This article was first published on Insights – Ripple
Technology users have grown accustomed to selecting a preferred device or software and then investing heavily in its supporting branded ecosystem. But for blockchain proponents, like Stanford Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Dan Boneh, blockchain is a refreshing change because as an open source technology it remains accessible to the community.
However, even in a sector where he says, “nothing is proprietary,” there is a need for privacy. Much of Professor Boneh’s work with Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) has touched on new applications that ensure transactions can be private, while the blockchain remains open, trusted and verifiable.
Blockchain as an Outlet for Cryptography in Application
As the head of Stanford University’s Applied Cryptography Group and co-director of its Computer Security Lab, Professor Boneh’s research focuses on applications of cryptography for computer security. The author of more than a hundred publications in the field and a Packard and Alfred P. Sloan fellow, he has won numerous awards over the course of his career.
He is quick to make the point that cryptography predates blockchain by centuries. But during his early career in the field, cryptography had been lacking a way to effectively deploy its advanced techniques into mainstream applications. He is enamored of the massive audience now interested in blockchain, and its appetite for using advanced cryptographic techniques in application to real world issues.
One of the early blockchain challenges that intrigued Professor Boneh was how a cryptographic exchange could prove solvency, or that it holds more assets than obligations. The hurdle being the ability to prove this without revealing the assets to the world. The solution was the use of a zero-knowledge proof.
Similarly, he was fascinated by the opportunity to reduce the amount of data on the blockchain without ...
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