Today, September 15th, 2020, is a momentous day for Secret Network.
After years of research and development work alongside community coordination, "secret" smart contracts have finally launched on mainnet. This successful upgrade means that Secret Network is now the first layer-one blockchain to enable general purpose private computation.
Why is this such a critical development?
- Currently, everything that happens on a blockchain is public by default: your data, your transactions, your identity.
- That means that all the data used in a smart contract is exposed to everyone.
- For blockchain technology to achieve global adoption, users (including companies and other organizations) need control over how their data is used – they can’t just expose it to everyone.
This mainnet upgrade makes Secret Network the only blockchain running live smart contracts with encrypted inputs, outputs, and state. That is possible because every node operator validating the network activity uses a secure enclave – the same type of technology securing your fingerprint on your smartphone. You can think of Secret Network as combining the programmability of Ethereum with the privacy of Zcash. This capability for "programmable privacy" now allows developers to begin building their own permissionless and privacy-preserving “Secret Apps.”
Learn more about some powerful Secret Apps that have been built to date:
With this launch, our attention now turns to building and scaling privacy-centric permissionless applications. Secret Network's unique technology unlocks many important use cases in the fields of finance, healthcare, media, art, gaming, and more, opening the door further to meaningful global adoption of decentralized technologies. Supporting this growth means bringing programmable privacy to the entire blockchain universe. That's why we’re also actively building connections to Ethereum, Cosmos Hub, and other public networks.
To this end, we're also excited to announce a new strategic partnership with an investment from Hashed. Founded by a team of serial entrepreneurs and engineers in 2017, Hashed is the preeminent blockchain firm in Asia with a portfolio that spans the globe. Hashed will work alongside Enigma, Secret Foundation, and the entire Secret Network community to help grow the global adoption of Secret Apps. For more information on this, and to learn how you can join the Secret ecosystem as a partner, developer, validator, or community member, keep reading this post!
Below we'll share more about this exciting moment, Secret Network's history, and what is next for our network and community.
A Brief History of Secret Network
The technology behind Secret Network’s “secret” smart contracts was developed by Enigma, a development company that builds and supports groundbreaking privacy-focused technologies and networks. Enigma has been researching and developing these types of technologies since CEO Guy Zyskind first published his privacy research papers at MIT in 2015, including "Decentralizing Privacy" and the first Enigma whitepaper. Years later, the importance of privacy to the blockchain space has been well established, and these original papers now have more than 1,500 combined citations.
Secret contracts are a new kind of smart contract that work differently from anything that has come before. They allow for programmable privacy, allowing for arbitrarily complex data privacy controls to be implemented inside applications. The flexible encryption capabilities and controls offered by programmable privacy unlock the potential value of the decentralized web. It allows for privacy how you want, for anything you want, when you want it, and from whom you want it. The primary goal of the Secret Network community has been to bring this powerful technology to mainnet and achieve global adoption.
The first Secret Network mainnet was launched in February 2020 by over twenty independent validators from the existing community working alongside Enigma. At the time, the network was known as the Enigma Blockchain. The network is based on Tendermint / Cosmos SDK and features a native coin - Secret (SCRT) - used for staking, governance, and network fees.
In May 2020, a proposal was made to rebrand the network as “Secret Network.” This proposal passed with unanimous approval on May 17th, 2020. The logic behind this naming was simple: with concepts like secret nodes and secret contracts well established in the ecosystem, and with a native coin known as SCRT, it was only natural to align the network’s branding entirely around “Secret.”
In addition, Enigma is just one of the many organizations and individuals building the future of Secret Network. The ecosystem has grown to include many other developers, node operators, and passionate community members, all of whom participate in decentralized governance of the network. The new branding of Secret Network emphasizes the shared ethos and shared responsibility of the entire community.
As Secret Foundation's Tor Bair explained in a recent video, there’s a deeper meaning behind the word “secret” - one that is very resonant for our community.
A secret is something that you don’t want to share with everyone, but still want to share with people you choose to trust. A secret is something that you want to keep protected - not because it’s something bad, but because it’s something valuable. We call this network “Secret” because it allows developers and users to protect valuable data while still enabling them to share and compute it when, how, and with whomever they choose. Secret Network is where these important concepts of privacy, freedom, and consent coincide.
In June 2020, we reached another exciting milestone: the completion of code for secret contracts! This allows CosmWasm smart contracts to run with encryption inside secure enclaves, making the magic of secret contracts possible.
With the completion of this code, we launched the Secret Games in July - a series of incentivized testnets designed to test secret contracts in the wild. This was split this into two phases: Phase 1, an invitation-only testnet capped at fifteen participants, and Phase 2, open to all participants. Phase 1 brought incredible participation and feedback from many experienced and talented validators, including Staked, Figment, Chorus One, Dokia Capital, Iqlusion, Outlier Ventures, Chainflow, Hashquark, B-Harvest, Mitera BV, and more. Phase 2 saw over 80 validators connect to the testnet. These testnets allowed validators not only to get valuable experience supporting Secret Network, but also with deploying and utilizing secret contracts.
What happens now?
With this successful upgrade, our community's attention now turns to mass adoption: onboarding new secret contract developers, secret node operators, and community members who are passionate about securing and scaling the nascent decentralized web. With the support of the Secret Foundation and community committees, we will be working to produce more educational materials and documentation that help expand our ecosystem and build more bridges to the rest of the blockchain universe.
We're also looking to expand the number of strategic partners for Secret Network and identify talented teams and companies who can work alongside us to achieve global adoption. Today we're excited to announce a new strategic partnership with and investment from Hashed, the premier blockchain firm in Asia. Hashed's deep experience and connections in Asia and beyond are critical as we work together to grow the global adoption of Secret Apps. Hashed joins other long-standing partners such as Fenbushi and Outlier Ventures who share our vision to grow the Secret ecosystem to millions of users.
Share our vision to advance privacy as a human right and public good? Want to help us build a sustainable network and global community? Get in touch with Secret Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to work alongside you.
The Enigma development team and the Secret Network ecosystem will also be focusing on adding products and functionality that strengthen the position of the Secret Network in supporting the decentralized web. Excitingly, we are launching some initial products alongside this mainnet upgrade, including “secret tokens.” This is a powerful idea that applies our network’s capability for programmable privacy to the world of decentralized finance.
Secret tokens are programmable, privacy-preserving tokens - programmable like ERC20s, but private like zCash. Most importantly, secret tokens create network effects for privacy, providing the missing piece for DeFi mass adoption.
You may be wondering whether we expect an explosion of native assets on the Secret Network. While that’s a long-term goal for us, in the short-run, we are focused on building bridges to Ethereum, Cosmos Hub, and other blockchain ecosystems. One of Secret Network’s primary advantages is its interoperability. These bridges will allow assets in other ecosystems to be turned into privacy tokens based on the SecretToken standard, allowing us to bring programmable privacy to Ethereum and Cosmos ecosystems. This will enable privacy preserving synthetic assets on Secret Network, such as secretETH, secretDAI and secretATOM to be used in DeFi products and utilized with full privacy.
We're also excited to expand the tooling and documentation available to developers and users of Secret Network! Keplr Wallet has recently been funded by the community to build the functionality to natively support secret contracts, meaning anyone will be able to interact easily with Secret Apps built on the network. These types of initiatives help support our goal of global adoption for privacy-centric, decentralized applications. We're also working actively to improve our development guides and to onboard more devs into the Secret ecosystem.
To mark this milestone, here's some reflections from around the Secret ecosystem:
"This mainnet upgrade of Secret Network is the culmination of a bigger than life vision started 5 years ago in a small, packed, graduate student office. I am beyond excited to see us reaching this milestone, and cannot wait to see the value that Secret Network can bring, with its unique offering, to the entire decentralized web movement."
- Guy Zyskind, CEO and cofounder of Enigma
"The launch of Secret Contracts lays essential ground work to making enclave-based computation a part of the expanding universe of secure computation in the Cosmos. Secret is Iqlusion's first enclave-based service in production, and we really look forward to supporting more options to secure private computation on Secret Network."
- Zaki Manian, Cofounder of Iqlusion, formerly of Tendermint Labs
“Secret is bringing a new superpower to the Cosmos ecosystem: privacy. This will allow developers to discover new use cases with their flexible smart contracts system and also allow other Cosmos zones to participate and add privacy to their tokens.”
- Andrew Cronk, Cofounder and Head of Product at Figment
"Since the genesis of Enigma we have been following the growth of the ecosystem: the team, the product, and the community. With the recent boom in DeFi, we believe that the time is ripe to start integrating fundamental privacy features to the market, and Enigma's support of Secret Network is not only opportune, but also poised to succeed. With our additional commitment into the team and ecosystem, we are pleased to announce that our future visions are aligned together."
- Jinwoo Park, Co-Founder / Principal at Hashed
“We are very excited to be part of this moment for Secret Network and share their vision of having privacy preserving smart contracts. The need for privacy is becoming increasingly apparent, and we believe the Secret Network’s focus on privacy and interoperability will bring additional benefits to the decentralized web.”
- Peter Yang, Managing Director at Fenbushi
"Outlier Ventures sees the launch of secret contracts on Secret Network as a leap forward towards our vision of peer-to-peer, privacy-preserving, decentralized and open source alternatives to current centralized platforms and applications. We are looking forward to continuing our support of Secret Network, integrating Secret Apps into our ecosystem, and working together towards greater adoption and usability of decentralized technologies."
- Jamie Burke, CEO and founder of Outlier Ventures
“Privacy preserving smart contracts for the Cosmos ecosystem adds a new building block for application primitives that couldn’t exist before. Chainapsis is excited to provide the critical tooling for the new ecosystem of innovative dApps to come on Secret Network.”
- Josh Lee, Cofounder of Chainapsis (Keplr Wallet)
The path to this launch has been filled with unprecedented and unforeseen challenges for all members of the Secret Network community. A huge thanks is due to every community member who has been a part of the long journey to the present moment. Your support has been absolutely critical to seeing this technology finally come to life - and it will continue to be critical as we pursue its growth and adoption.
Thank you in particular to our committees, essential to our future growth, led by members of the community and Secret Foundation:
- The Infrastructure committee for testing and identifying mainnet compliant hardware
- The Governance committee for solidifying Secret Network governance
- The Dev committee for improving documentation and helping onboard developers
- The Education committee for producing critical educational materials
- The Awareness committee for spreading the word about programmable privacy
Thank you as well to the many mainnet and testnet validators who have helped secure the network by running computational secret nodes. Your ongoing support is critical to the success and stability of Secret Network!
The introduction of secret contracts to mainnet brings many new opportunities for growth and engagement. If you’re passionate about bringing privacy to the decentralized web and you’d like to join our community and participate in our committees, please join the following channels:
Official Secret Chat: https://discord.gg/h7dDxq2
Official Secret Forum: https://forum.scrt.network
Community Telegram: https://t.me/scrtcommunity
Secret Twitter: https://twitter.com/secretnetwork
Oh, and if you are reading this on September 15th and you'd like to celebrate with our community, please join us in the Secret Party.
Need the password? Just join our communities and ask 🤫