What did 2019 deliver to PRIViLEDGE and PRIViLEDGE to 2019?

An end of a year is always a great time for reflection. So, let’s look back at what happened in the PRIViLEDGE project in 2019. As a reminder, PRIViLEDGE project aims to develop and advance techniques that enhance privacy, anonymity and efficient decentralized consensus for distributed ledgers technologies (DLT). In case you want to receive a quick overview of the project then check out the video and the info-materials for the use cases.

The year 2019 started off with an unofficial project review by the European Commission in February in Brussels. The project received initial positive feedback from the reviewers as well as some guidelines and notes to be taken into consideration while proceeding to move forward with reaching the goals of the project.

The beginning of the year progressed with rapid speed with all partners working on their designated tasks. Many of the efforts accomplished thus far were highlighted during the project’s first workshop on the 18th of May 2019, held in Darmstadt Germany. The event was called  the PENCIL workshop and was organized as an affiliate event of EUROCRYPT 2019. The aim of the workshop was to engage with researchers and practitioners working in cryptography, security and distributed systems to introduce them to the ambitions of PRIViLEDGE and foster future cooperation. The workshop was very successful and awoke many discussions about security in distributed lagers. In addition, the project’s 3rd General Assembly was organized in Darmstadt during the same period.

Figure 1. Presentation during PENCIL workshop.

The summer carried the sign of “To Do” - it was time to deliver. So, several deliverables were submitted successfully. In June the deliverable 2.2 “Definitions of Notions of Privacy-Enhancing Cryptographic Primitives for Ledgers” was submitted, focusing on new definitions and notions of cryptographic primitives that are relevant to distributed ledger technologies. Simultaneously, the deliverable 4.1 “Report on Architecture of Secure Ledger Systems” was submitted, that presents the architecture of protocols for secure ledger systems to provide a high-level structure that can be used, without ambiguity, to describe the protocol architecture of the PRIViLEDGE use cases and toolkits. Additionally, with the end of June and the “18-month goal” reached, the project presented it’s financial and technical report successfully. 

The Autumn started with overall positive winds. In September PRIViLEDGE project had its first official review with the European Commission. Overall the review went well, all the submitted deliverables were accepted and received some useful feedback and proposals for improvements.

From 11.-13. November PRIViLEDGE was out and about at the exhibition venue of Convergence 2019, in Malaga, Spain. The conference had over 1000 participants. The exhibition days, were a great chance for the project to get exposure and engage in direct dialogue with regulators and policy makers, industry representatives. Team PRIViLEDGE gathered many useful contacts that can be utilised in the further stages of the project development. 

Figure 2. Team PRIViLEDGE at Convergence 2019.

Additionally, PRIViLEDGE participated at cyberwatching.eu webinar (19. November) “Blockchain: Multi-application Viewpoints and Opportunities” where the eVoting case-study was introduced to online participants of the webinar (around 70 in total). It was a great chance to collaborate with other EU projects and spread the word about the challenges and opportunities related to electronic voting systems.

The year ended with the 4th General Assembly in Salerno, Italy, where the consortium partners discussed the overall progress of all the work packages and conducted team-work to map out the upcoming tasks.

Overall it was a successful year for the project with all the milestones set reached. A lot of work was done defining the use cases and toolkits in a more concrete manner as well as aligning the research with these practical applications. In 2019 PRIViLEDGE consortium partners published 5 articles in peer-reviews journals, and wrote 12 blog posts (this one included) for the project’s homepage with the post about “The World’s Billionaire problem” being far most popular one. 

A number of exciting things will be taking place in the project next year. We will focus on the toolkits’ development and on the dissemination and exploitation of use-cases. We will also organize a workshop for industry stakeholders and continue to collaborate with other projects to widen the networking and foster interoperability. 

2020 will be an exciting year!  

Written by Mirjam Kert and Liis Livin, Guardtime
Photos by Guardtime