PRIViLEDGE 2020 flashback

As the end of the year is approaching it is time to take a moment and do a small recap of the year. 2020 has been nothing but extraordinary and keeping the year’s spirit we at PRIViLEDGE did a few things in our own special way, too. This blog provides a recap of our achievement this year.

Year 2020 marks the 3-year benchmark for the PRIViLEDGE project. Some major milestones have been reached in the technical and also in dissemination work. Nevertheless, we also experience some setbacks causing us to delay the end of the project. Due to one partner leaving the project, PRIViLEDGE requested a 6 - month project extension and received it. The new end date for PRIViLEDGE is 30th of June 2021. 

This year we released multiple deliverables describing our research and status of the use cases. By the first half of the year, the high-level architecture for three out of our four use cases was developed. In addition, the architecture and the goals of PRIViLEDGE’s horizontally cross-cutting toolkits that provide functionality that could be used in different situations to enable the functionality for zero-knowledge proofs in ledgers; secure two-party and multi-party computations on ledgers; and privacy-preserving data storage on ledgers, were defined. The detailed overview can be read in D4.2 “Report on Architecture for Privacy-Preserving Applications on Ledgers was published”

The work on our toolkits and use cases also continued during the second part of the year. We released a detailed overview about architecture achievements that can be found in D4.3 “Final Report on Architecture”, presenting the final architecture of two PRIViLEDGE use cases: verifiable online voting and stake-based updates for Cardano’s stake-based-ledger. Additionally, the validation criteria for each of the use cases needed to be defined. The overview of the criteria is given in D1.2 “Validation Criteria” describing the methods and detailed criteria for the validation of the prototype implementations developed in the context of the four use cases of the PRIViLEDGE project.

Lastly PRIViLEDGE focused on research this year looking into new constructions of cryptographic protocols relevant to distributed technologies. D2.3 “Privacy Enhancing Cryptographic Protocols for Ledgers” introduces a general transform to add security in presence of forks in blockchains, privacy-preserving auditable token payment systems designed for permissioned blockchains, and new zero-knowledge proof systems, timed primitives and secure groups that can be used as building block in several applications of distributed ledger technologies.

In 2020, PRIViLEDGE carried on with developing its strong scientific foundation. By the end of the year we have published 21 papers and 20 technical reports. All our publications and technical reports are available at our website under the “Publications'' section. In addition to the scientific publications PRIViLEDGE partners also released 12 blog posts on the website. The most successful blog post according to page views is “Blockchain Technology and Decentralized Contact Tracing: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” (written by University of Salerno).  

Speaking of the communication activities in the project, we had to replan several things and take alternative routes to achieve our communication goals this year, due to COVID-19. This was the most challenging with activities related to face-to-face interaction. For example, we could not participate almost at any live exhibitions or events to promote PRIViLEDGE. Adjusting, we relied on virtual tools, and gave our maximum effort to reach the best possible outcome. 

Many of the efforts accomplished thus far were highlighted during our two workshops that we planned and executed during the second half of the year. Firstly, PRIViLEDGE invited several European experts to investigate how blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) can offer solutions for data security and privacy issues during a two-hour virtual workshop “Data Sharing and Privacy – What Has Changed in the Era of COVID? A Deep Dive into Policy Dilemmas and New Technological Solutions”. The workshop took place on the 15th of October. The discussions at the workshop re-confirmed that research, industry and policy communities need to cooperate and communicate with each other even more closely in order to tackle the present and future challenges of big data, data sharing and security. There is significant overlap in interests between these communities and the many current and upcoming EC initiatives promise to boost and support the collaboration between these stakeholders to create sustainable solutions for data sharing and privacy. We also released a comprehensive workshop report (pdf) that gives a more detailed insight to the event.  

Secondly, we participated at virtual Paris Blockchain Week Summit (PBWS) that gathered more than 3000 attendees and over 100 speakers. Our two-hour workshop on the 9th of December at PBWS focused on "DLT Applications through Advanced Cryptography: i-Voting, Health Insurance, Higher Education Certificates and Software Update Domains'', introducing project PRIVILEDGE four use-cases and highlighting their value for industrial stakeholders. During the workshop we received excellent feedback from the audience through the posed questions and discussions that followed. See the video of our workshop here.

Despite the general universal chaos, we believe that 2020 was fruitful for the PRIViLEDGE project. The work done has taken us one step closer to finalising our goals and will enable us to complete the use case prototypes and toolkits as well as due some additional research. As the project still has 6 months to go, we still have some important deliverables and milestones to reach in the PRIViLEDGE project. Let’s hope that 2021 will be calmer and as productive for all of us! :)

Written by Mirjam Kert and Liis Livin (Guartime)

Photo by Pixabay