Kurt Nielson believes the combination of multi-party computation (MPC) and blockchain technology is a winner and Partisia Blockchain is the culmination of that vision.
Partisia Blockchain is a Web 3.0 platform built for trust, transparency and privacy. It is privacy, along with security, that have to be paramount if cryptocurrencies are to be adopted, and it is MPC and blockchain that will make it happen.
Mr. Nielson has been an economist for more than 15 years, and for him, the breakthrough occurred when he found a way to use MPC to solve for privacy concerns. Blockchain hooked him from the beginning, he admitted. Like MPC it is a distributed system and had solved issues related to consensus and privacy.
“We realized we were solving tasks they were solving but in a better way but they were solving privacy in a better way,” Mr. Nielson said. “There must be some kind of merger between these two technologies. That’s what kept us busy these last three or four years – merging these technologies.”
MPC is decentralized cryptography and solves for privacy in a fundamental way, Mr. Nielson said. A network of nodes are computing but in such a way that the individual nodes know nothing of the data they are computing on. It was like inventing a distributed computer that could work on encrypted data.
At the beginning even rudimentary calculations took painfully long, but thanks to many improvements systems are incredibly efficient. Blockchain serves as a type of state machine that keeps track of what is being shared among the many computing nodes.
“What is happening on the individual node is encrypted but the communication on what should happen is communicated through the blockchain,” Mr. Nielson said.
There are many exciting applications for Partisia, beginning with serving as the traditional market trustee like an auctioneer, Mr. Nielson said. That person analyzes bids, selects a winner and coordinates payment. Those processes can now be completed by software at a much faster pace.
Full analytics can also be performed on health care data while ensuring privacy. This can improve the quality and responsiveness of care. You will prevent a lot of diseases and injury if you can identify issues before hand. There are also research applications where companies in competition with each other can securely contribute important data to a great good without it being compromised.
The same principles can be applied to credit scoring. Competing financial institutions can access a larger pool of data to better score an applicant without sharing proprietary information. Such a system can also replace dark pools which sell off-exchange.
What Partisia Blockchain is doing is eliminating the middleman. They can also do that so the individual can benefit from the data economy instead of letting Facebook and Google hog all the profits.
“You can actually now keep control of your data from the very beginning and you can be part of the data economy and sell your data,” Mr. Nielson said.
That awareness of folks being able to monetize their data is likely higher in the EU than North America due the GDPR, Mr. Nielson suggested. The newest regulations include penalties and are aligned with anti-trust legislation.
“People on the street grasp that if you don’t pay for product you are part of the product,” Mr. Neilson said.
There are some interesting factors at play as these concepts occur, Mr. Nielson noted. While those aligning with crypto’s libertarian roots want complete anonymity that is unrealistic. There needs to be a way to include KYC procedures and track fraudulent behavior.
Partisia Blockchain keeps both sides happy.
“The point is you can do this without revealing the data, using MPC as well as other technologies that are doing more or less the same,” Mr. Nielson explained. “You can work on this data in ways that are not revealing and are still able to be worked on down to the single transaction if needed.”
“You can build all these things you know from the existing economy but maybe you can do it in a better way because now you can prevent data from being shared with participants in the system while still being used,” Mr. Nielson concluded. “It’s not just about new security measures that are solving for privacy in a new way. It is also a system that is opening up new ways of collaboration.”