphold the new Internet vision of Rong Chen, founder of Elastos, to protect our privacy and capitalize our data. This can enable everyone to generate wealth from their data.

Read our article on Elastos’ trusted computing project for more information.

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