While the Ethereum network made significant developments to enable users to code and execute smart contracts, its protocol does not facilitate secure privacy of those smart contracts. the Origo Network aims to improve upon that shortcoming. The protocol will enable parties to develop and execute smart contracts privately without revealing inputs and outputs. Exposure of sensitive data on a public blockchain, could lead to a breach of intellectual property rights, data misuse, and other inimical behaviors. What Ethereum falls short on, according to Origo, is “protecting sensitive contract details” which inhibits widespread adoption on an industrial and personal scale.
Currently, Monero and ZCash are the most widely adopted cryptocurrencies to facilitate private transactions. Origo aims to expand upon that by not only making transactions private but also smart contract inputs/outputs confidential. Origo builds upon private transactions by creating an environment for privatized smart contracts. Ideally, the heightened degree of confidentiality for dApps containing sensitive information will instill greater confidence for developers and users alike.
Origo firmly believes that privacy is “the key to towards a broader adoption of blockchain.” In its whitepaper, the Origo team wastes no time in mentioning the “omnipresent surveillance” conducted by governments and centralized private corporate entities on citizens and users around the world. The Origo team believes that there will be a time when citizens and users will vehemently demand their rights to data ownership and privacy.
Fundamentally, Origo defines a confidential transaction as one that protects the sender, receiver, and the amount of money. It intends to facilitate confidential transactions by making inputs and outputs private.
Currently: Origo’s ICO has finished its private sale round, and is expected to have a public sale soon.
2018 Early Q3: Issue ERC20 Origo token
2018 December (Originis): Test Net release with confidential transactions enabled
2019 September (Medietas): Main Net release, ERC20 tokens will convert to Origo token, convertible to a 1:1 ratio
2019 December (Adscensus): Enable Built-in privacy preserving smart contracts
2020 June (Infinitas): Enable developers to create their own Privacy Preserving, Secure and Verifiable smart contracts
Origo’s consensus algorithm addresses scalability as a major concern- in fact, the team believes it is one of the main hurdles that prevent widespread adoption. Privacy, as a factor of scalability, is even more critical to build a platform that supports real world applications. There are several proposals to facilitate proper scalability: optimized consensus, sharding, and an enhanced virtual machine.
To optimize consensus, a group of nodes should be able to reach agreement on a value while being resilient to failure of nodes, network partitioning, and message delays. The Bitcoin network was certainly innovative in that it created an open, permissionless, and decentralized network. However, Origo acknowledges the issue of sustainability- Bitcoin consumes massive amounts of energy to run. It is not ideal to facilitate a platform for widespread adoption. Origo will operate a hybrid consensus protocol, in that it achieves classical consensus without permissioned settings.
An identity chain was designed to address Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance. pBFT is adopted as the consensus of the transaction chain, with a periodic validator election to select a fixed but configurable number of validators. The validators are randomly selected from nodes recorded in the identity chain.
Similar to the Ethereum network, Origo plans to use sharding as a means of solving scalability. Sharding on the Origo network operates on a computational and state layer. Computationally, nodes will be split into multiple groups, where each group processes a subset of transactions. The network will then be linearly scalable with an increasing number of groups as the network grows. State sharding indicates nodes are sharded to store partial block data. But state sharding is not without its challenges — it requires extensive work to make it secure, and requires cross shard communication, (which could hurt overall throughput).
Lastly, the virtual machine aims to be the runtime environment for smart contract executions. It is based on WebAssembly, a size-and-load-time-efficient format. It is currently being developed by a W3C Community Group (the main international standards organizations of the World Wide Web.) It is based on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), and operates entirely on Solidity. The biggest differentiator is Origo VM’s ability to both run publicly and privately to preserve smart contract executions.
The three roles involved within the protocol are: parties (a set of users participating in smart contracts), the blockchain (the distributed ledger recording transactions), and the executor (a special party that facilitates the execution of the smart contracts). Inspired heavily by Hawk, the protocol aims to create a three-tiered process to commit, execute, and settle private functions.
Zero Knowledge Proof
ZPK is the primary technique behind the Origo network to facilitate privacy and reliability of contract executions. In ZPK, two parties (the prover and verifier), work together to prove the validity of a transaction while preserving privacy of inputs and outputs. It must satisfy, completeness, soundness, and zero knowledge. Creating a ZPK protocol shields transaction information of the input and output of a smart contract.
Origo proposes four major contributions to maintain a private smart contract network.
1. Privacy Preserving Application Platform
Origo’s Preserving Application Platform (PPAP) guards the input/output data privacy and transaction privacy for dApps. It works in tandem with the zero knowledge proof framework.
2. Off-chain Computation
To facilitate input/output data privacy, Origo will execute its dApps in an off-chain environment, which will then be submitted to the main chain for verification. Computation stages occur in both off and on-chain environments. The execution and proof of correctness of the dApp occurs off-chain; an added step of verification of computation and execution is done on-chain. The zero knowledge proof ensures the public blockchain maintains the privacy of inputs/outputs but also verifies the validity of the off-chain dApp execution.
3. Scalable Architecture
The Origo network will implement numerous promising technologies that focus on enhancing the consensus protocol, computational and state sharding, and a Virtual Machine for improved application runtimes.
4. Future research and development work
An ongoing process of active research and development will provide support for cross chain interoperability with other privacy-preserving dApps and formal verification tools.
Origo is comprised of several entities: the Origo Foundation, based in Singapore, and Next Innovation Limited (the token issuer). The team’s deep understanding of blockchain technology and protocol development along with its massive potential has caught the attention of several large investors, including Polychain Capital and FBG Capital.
Origo’s website does not list a team of C-suite officers, rather it provides brief descriptions of its team of core contributors.
Yijia Zhang — a former Google Assistant founding team member and tech lead, Zhang was also involved with developing Google Ads, Search and Gmail. Like Fang, Zhang has an MS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS in Computer Science from Tsinghua University.
The types of dApps that can operate on the Origo network span a variety of industries. In finance, the team foresees dApps that will streamline private exchanges, credit scoring, online lending, insurance, and options and futures contracts. In enterprise, dApps can facilitate salary/bonus contracts, employee stock incentive plans, supply chain contracts, and corporate compliance. In healthcare, Origo dApps can aid in personalized medicine, diagnostics, and documentation of medical records. In addition to participating in the overall IoT, Origo can aid in fundraising, auctions, and voting- all processes that require a considerable degree of privacy of inputs and outputs.
Origo plans to launch an ERC20 token in Q3 of 2018. Currently, Origo does not allow citizens of China or the United States to participate (unless designated as a U.S. Qualified Person). It is not specified in its whitepaper how many tokens will be issued. The Whitelist registration form will be released at 0:00 PST on June 21st, 2018, according to its official Twitter account.
In its first incentive set, the Origo Token will serve a similar “gas fee” role as ETH on Ethereum. Those who actively participate and contribute will be assigned tokens for their efforts. Parties, executors, and validators will also get decision-making rights to allow them to decide on charging transaction fees.
Amidst the recent concerns and controversies of personal privacy, Origo is at an opportunistic position to change the way smart contracts and transactions are protected from the prying eyes. The project is backed with real technical science as well as a very qualified team of cryptographers, engineers, and mathematicians. Yet, there is much work to be done — Ethereum is still growing and improving at an extremely fast pace, and other smart contract protocol networks like NEO, EOS, and Cardano are beginning to catch momentum. Regardless, the industry is still young and we believe that Origo may soon be a real contender in the race to become one of the leading smart contract protocols. Time will tell, but today we are very bullish on Origo.
DISCLAIMER: We are in no way associated with the Origo team. Neither is this meant to be financial advice. Whatever follows just reflects our understanding of the project, and our personal opinion on its outlook. Here is a link to their official whitepapers.
Edited by Han Yoon.