MacLane Wilkison: NuCypher – Proxy Re-Encryption for Distributed Systems


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NuCypher is a decentralized threshold cryptography network offering interfaces and runtimes for secrets management and dynamic access control. It provides cryptographic infrastructure for privacy preserving applications and it exists as a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. They are currently in testnet but once launched you will be able to use NuCypher to carry out proxy re-encryption.
Proxy re-encryption is a cryptographic method that allows you to delegate re-encryption of data to a third party and in this case validators in the NuCypher network. With this method you issue a re-encryption key that is assigned to a specific public key and a third party has the ability to re-encrypt data for that third party to decrypt. In this case the NuCypher network acts as the third party service. It is useful for when you want to share data, with the ability to revoke access at a later stage.
They also have an interesting token distribution mechanism called the WorkLock. This is similar to a Lockdrop but with work required from the participants.
MacLane Wilkison, Co-founder and CEO of NuCypher talks about how and why the protocl was created, the challenges faced with it, and the problems it solves.
Topics covered in this episode:
- MacLane’s background and how he got into the blockchain space
- Challenges with working with corporate entities and getting people to understand privacy preserving technologies
- The zeroDB protocol and how that led to NuCypher
- What was MacLane’s goal with starting NuCypher
- What proxy re-encryption is and why it’s desirable over manual systems
- What are threshold signatures
- Attributability on the protocol
- Some use cases of using FHE on NuCypher and why they have chosen this for the protocol
- MacLane’s thoughts on trusted hardware
- The infrastructure of NuCypher and why it is on Ethereum
- Results from the testnet
- WorkLock - their token distribution mechanism and how it compares to Lockdrop
- How you can set up a node on NuCypher
- Current gas costs and the impact of this
- The NuCypher business model and how they make money
- Where to learn more about NuCypher
Episode links:
- [NuCypher Website](
- [NuCypher Discord](
- [NuCypher blog](
- [WorkLock](
- [NuCypher Twitter](
- [MacLane's Twitter](
Show notes and listening options: [](

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