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Deep Dive with Michael Egorov, CTO at NuCypher: Proxy re-encryption for distributed systems.

Michael will be answering questions at 9am pst on Wednesday 3/14

posted 1 year ago

with or if you'd like to join the discussion.
Soona
On a high level, what problem is NuCypher solving?
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Michael Egorov
@soonaorlater NuCypher is solving the problem of managing permissions to work with encrypted data without trusting any third party to decrypt it. It is useful centralized and absolutely necessary in decentralized world.

In the past (and now!) we relied on third-party services to decrypt our data and allow other people to read that data. We cannot do that anymore in decentralized world where there is no trusted central service. So for decentralized applications which work with private data and involve more than two people, our service appears to be necessary
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StoreOfValue Blog
what's your plan to drive the demand-side of nucypher?
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Michael Egorov
@SovCryptoBlog Fundamentally, we're re-encryption-as-a-service. So, the demand means the demand to use re-encryption.
We drive it by interacting with various companies and stratups who want to use the service and pay for it. Also we are planning to do a lot of developer evangelism, getting as many more developers as possible to build end-to-end encrypted decentralized applications with us
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StoreOfValue Blog
Availability of nucypher tokens is key to usage of the service, but it's not easy to create liquid and highly accessible markets for a nascent crypto token. What are your thoughts on solutions to this problem? What do you think about mechanisms like fee abstraction (like what 0x plans to do)?
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Michael Egorov
@SovCryptoBlog In fact, to use the service you use ETH.
What NU tokens will be used for is a part of "mining equipment". In other words, as a "miner" who actually provides the service, you get a part of work proportional to the number of tokens you hold.
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Ben Tossell
when did you get into crypto?
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Michael Egorov
@bentossell I've got into crypto in late 2013 (yup, bought a little at the very peak), witnessed Mt.Gox crash, mined some altcoins (which I dumped for Bitcoin and hedl), and thought a lot about decentralized applications before Ethereum got started.
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Neil Deramchi
What will your team be focusing on throughout 2018?
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Michael Egorov
@NeilDeramchi We have many things to do. Here are some:
One is working on economic incentives for nodes to not cheat.
We need to support multiple languages once we have Python reference implementation up (most needed are Javascript and Go).
Scalability is something we also need to work on a lot (and it comes down to pretty much scaling the payments for the service).
1
Neil Deramchi
How did you connect with MacLane to start NuCypher?
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Michael Egorov
@NeilDeramchi We first met at one of Bitcoin dev meetups in Silicon Valley in 2014. We brainstormed a lot about decentralized applications and blockchains.
We ended up doing a decentralized database (w/o a blockchain) in early 2016, but after interactions with customers we quickly pivoted to more general permission management over encrypted data.
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Erik Torenberg
What’s something you changed your mind on in the last 6 months in the space
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Michael Egorov
I think, before that time I regarded cryptocurrencies and DApps as a space where you just remove a trusted intermediary, making the process a little bit more effective.
While this is true, I think actually this is way more revolutional than I thought. Due to their unstoppable nature, cryptocurrencies and DApps will probably change the way how the world operates. They will create freedoms which no government yet recognizes, and this will create a major shift in the world, comparable to the shift from feudalism to the modern society
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Erik Torenberg
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions people have about crypto?
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Michael Egorov
@eriktorenberg Most people think of crypto as a way of getting rich. And this is not what cryptocurrencies are really about. They are valuable for their utility.
But investing in cryptocurrencies is really the first step in learning how they can be used
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Erik Torenberg
Can you describe the competitive landscape in which NuCypher fits and how you are different
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Michael Egorov
@eriktorenberg
Our biggest competitor is probably the old way of doing things, trusting a central server. There are multiple companies working for that: key management hardware with Thales and Safenet, key management as a service by Amazon and others, Hashicorp for self-hosted key management, or even simply having a trusted central server which accepts TLS connections.
In decentralized world, one approach apart from ours (proxy re-encryption) which is currently being tried is multi-party computation (MPC). While MPC is in principle more capable (can do arbitrary computations), it's much slower and less safe. Although it's good to see multiple research areas being applied in practice
1
sourcex
What advantages would NU tokens bring to the table? You mention fees can be paid using ETH, why have a token? What incentives does that offer which ETH can't to use your service
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