The Open Application Network Announces Blockchain Partnership with University of Waterloo

The Open Application Network (The OAN) announced today a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the University of Waterloo to investigate solutions to the challenge of preserving privacy in the context of Open Applications on blockchain networks.

The Open Application Network (The OAN) announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the University of Waterloo to investigate solutions to the challenge of preserving privacy in the context of Open Applications on blockchain networks.

The OAN will contribute $300,000 CAD with an additional $250,000 CAD in engineering and research capabilities to support the partnership over the first three years. The OAN will further support Waterloo’s Guang Gong, Professor and University Research Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering, in applying for matching funds through federal and provincial funding. If successful, these matching funds could bring the total project size to over $1,000,000.

The Open Application Privacy Partnership will focus on the development of cryptographic techniques (such as Zero Knowledge Proofs and Fully Homomorphic Encryption), to enable privacy-preserving interactions between user data and applications operating on this data. Simply put, these techniques aim to give control and ownership of user data back to the user.

The Open Application Network is an open source public infrastructure for the creation and hosting of blockchain powered Open Apps. The OAN Waterloo partnership is part of a broader commitment on the part of The Open Application Network to accelerate academic research and technical development in the field of Open Applications.

“We are excited to collaborate with the University of Waterloo to accelerate academic research, technical development, and innovation in the field of Open Application privacy,” said Matt Spoke, co-founder and CEO of The Open Application Network. “This partnership reinforces our commitment to leading the industry in building Open Application architecture and enabling new capabilities such as the ability for developers to build privacy guarantees into Open Apps.”

Dr. Gong, who heads the Communication Security Lab at Waterloo, will lead the Open Application Privacy research efforts. Dr. Gong, a member of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute, brings more than 25 years of experience in applied and theoretical cryptography to this research effort. Dr. Gong has also authored two books and more than 250 publications in communication systems security and applied cryptography. Recently, her work has focused on security and privacy in Internet-of-Things (IoT), Blockchain and Machine Learning (ML) systems.

“When applying blockchain technologies to various application environments (e.g., health, transportation, asset, and big data management, etc.) the privacy of blockchain becomes an inevitable key requirement. This collaborative project with The OAN and currently supported by an NSERC Strategic Project Grant to investigate privacy preserving logic in blockchain systems will further blockchain technology related to Internet-of-Things (IoT) in which sender and receiver privacy as well as transaction confidentiality are guaranteed.” says Dr. Gong.

The Open Application Network has already demonstrated its commitment to solving privacy on the blockchain with its recent announcement of a privacy-focused test-network which enables developers to experiment with privacy preserving features for Open Applications.

The Open Application architecture offers an alternative approach to the platform business model in the internet age. Blockchains represent an opportunity for the decoupling of data from services leveraging that data, offering more control and privacy to the owner of the data, all-the-while, enabling a richer spectrum of services that could be built.

“The Open Application Network is thrilled to be part of a new paradigm to build systems and economies for the common good; a place where applications can be developed that are truly open and outside the bounds and economic interests of overly dominant platform companies.” said Ian Chan, COO of The Open Application Network and former partner at Deloitte.

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