Beginner’s Guide to Enigma: Off-Chain Computation & Storage for Private Data

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Enigma is a protocol based on the blockchain that relies on groundbreaking privacy technologies that allow for end-to-end decentralized applications, which are scalable. Enigma was developed in response to a few specific issues with the blockchain, scalability and privacy, both of which it resolves.

What is Enigma?

The Enigma Team

The team behind Enigma includes many professionals who honed their skills at MIT, along with top-tier investors backing the project. The co-founder and CEO, Guy Zyskind, has over 10 years of experience in software development, along with experience with MIT Media Lab. The other co-founder, Chief Product Officer Can Kisagun, is an MIT Sloan MBA and has experience at McKinsey. Other team members include Tor Bair as the head of growth and marketing; Victor Grau Serrat as a senior software engineer; Frederic Fortier as a senior software engineer; Moria Abadi as a senior software engineer and researcher; Lena Kleyner as a senior software engineer; Ainsley Sutherland as the product and partnership strategy lead; and software engineers Isan Rivkin, Avishai Weingarten, and Embar Almog.

Enigma Team

Among those additional team members, you will find at least four people with over 10 years in software development, two of which have over 15 years of experience. The long list of advisors for Enigma include the director of MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program (Alex Pentland), a partner at Pantera Capital (Paul Veridittakit), the CEO of Abra (Bill Barhydt), the COO and co-founder of NerdWallet (Jacob Gibson), a managing partner at Sora Ventures (Jason Fang), the former director for Quantopian’s Hedge Fund Development (Justin Lent), the former VIP of treasure and trading operations for Circle (Josh Lim), and a former software engineer with TwoSigma (Matthew Falk).

Why Are Privacy and Scalability Problems, and How Does Enigma Solve Them?

Blockchains face privacy issues since anyone can access the data, which makes it impossible to store sensitive data. Since you cannot store sensitive data, blockchains have a restricted number of use cases without any adjustments. In terms of scalability, blockchain computing is too expensive and slow, making it unfeasible to store or compute extremely large chunks of data.

Blockchain Problems

Enigma is able to resolve both of these problems via unique technology that allows for data privacy and computation at the same time. The smart contracts found in other blockchain-based platforms are “secret contracts” on Enigma. In these secret contracts, input data remains hidden from Enigma network nodes, which execute the code. The team behind Enigma feels that without privacy like this, it is impossible for smart contracts and blockchains to be both truly decentralized and useful.

Enigma Ecosystem

The Enigma protocol can power an entire ecosystem. The Protocol Layer allows for the decentralized computation involving sensitive data. The Platform Layer consists of dozens of different platforms, including AI exchanges and data marketplaces, that the Enigma protocol allows to be built. Finally, the Application Layer makes it possible to have thousands of apps that are truly decentralized and that require both secure data and private computation.

Enigma Protocol

Enigma Use-cases

The Enigma privacy protocol claims to have the potential to assist a range of industries and individuals in unlocking a value of billions of dollars. On an individual layer, users are able to monetize data independently or collectively while also keeping the information within private from the companies that want to analyze it. This provides a win-win situation for individuals who value their privacy but want to make money off their data and the companies who rely on user data for additional information.

Enigma Use-Cases

Enigma will perform a similar function for the healthcare industry, making it possible for researchers to receive data without healthcare providers or individuals worrying about privacy. This can benefit everyone by leading to innovations.

There are also applications related to the Internet of Things since decentralized data marketplaces create value for the IoT. The marketplaces will use the unique privacy of Enigma to allow for successful off-chain computations at scale.

Enigma even offers benefits to borrowers looking to build or get credit. Borrowers can use Enigma and a decentralized banking system to show that they are trustworthy while still keeping their data private from the lenders. This is in sharp contrast to the current system, which requires borrowers to directly expose data to lenders. This application can allow for plenty of growth in lending ecosystems.

What Is Catalyst?

The very first application built using the Enigma protocol is Catalyst, which already has tens of thousands of users. This platform targets professional cryptocurrency traders with its data-driven crypto-asset research and investing. Catalyst gives users the power to curate as well as share data to create profitable data-driven investment strategies.


Enigma Roadmap

The Enigma roadmap for 2018 to 2020 is divided up into segments with their own names: Discovery, Voyager, Valiant, and Defiant. The Discovery stage features the testnet in Q2 and mainnet in Q3. It focuses on creating the Enigma Protocol MVP, including Secret Contracts version 1.0, dApp data privacy, and integration with Ethereum.

Voyager is the first half of 2019, with the testnet in Q1 and mainnet in Q2. This includes dApp scalability and independence, along with Secret Contracts 2.0.

Valiant will be in Q4 of 2019 and Q1 of 2020, with the testnet and mainnet each taking up a quarter. This phase involves the open network and global scalability.

Finally, Defiant is Q3 of 2020. This is when Enigma will achieve chain independence and true decentralization. Although the roadmap only goes up to part of 2020, the Enigma project has plans for further into the future than this. The team wants to build the foundation that will lead to decades on end of continued progress.


With the Enigma protocol, the project is able to overcome two of the major obstacles facing the blockchain, privacy and scalability. There is already a functional application built using the protocol, Catalyst. In addition, the team behind the project and the advisors have extensive experience that should help lead them to success.

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Editor-in-Chief of Blockonomi and founder of Kooc Media, A UK-Based Online Media Company. Believer in Open-Source Software, Blockchain Technology & a Free and Fair Internet for all. His writing has been quoted by Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Investopedia, The New Yorker, Forbes, Techcrunch & More. Contact

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