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Introducing Liminal: a Multichain Privacy Layer for Web 3.0

Jun 21, 2021

AI Summary

Here's your AI summary of Introducing Liminal: a Multichain Privacy Layer for Web 3.0 on Aleph Zero blog

Top 10 key takeaways:

  1. Introduction of Liminal: Aleph Zero introduces Liminal, a multichain privacy layer designed to enhance security and privacy across various blockchains.

  2. Interchain Transactions: Liminal supports transactions between multiple platforms, including Ethereum, Near, Kusama, Cosmos, and Binance Smart Chain, through bridges to Aleph Zero.

  3. Hybrid Privacy Solution: Liminal combines zero-knowledge proofs (ZK-SNARKs) and Secure Multiparty Computation (sMPC) to offer a robust privacy solution.

  4. Zero-Knowledge Proofs: ZK-SNARKs allow for secure, private data computations without revealing any personal data to the verifier.

  5. Secure Multiparty Computation: sMPC keeps sensitive information off-chain and accessible only through a secure handshake among nodes, ensuring no single computer can access the data alone.

  6. Complementary Technologies: ZK-SNARKs handle basic transfers, while sMPC manages multi-user interactions and global private states, such as decentralized exchanges.

  7. Efficiency and Anonymity: Liminal’s hybrid setup ensures efficient computations and maintains user anonymity by leveraging the strengths of both ZK-SNARKs and sMPC.

  8. Low Transaction Fees: Liminal offers some of the lowest transaction fees in the market, facilitating economically viable communication between blockchains.

  9. Developer Flexibility: Developers can write smart contracts on other blockchains like Ethereum or Near while maintaining a private state on Aleph Zero, or build directly on Aleph Zero with native privacy features.

  10. Vision for Web 3.0: Liminal represents a significant step towards a multichain future, providing an efficient, scalable, and decentralized privacy framework for Web 3.0 projects.

AI Summary

The Aleph Zero team is proud to announce Liminal—our take on what a best-in-class interchain privacy solution should look like. 

As an outgrowth of Aleph Zero, Liminal offers added security and privacy measures while also serving as a portal to other blockchains. Transactions will be supported between platforms with bridges to Aleph Zero—Ethereum, Near, Kusama, Cosmos, and Binance Smart Chain.

The First Hybrid Privacy Solution on the Market

Liminal offers innovative security measures based on a unique combination of “zero-knowledge” proofs (ZK-SNARKs) and Secure Multiparty Computation (sMPC). 

The idea behind ZK-SNARKs is to allow one party, the prover, to produce concise proof that can be used to convince the verifier that the “prover” is performing only correct computations on its private data. Importantly, nothing about the “provers” personal data is revealed to the verifier (hence the name of “zero-knowledge”). 

The second solution (sMPC) involves keeping sensitive information off-chain on several nodes. This data can only be accessed if the nodes conduct a secure handshake. No one computer can access the encrypted contents without a unanimous consensus. 

These two solutions complement each other by eliminating their respective problems. ZK-SNARKs allow for basic transfers yet are incapable of dealing with multi-user interactions. Zero-knowledge proofs can prove the correctness of the state update of their private state (for instance, how many private tokens they own on each address) that can be verified by blockchain. 

What ZK-SNARKs are not capable of achieving is a concept of a global private state—which is a state owned by a smart contract that would be updated after any of the users transacts with it. This is where sMPC’s have their moment to shine. They can be used to implement the concept of a global private state, an example of which would be a decentralized exchange based on an automated market maker model without the need of revealing the value of each transaction. The problem with sMPC is that on its own, it is prohibitively slow; hence Liminal will use this solution only for the computations that need to interact directly with the global private state. The remaining computations can be performed and validated using ZK-SNARKs. 

Liminal’s hybrid setup will guarantee that client data is secure and their anonymity maintained.

Two Ways Forward for Blockchain Privacy

We believe Liminal to be the most efficient, software-based, and complete privacy framework for your next project. As the blockchain world expands, there is a growing need for economically viable communication channels between blockchains. Large transaction fees are detrimental to bridging the various blockchain ecosystems. Liminal boasts some of the smallest transaction fees on the market, making it ideal for building connections across multiple blockchains. 

Our solution is designed for developers who want to connect across various chains, e.g.:

  • It will be possible to write smart contracts on Ethereum or Near, while keeping a private state of this contract on Aleph Zero. 
  • For those who decide to build directly on Aleph Zero, Liminal’s privacy-enhancing capabilities will be native.

This, in short, is how we envision a multichain future. If you’re looking for an efficient, scalable, and decentralized layer 1, choose Aleph Zero with a native privacy framework. If you’d prefer to stick to your existing environment—by all means, do so. Then, you might want to consider taking advantage of Liminal (powered by Aleph Zero) to enable private computations.

Web 3.0? One Small Step, One Giant Leap

Liminal is the next big step in our journey, one in which we open the doors to a wider blockchain ecosystem. We feel fortunate to have such a supportive community and cannot wait to tell you more about this exciting new product.