Privacy for Blockchain: an introduction

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

Blockchains are known for their ability to facilitate transparency and trust between peers. However, what happens when you need the trust aspect, but have to keep the data private? Understand how to think about the intersection between blockchain and privacy.

When talking about the potential of blockchain to create a more decentralized future, it doesn't mean you just have to provide anonymity. We're talking specifically about data privacy and allowing blockchains to work with private and sensitive data. Decentralized applications built on blockchains don’t require user anonymity, but often require private data. For example, imagine that you want to create a decentralized social network (maybe because you don't trust Facebook). The network would need to be able to use many different types of sensitive data, including identity data, location data, perhaps even payment data. But by putting all this data on a blockchain, you've already exposed it. This is a worse situation than if you hadn't used a blockchain, since you wouldn't have to wait for the network to be hacked: the data would already be public.

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