MPC Alliance aims to elevate security and privacy of online services
13 November 2019 16:38 GMT

The MPC Alliance has launched as an association of parties with a shared interest in improving the security and privacy of our personal and professional data through the application of privacy preserving, secure multiparty computation (MPC).

Founding members of the alliance include: Curv, CYBAVO, Cybernetica, Enigma, Fireblocks, IJS Technologies, Insights Network, KeyTango, Offchain Labs, NuCypher, Partisia, Sepior, Unbound Tech, and ZenGo. The MPC Alliance was envisioned and initiated by Sepior, Unbound, and ZenGo. Alliance members represent a mix of developers of MPC-based products, and practitioners MPC- enhanced services.

They share a belief that MPC materially enhances the security and privacy of online services and that accelerating adoption will benefit the industry at large. MPC is applicable to a wide range of security and privacy use cases. One example is using MPC to protect the private keys used for generating a digital signature to approve transactions on public or permissioned blockchains.

According to a recent Gartner report, “There are wallet technologies that support user custody and recovery using a self-managed private key, but these are too cumbersome to use and most blockchain application operators will not impose them on their users. Nonetheless, hackers are succeeding at gaining access to these centrally maintained private user keys using age-old techniques, enabling them to gain unauthorized access to bank accounts and other organizational assets.

In addition, sometimes the threat arises internally from employees, especially in cryptocurrency organizations where vast amounts of money are stored and moved on a daily basis. This is particularly problematic because current implementations of key management — where private keys are centrally maintained — almost negate the benefits of secure cryptographic access that they enable. MPC addresses this significant problem using clever and secure mathematical algorithms that can sign transactions without the use of a private key at all. Multiple parties work together to execute a transaction based on a secure cryptographic operation.”

“MPC is a game changer for multiple reasons,” said Ivan Damgard, co-founder of Sepior, IACR fellow, and professor at Aarhus University. “For starters it provides the option to distribute trust, so that no one is entirely dependent on a single party that is subject to hacking or misbehavior. Distributing trust makes MPC-based systems inherently more secure and resilient.”

“And, it’s not just about improving security in legacy settings,” said Yehuda Lindell, co-founder and chief executive officer of Unbound Tech, and professor at Bar Ilan University. “It’s about unleashing service innovation through new security and privacy paradigms that are better aligned with today’s more distributed and increasingly collaborative services. Such services can provide more compelling user experiences and operational efficiencies with distributed trust.”