IOG announces Midnight – a new blockchain to protect data and safeguard technology freedoms

Blockchain developer Input Output Global (IOG) has revealed it is creating a data protection-based platform to allow users to operate more freely and securely by safeguarding sensitive personal and commercial data. 

Web2 created world-wide communities where people could share and connect with one another. However, this came at the cost of centralised control, leading to censorship, surveillance and a loss of ownership over data.

Web3 promised a new paradigm without censorship or control over user data but, so far, solutions either reveal too much data or are too secret for many use cases.

To address this, IOG – the main developer behind Cardano – has announced that it is working to create a new platform which will be a principled system to protect people’s fundamental freedoms of association, commerce, and expression.

Called ‘Midnight’, it introduces a new paradigm for online interaction, allowing users to control the data they choose to reveal and keep the rest off the internet. Midnight will be a completely new departure on how confidential information is considered when building dApps.

Midnight will be built using a novel data protection-first programming model. The platform will use zero-knowledge cryptography and a combination of private and public computation, creating a trust-less ecosystem that safeguards sensitive personal and commercial data. It will operate as a sidechain of the Cardano blockchain, inheriting its security and decentralised qualities while significantly extending Cardano’s utility, opening up valuable new use cases for individuals and companies looking to transact, publish or share data.

This will allow for a rich web of data-protected connectivity with rules-based, trust-less interactions anchored in the Cardano ecosystem. Midnight will be created specifically for developers to write smart contracts in a variety of popular languages – starting with Typescript – allowing them to develop smart contracts more easily than ever before.

Through the platform companies will be able to share mission critical information, such as financial data, directly with each other while proving they have met regulatory requirements without revealing any other confidential information.

Users will also be able to safeguard their personal information when operating in a connected world.

Midnight was unveiled this afternoon during the developer’s ScotFest event, held at the University of Edinburgh, by CEO Charles Hoskinson in his keynote presentation, where he discussed the challenges and threats facing people and businesses across the world with regards to data protection and the need for solutions which provide them with greater security. 

We need systems that provide people with the freedom to work, collaborate and interact while maintaining control and autonomy over data,” said Hoskinson.

“When we don’t have these basic rights, our ability to connect with the rest of the world is hampered or controlled by forces beyond our control.

“These are values we hold dear at IOG and why we have been working tirelessly to create a new solution which enshrines and upholds these freedoms, giving users autonomy over how their data is used and the visibility of their transactions.”

As part of the ScotFest event, the Midnight team also hosted a developer workshop, where attendees could learn more about this novel programming language, the product roadmap, and different use-cases that are possible with the protocol.

The new platform forms a key part of IOG’s goal to advance the development of secure blockchain technologies. It comes following a series of announcements which show the company’s commitment to blockchain data protection, including funding of a new research lab focused on the development of Zero Knowledge Protocols, which are key to creating more secure blockchain networks and led by Dr Markulf Kohlweiss.

IOG has also appointed Zero-Knowledge Protocol expert, Dr Vanishree Rao as its Head of Applied Cryptography. 

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