PlatON Algorithm Scientist Dr. Xiang Xie: Privacy-Preserving Computation is the Only Solution for Privacy Disclosure

PlatON Network
6 min readMar 26, 2020

On Mar.25, 2020, PlatON Algorithm Scientist Dr. Xiang Xie joined in TokenInsight’s AMA as the special guest to talk about the solution that privacy-preserving computation provides for privacy disclosure issues and shared the latest development of PlatON’s privacy-preserving computation.

How Do You Think about the Recent Privacy Disclosure Issue of Sina Weibo?

Dr. Xie: Truth be told, many internet firms collect and even use data privacy for illegal profit without the permissions from users, and there are potential risks of privacy disclosure issues under incorrect operation and management undoubtedly.

The conflict between the business model of traditional internet giants and the privacy protection of users can’t not be ignored and that’s what we wish to avoid in our new architect; Besides, the centralized model of internet is highly-effective and high-performing in the organization management and business processing, while brings the risk of privacy disclosure. Sina Weibo’s privacy disclosure event is resulted from the private data management issues.

The information disclosure issues won’t be solved by technologies or innovative architecture completely, but by distributed architectures to protect all data instead. Data protection is totally different from data storage. Thus, privacy-preserving computation, in my opinion, is the only solution for stopping the data privacy from being leaked, and also the first vision of PlatON.

In Your Opinion, Whether If PlatON’s Technologies Can Solve the Data Scandal of Top Platforms from a Technical Standpoint?

Dr. Xie: Privacy disclosure issues happen when applying data, and PlatON’s privacy-preserving computation aims at protecting data privacy in data circulation.

With cryptography technologies applied and integrated in PlatON’s privacy-preserving computation, the possibilities of information leakage from hackers have been reduced to the great extent.

PlatON serves as a blockchain-based infrastructure for distributed economies to provide support for upper-layer economic activities; and a privacy-preserving computation solution provider to protect the data privacy in the data circulation. Thus, we aim at building a completely digitalized distributed infrastructure with long-term investment and efforts, and completing it with all talented developers worldwide.

How Do You Think about Blockchain’s Role in Privacy-Preserving Computation?

Dr. Xie: Blockchain is irrelevant to privacy-preserving computation. Blockchain is dated back from bitcoin. However, there is no privacy-preserving design for bitcoin according to its Whitepaper. Plus, bitcoin and cryptocurrency haven’t applied any cryptography algorithms, but only signature and Hash instead.

Blockchain is transparent and distributed with all data backed up to be available to all people, thus it definitely has no privacy-preserving features. On the contrary, blockchain can serve as the distributed infrastructure to help with payment. In conclusion, blockchain is independent of privacy-preserving computation, while they are mutual complementary. Privacy-preserving computation, located at the upper part, protects the data privacy, while blockchain, located at the lower part as the infrastructure for distributed economies, provides payment and settlement functions.

Can You Share PlatON’s Technology Architecture of Privacy-Preserving Computation?

Dr. Xie: Privacy-preserving computation is a big topic, and different teams have different routines. PlatON focuses on cryptography technologies and combines trusted hardware to implement privacy-preserving computation. PlatON’s privacy-preserving computation architecture, from the bottom to top, consists of basic cryptography algorithms, blockchain, Privacy AI and privacy data platforms, for the purpose of delivering the deployable and operational products rather than technology itself. Cryptography is just a technology implementation.

Can You Share PlatON’s Biggest Achievement in 2019 and the Development Plan in 2020?

Dr. Xie: We’ve done a deep research on the data privacy-preserving and the potential emergent market since the very beginning we started PlatON. Then we’ve explored and finished the technology model selection and engineering, finally realized the huge potential of AI in both application and marketing.

The biggest achievement in 2019 is that we have settled Privacy AI as the core direction of PlatON, organized a strong AI team, and determined both the technology architecture and product architecture with our cryptography team.

In 2020, we will announce two important products: Rosetta, a Privacy AI architecture developed under the combination of cryptography and AI architecture such as Tensorflow, and Data Bank. Then start the growth of both product and community accordingly.

PlatON CEO Mr. Sun Has Highlighted the Internet of Everything, does that Mean IoT Will Show Support on Privacy AI by Providing Massive Data of Interconnected Devices?

Dr. Xie: I think we should consider it based on the whole life circle of data rather than a pure tech viewpoint.

There are four stages of data’s life circle: collection & production, storage & computation, distribution & exchange, and analysis & processing. IoT is the entrance of data, advanced devices collect data, then PlatON collaborates with partners to build an ecosystem; innovative technologies such as distributed ledgers are the main solution of data’s distribution and exchange; and the analysis and processing of data will be performed by AI and big data.

PlatON, with its layout design based on the whole life circle of data, aims at facilitating the data circulation by leveraging privacy-preserving computation.

Can You Share More Details about PlatON’s Grants Program?

Dr. Xie: Grants program plays an important role in building PlatON community, and the PlatON ecosystem contributed and co-hosted by developers worldwide. We will incubate and provide funding for the projects selected out after evaluation and communication.

Since it’s released, we’ve received plenty of applications on blockchain and privacy-preserving computation including supporting tools, contract development, and algorithms and acceleration of software & hardware of MPC (Multi-Party Computation), ZKP (Zero-Knowledge Proof), HE (Homomorphic Encryption), from top colleges, startups, communities, etc.

My profession and experience start from cryptography, I know the complexity of it and the whole PlatON team admires team spirit, or community spirit. To complete a long-term and meaningful work, joint effort is a must. Thus, we sincerely welcome more developers that are interested in blockchain, cryptography and data privacy to join us, helping complete the PlatON ecosystem. Privacy AI is surely a part of Grants program, we look forward to working with all talents worldwide.

Whether if Zero-Knowledge Proof Can be Applied in Massive Business Practice, and How’s the Marketing Demands?

Dr. Xie: Zero-Knowledge Proof’s research and development direction is closely relative to it’s business practical. Our goal is to provide solutions rather than being commonly used only. When demands get more complicated, algorithms need to be improved, and can be applied in more business practices when they get better and better. They must have gone through iterations gradually to fit the marketing demands. So far, ZKP is still in its early stage, and needs to improve.

Can You Share the True Demands and Businesses of MPC?

Dr. Xie: MPC fits Privacy AI to some extent, and even has emergent and specific demands. There is a conflict on the collection and application of data. For Privacy AI, the more data the better, which help improve the accuracy of model. For data asset, however, data is private and needs to be protected.

MPC, with its paradigm for this conflict, is just the solution. Seen from that, cryptography is used to solve all kinds of conflicts and needed by many enterprises that are sensitive about data.

Currently, institutes and firms at home and abroad are all exploring the combination of privacy-preserving computation and AI, and have stepped into this field. PlatON stands ahead with its huge investment and solid engineering implementation.

How Do You Think About Ethereum’s Joining in Privacy-Preserving Computation Ecosystem?

Dr. Xie: It’s evitable. Ethereum is the“World’s Computer”, to serve the world, it needs to bear massive data. Thus, the data privacy issues start, and Ethereum will apply more cryptography technologies to support the completeness of the whole network. Actually, Ethereum 2.0 has many tools and designs with regard to privacy-preserving computation and cryptography. In addition, we are optimistic and confident about the future of Ethereum, and we have a significant collaboration with Ethereum on MPC, and community as well.

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PlatON Network

PlatON — An Infrastructure for Privacy-Preserving Computation and Distributed Economies.