MIT’s Bitcoin-Inspired ‘Enigma’ Lets Computers Mine Encrypted Data

June 30, 2015

The cryptography behind bitcoin solved a paradoxical problem: a currency with no regulator that nonetheless can’t be counterfeited. Now a similar mix of math and code promises to pull off another seemingly magical feat by allowing anyone to share their data with the cloud and nonetheless keep it entirely private.

On Tuesday, a pair of bitcoin entrepreneurs and the MIT Media Lab revealed a prototype for a system called Enigma, designed to achieve a decades-old goal in data security known as “homomorphic” encryption: A way to encrypt data such that it can be shared with a third party and used in computations without it ever being decrypted.

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