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VMware blockchain now operates with Sepior private key protection

threshold keys

Today cryptography firm Sepior announced that its privacy-focused wallet solution is now interoperable with VMware’s blockchain. Sepior decentralizes trust by distributing keys across many parties. The keys are used to authenticate transactions and the signing of smart contracts. The VMware Blockchain is similarly described as a ‘decentralized trust infrastructure’.

VMware is a subsidiary of tech giant Dell and made its first public blockchain announcement this time last year. It has since developed its own open-source consensus algorithm, SBFT, and works with smart contract languages Solidity by Ethereum and Digital Asset’s DAML.

Meanwhile, Danish business Sepior was founded in 2014 and provides its ThresholdSig wallet to protect private keys used in blockchain. As we explained last year, Sepior’s technology works off-chain, so is theoretically usable with any blockchain.

“Security and decentralized trust have always been central to VMware’s vision for blockchain,” said Michael DiPetrillo, Senior Director of Blockchain at VMware.

“We are delighted to work with Sepior to enable core multiparty computation paradigms for smart contract signing, digital asset transfer signing, and key management services by enabling interoperability with Threshold Signatures for VMware Blockchain,” he continued.

The CEO of Sepior, Ahmet Tuncay, echoed DiPetrillo’s statement: “Our philosophy of decentralizing trust was in complete alignment with VMware’s vision for VMware Blockchain.”

One of the startup’s founders, Ivan Damgård, wrote what is considered to be the book on Multi-Party Computation (MPC).

Instead of keeping a private key in one place, it is split into pieces or ‘shares’ which are stored on different servers — this what makes Sepior stand out from the crowd.

For a transaction to take place, the pieces come together to form a whole key. They must be the correct set of fragments from the right servers, so a hacker has a much harder job of stealing keys. A single share is useless without knowing the other parts of the key and where they are kept.

What if one of the servers is down or compromised? Can the key be used? Sepior’s MPC application operates with a threshold system, so as long as enough shares have come together, the key will work. Hence, ThresholdSig.

In enterprise blockchain platforms, private keys prove ownership of data and are used to ‘unlock’ it. The data privacy afforded by Sepior’s solution is therefore attractive to platforms like VMware.

In conventional systems, if a key is lost, then the data is as good as lost too. With MPC, losing one share of a key doesn’t leave anything vulnerable. Sepior’s use of a threshold system also means that the keys don’t really ‘exist’ – the pieces are distributed in such a way that not all of them are needed to unlock data.

Though comparatively new on the blockchain scene, MPC is also used by digital wallet Curv, which partnered with Munich Re for insurance. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, too, has taken an interest in the technology.

Just today the Australian Securities Exchange announced that it is working with VMware and Digital Asset for financial services projects.