Yesterday the Confidential Computing Consortium (CCC) announced a raft of new members, including firms involved in blockchain such as R3, Anqlave, IoTeX and Accenture. CCC is a Linux Foundation project that launched last year and aims to create a community around confidential computing. Its founding members include Alibaba, Arm, Google, Huawei and Intel.
“In the past five months, we’ve added ten new members including a preeminent consultancy, a leading semiconductor manufacturer (AMD), and a pioneer in graphics processing (NVIDIA),” said Stephen Walli, Governing Board Chair, Confidential Computing Consortium. “This is a brilliant group of innovative companies that has come together to solve one of the key challenges in information security; protecting applications and data while in use.”
At the core of confidential computing is Trusted Execution Environments (TEE). This is a segregated area or enclave within a computer processor, designed to avoid snooping by rogue applications running on the machine. Intel has its SGX technology for TEE.
One of the consortium aims is to enable multi-party computing in which multiple organizations can contribute confidential data without exposing it. Applications include analytics across industries without the companies sharing the underlying data. Federated learning is another use case. A new consortium, the Multi-Party Computation Alliance, was also founded last year.
Trusted computing is an area being explored by several blockchain organizations. For example, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance published a standard, the Off-Chain Trusted Compute Specification last year. Hyperledger, also part of the Linux Foundation, launched the Avalon project last year to implement the EEA Trusted Compute Specification.
R3, known for its Corda enterprise blockchain, is exploring the potential for a second solution. Conclave is an exploratory project that is looking to extend work already done for Corda smart contracts that are run inside SGX enclaves.
In Singapore, Anqlave, sister of blockchain firm Zilliqa, is another privacy driven project. It developed the Anqlave Data Vault, which delivers a hardware security module on the Azure Cloud. It recently received NIST certification.