Ever wondered what sets multi-party computation apart as a solution for blockchain key management?
Last month, Unbound Tech’s cofounder and CTO, Guy Pe’er, presented a deep dive into MPC and blockchain for the London Blockchain Technology World conference.
In the talk, he deep delved into blockchain, key management and multiparty computation:If a blockchain private key is stolen even just once, the results can be catastrophic. In a blockchain, the private key IS the asset. If a malicious actor can gain access to the key even just once, the action is irreversible. Therefore, it’s critical to protect blockchain private keys.
However, blockchain key security is different than traditional key management and protection. Classic cryptographic key protection includes Hardware Security Modules (HSMs). HSMs, in a nutshell, are a physical, segregated box that protects cryptographic keys. While HSMs are highly secure for static assets, they are less relevant for blockchain private keys. It is very difficult for physical hardware to support new requirements, technologies, and cryptographic algorithms—all of what makes blockchain so innovative and ground-breaking.
An ideal key protection solution for blockchain would be highly secure, persistent (as in they protect assets across the entire blockchain), and flexible so that assets can be moved between owners easily.
Multiparty computation (MPC) is a cryptographic theory that allows multiple players to jointly compute anything without revealing the players’ inputs. For example, a group of people want to calculate their average salary amongst them without revealing the salaries themselves—MPC makes this possible.
In blockchain, MPC distributes the private key, i.e., the blockchain asset) among many different people, servers, or nodes and together they will use it to perform a blockchain operation without ever bringing the key together. Furthermore, the keys are protected with software, not hardware—allowing the keys/assets remain flexible to perform any action on the blockchain. MPC also allows for a complicated quorum structure, so only after certain amount of approvals, can the transaction move forward, providing cryptographic assurance in a blockchain workflow.
As blockchain evolves, so does the protection of it’s private keys. See Guy’s talk, and why MPC technology is so suited for blockchain, and digital asset key protection.