Tauchain and the privacy question (benefits of secret contracts and private knowledge). By Dana Edwards. Posted on Steemit. August 21, 2018.
As we can see from the current trend in crypto there is now a move toward privacy. Most people underestimate in my opinion the utility of these cryptographic advances. In this blogpost I will highlight a particular advance enabled by these new cryptographic (and hardware techniques such as trusted execution environment) which can be of massive benefit to the long term believers in Tauchain.
The problem: Anyone can copy the code Ohad writes if it's open source
So we have a problem with Tauchain where all of the code Ohad is writing with regard to TML is open source and on Github. This allows a competitor to simply steal his best ideas and in a sense rob the token holders who actually funded the development of the code. This happens very often as we see a new innovation in the crypto space and soon later we see a new ICO or a new group come out of no where acting as if they originated the technology. In some cases the new group may even be much more centralized, more secretive, and very well funded.
The solution: Secret contracts (private source code and execution)
The trusted execution environment allows for the protection of intellectual property rights on the hardware level. While sMPC (secure multiparty computation) can also achieve similar ends on the software level. The idea being that this provides a solution to idea theft where a community can keep certain critical pieces of code, data, algorithms, or other unique features secret. This creates an entirely new way to monetize knowledge, code, and ideas, which Agoras will be uniquely positioned to leverage.
Guy Zyskind of the Enigma Project provides the definition for what secret contracts are and how they work. The Enigma Project deserves credit for introducing this technology and for identifying a major problem in the cryptospace. Traditionally on Ethereum or all other current platforms when you release a DApp your code has to be open source. It is not possible to create a closed or private source decentralized app. In addition the app has to be executed in the open so all data running through it is public.
Strategic implementation of private knowledge and source code can allow Tauchain to maintain a dominant position
In most cases the world benefits if knowledge is shared. In fact I'm in favor most of the time of sharing as much knowledge as is safe. The problem with algorithms, source code, and certain kinds of knowledge is that by sharing that knowledge it provides a competitive advantage to people who have more financial resources. These individuals can simply see Github and copy. They can hire programmers to compete with Tauchain and Agoras developers and as long as the code is open there will be no real reason to buy the Agoras token long term.
What if the Tauchain development team and Agoras developers decide to implement private knowledge bases? What if it becomes possible to run code in a trusted execution environment so that other developers around the world cannot see the code or the algorithms? This would allow Tauchain to build Agoras in such a way that no other project will be capable of duplicating it. This would lock in the value backed by the community brainpower into the Agoras token making it a true knowledge token which cannot simply by copied with ease by another project.
In fact this is a strategy that developers making apps using Enigma's Secret Contracts are looking into as we speak. This competitive advantage of secrecy will change the landscape of the cryptospace. What does this enable for Agoras? Imagine an encrypted Github which developers can contribute to but only the developers can see the code? Imagine after the code is written that no one else can see the code if the code is set to run privately? This would allow developers to code in secret and have the code run on computers without anyone knowing what the code is.
This can open up security vulnerabilities but Tauchain can defend against these. In particular it matters what is private and what is public. Critical aspects can be private while security critical areas can always be kept public. There may even be ways to prove that the code doesn't behave in a certain way without actually sharing the code (using advanced cryptography). In fact my favored way of implementing this feature would be to timelock the release of the source code by a number of months of years.
The idea isn't to keep things closed forever or secret forever. Privacy is about access control and about keeping things secret long enough to maintain a competitive advantage. A time delay to unlock the source code for example could work. It is even possible to allow the community to use puzzle based time lock encryption to have to mine to get the source code released early (if there is a serious need or threat). In this way all secret blocks of code could be unlockable but not for free and this would make it less likely that the community will seek to unlock it unless there is a genuine reason (beyond just to steal ideas).
What do you think about these ideas? If you agree with this or disagree then comment below. Strategic IP (intellectual property) is used by major corporations to give themselves a competitive advantage. The crypto community can do the same thing in ways the legal mechanisms can't do. In fact it can be done in a more fair and better way because often the people or companies awarded IP rights aren't the actual inventors. A knowledge economy is fantastic but if the knowledge is just harvested by big corporations monitoring the wide open network then it's going to be hard to bring value to a knowledge token.
UPDATE: Many people ask where to buy Agoras. The problem is it's not widely available on centralized exchanges. The only exchange I know that has it is Bitshares. So if anyone really wants to buy Agoras (AGRS) which is the token of discussion in this post feel free to buy it at:
42 million intermediate tokens total. Current price is: 0.00010700 BTC which is around 70 cents. This is the cheapest price I've seen it in a while because for a long time it was $1.50-$1.30 range. This is a very speculative token at this time so buy at your own risk as I'm not providing any financial advice. I'm a holder of this token of course and have been for years.
Puddu, I., Dmitrienko, A., & Capkun, S. (2017). μchain: How to Forget without Hard Forks. IACR Cryptology ePrint Archive, 2017, 106.
Kaptchuk, G., Miers, I., & Green, M. (2017). Managing Secrets with Consensus Networks: Fairness, Ransomware and Access Control. IACR Cryptology ePrint Archive, 2017, 201.
“We are moving into an era where cities will matter more than states and supply chains will be a more important source of power than militaries — whose main purpose will be to protect supply chains rather than borders. Competitive connectivity is the arms race of the 21st century.”
-- Parag Khanna , 
A network is made of lines and switches, right?
Lots have been told about the network scaling effects , including attempts by myself [4-12] ... which compels me to introduce the not so frivolous notion of network forces.
These forces are expressed in several laws. I though initially to say 'forces' and 'laws' here, but I realize they are quite objective and physical emergenta , indeed.
In my ''Geodesic by Tauchain''  article of about couple of months ago I emphasized over the Huber-Hettinga Law , of how cost of switching literally defines the 'orographic'  topology of a network .
The cheaper the routing - the flatter the network.
Expensive switches = hierarchy, verticality, power, control, obey, centalization, 'world is fiat' ,, sollen , hence borders instead of bridges, limitations not stumulae, exclusivity ...
Cheap switching = geodesic society , 'world is flat', horizontality, p2p, decentralization, inclusivity ...
The more vertical by centralization a network is - the more it must deplete information - to omit, to ignore calls from the deeps or to even actively suppress or silence nodes. To cope with the stream by strangling it. Simply due to lesser capacity, less degrees of freedom . Geodesic networks possess higher entropy  and therefore are richer. They bolster higher both Scrooge  and Spawn  factors. With other words:
The flatter the network - the richer  it is.
Maybe the explanation on why the wealthiest-healthiest societies tend to be those who are with biggest economic-political freedom. 
Naturally the Huber-Hettinga Law led me to the elementary-watson  conclusion of the power and value of Tau as the ultimate über -switch. So far so good.
Now lets stare in the Lines. Here comes Nick Szabo .
Nick Szabo - a lawyer AND computer scientist - is a legendary figure from the great 'Archaic era of crypto'  - the 1990es when he, together with the other cypherpunk  titans like Tim May , Wei Dai , Bob Hettinga  etc. etc., poured the very baserock foundations in a staggering detail of what we enjoy now as Crypto  in the post-Satoshi  era.
It is THEIR vision came true we all now live in.
Bitcoin was a detonation of namely that critical mass of fused thoughts, of namely these very smart people, piled up and compressed by the connective network forces of the early internet .
No, I do not mean at all Szabo's most famous thing - the 1994 coining of the term of 'smart contracts' . In fact I deeply and strongly reject the very notion of 'smart contracts' - as utter non-sense, even as an oxymoron - which is an yuge separate problem, which I suspect that I nailed it, and I'll address in series of dedicated articles starting in the upcoming weeks...
I mean something much more valuable, what I call the Szabo Law.
When we hear the phrase 'networking effects' the first what comes to mind is the famous Metcalfe law .
''Metcalfe's Law is related to the fact that the number of unique connections in a network of a number of nodes (n) can be expressed mathematically as the triangular number n(n − 1)/2, which is proportional to n2 asymptotically (that is, an element of BigO(n2)).''
In the above order of appearance these network forces laws respect quantitatively the basic properties of a network as:
- Huber-Hettinga Law - the cost of switches and routing.
- Metcalfe Law - the number of nodes, i.e. switches defining the number of unique connections or lines.
- Szabo Law - the cost of the lines and connecting.
All these Laws are scaling ,  laws. Before we to come back to and continue on Szabo Law, we have to briefly mention another one .:
''So what is “scaling”? In its most elemental form, it simply refers to how systems respond when their sizes change. What happens to cities or companies if their sizes are doubled? What happens to buildings, airplanes, economies, or animals if they are halved? Do cities that are twice as large have approximately twice as many roads and produce double the number of patents? Should the profits of a company twice the size of another company double? Does an animal that is half the mass of another animal require half as much food?'' ... With Dirk Helbing (a physicist, now at ETH Zurich) and his student Christian Kuhnert, and later with Luis Bettencourt (a Los Alamos physicist now an SFI Professor), Jose Lobo (an economist, now at ASU), and Debbie Strumsky (UNC-Charlotte), we discovered that cities, like organisms, do indeed exhibit “universal” power law scaling, but with some crucial differences from biological systems.Infrastructural measures, such as numbers of gas stations and lengths of roads and electrical cables, all scale sublinearly with city population size, manifesting economies of scale with a common exponent around 0.85 (rather than the 0.75 observed in biology). More significantly, however, was the emergence of a new phenomenon not observed in biology, namely, superlinear scaling: socioeconomic quantities involving human interaction, such as wages, patents, AIDS cases, and violent crime all scale with a common exponent around 1.15. Thus, on a per capita basis, human interaction metrics (which encompass innovation and wealth creation) systematically increase with city size while, to the same degree, infrastructural metrics manifest increasing savings. Put slightly differently: with every doubling of city size, whether from 20,000 to 40,000 people or 2M to 4M people, socioeconomic quantities – the good, the bad, and the ugly – increase by approximately 15% per person with a concomitant 15% savings on all city infrastructure-related costs.
Which probably comes to denote the shear size of the network in STEM (space, time, energy, mass) , I'm not sure, but I have some strong suspicions about the unity of matter, structure and action which I will expose and share some other time.
What I call Szabo's Law reveals in his ''Transportation, divergence, and the industrial revolution''(Thu, Oct 16, 2014)  that similarly to Metcalfe's (''double the population, quadruple the economy'') there is power-law  correlation between the cost of connections or links or lines ... and the value of the network, too.:
''Metcalfe's Law states that a value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of its nodes. In an area where good soils, mines, and forests are randomly distributed, the number of nodes valuable to an industrial economy is proportional to the area encompassed. The number of such nodes that can be economically accessed is an inverse square of the cost per mile of transportation. Combine this with Metcalfe's Law and we reach a dramatic but solid mathematical conclusion: the potential value of a land transportation network is the inverse fourth power of the cost of that transportation. A reduction in transportation costs in a trade network by a factor of two increases the potential value of that network by a factor of sixteen. While a power of exactly 4.0 will usually be too high, due to redundancies, this does show how the cost of transportation can have a radical nonlinear impact on the value of the trade networks it enables. This formalizes Adam Smith's observations: the division of labor (and thus value of an economy) increases with the extent of the market, and the extent of the market is heavily influenced by transportation costs (as he extensively discussed in his Wealth of Nations).''
My encounter with this article of Nick Szabo's was a goosebumps experience for me, cause it coincided with series of lay rants of mine on the old Zennet irc chat room of Tau that ''computation =communication =transportation''. Somewhere in 2016 as far as I remember. :)
Maybe it was the last drop to shape my conviction that by my dedicated involvement in both Tau and ET3 , , , I'm actually working for ... one and a same project.
For communication, computation and transportation being modes of state change. Cause information is a verb, not a noun. And software being states of hardware.
''Decentralizing the internet is possible only with decentralized physical infrastructure.'' 
Just like the brain is a network computer of neuron nanocomputers , the emergent composite we colloquially call humanity or mankind or economy or society or world ... is a network computer made of all us billions of humans.
Brains do thought, economies do wealth.
Integrated circuitry  upon the face of planet Earth as a motherboard . Literally. The Humanity's planet-hardware. Parag Khanna's Connectography explained.
The Earth is definitely not our ultimate chip carrier . Probably there ain't limit at all of our culture-upon-nature hardware upgrades, see: , . The universe is our computronium  and we've been here for too short and haven't seen far enough. Networking is connectomics . And thus it always also is metabolomics .
Remember my last month's  ''Tauchain the Hanson Engine''?
The series of exponentially shortened growth doubling times looks like driven by transportation technological singularities : domestication of the horse, oceanic navigation, combustion engine ...
In the light of all the net forces summoned above: The planet Earth viewed as a giant computer chip ...
- itself is a subject of the relentless network entropic  force of the Moore's law 
The network forces accelerate what that wealth computer does.
Two quick examples:
A.: The $1500 sandwich  as a proof that trade+production is at least thousands of times stronger in sandwich-making than production alone.
B.: The example of Eric Beinhocker in his 2006 ''The Origin of Wealth''  about the two contemporary tribes of the Amazonian Yanomami  - a stone age population nowadays and the Eastcoastian Manhattanites . That the former are only about 100 times poorer, but the later enjoy billions of times bigger choice of things to have.
Tauchain 'threatens' to affect the parameters of ALL the network forces formulae mentioned herewith in a mind-bogglingly big scale.
Simultaneously, orders of magnitude :
- lower switch cost
- higher nodes count 
- lower connection cost
A wealth hypercane  recipe. Perfect value storm. Future ain't what it used to be .
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