Posted on: 07 Mar 2019
Oasis Labs: The newest player in distributed ledger!
In late 2018, a team of researchers from MIT and the University of California, Berkely, came together to found Oasis Labs, a new cryptographic project. The project combines secure software and hardware to enable smart contracts that preserve privacy between stakeholders. Oasis Labs has managed to secure $45 million in presale financing from some of the biggest venture capital and cryptocurrency investing firms.
Professor Dawn Song, the chief architect of the project, is a security expert who is working on hardware and software development in conjunction with security technologies. In 2009, Song was among those named in MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 list ; she has also won the MacArthur Fellowship and the Guggenheim Award in 2010, for her extensive work in her area of specialization. Song is using a combination of hardware and cryptographic techniques to enable smart contracts to compute over encrypted data with watertight security. According to this Techcrunch article, Song is also working on a fully open source, trusted hardware enclave implementation called Project Keystone. With years of experience in building differential privacy tools, Song is providing data privacy technologies to Uber.
A total of 75 investors have financed Oasis Labs’ approach to securing data and selling computation power on a cryptographically secured ledger. Song has solved the problem of scalability by using proof-of-stake algorithms to implement three different types of functions: compute, storage, and consensus committees. Since consensus operations are very expensive, Song has developed a network protocol to allow compute and storage committees to process transactions without relying heavily on complex consensus protocols. Customers will use a token model system akin to Ethereum, where users pay “gas fee” to miners for executing smart contracts. However, storage and compute have different pricing models but both will be paid for with the same token. Oasis Labs will be building a marketplace that promotes scalability to make fees accessible for the public.
In mid-November 2018, the Oasis team announced the Oasis Devnet, the latest version of their platform built specifically for developers. The Oasis team admitted that it was an important step for the community and the team. The Oasis Devnet will allow developers to test out new features and tools such as confidentiality frameworks, support for rust, contract kits, Ethereum backward compatibility, and resources and tutorials. In her blog, Song writes that due to data breaches and privacy violation escalations in 2018, there is among the general public a heightened distrust of organizations that collect and monetize user data. Song writes that technologies like differential privacy can provide strong formal privacy. With increasing user awareness and concern, regulatory policy changes, and improved capabilities of privacy technologies, Song believes that 2019 will be the year of privacy.
Oasis Labs has now moved into a new office in San Francisco and is hiring engineers and designers for their team.
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