Ethereum smart contracts will be able to hide their details from the public if they adopt a new technology developed by Stanford University together with Visa Research.
The researchers have created ‘Zether’, a mechanism they argue it has the capability of adding a layer of privacy on existing Ethereum smart contracts. The mechanism was developed as a smart contract that can be run individually or it can be executed by other smart contracts.
According to the researchers:
Zether, a fully-decentralized, confidential payment mechanism that is compatible with Ethereum smart contracts and other smart contract platforms. We take an account-based approach similar to Ethereum for efficiency and usability. We design a new smart contract that keeps the account balances encrypted and exposes methods to deposit, transfer and withdraw funds to/from accounts through cryptographic proofs.
However, the privacy comes at a cost. Using Zether with Ethereum smart contracts will cost roughly 0.014 ETH (1.5 U.S dollars). The researchers said that the cost is negligible compared to the level of privacy the mechanism will bring to Ethereum smart contacts.
The mechanism also has an extension that allows a sender to anonymously transact with either a single entity or a group which the sender chooses. This does not necessitate Ethereum smart contracts or any other public smart contract platform to change its underlying mechanism.
The researchers added:
Zether’s capability to lock funds to other smart contracts can make several common applications private. But, a Zether contract will never transfer funds without first checking an appropriate burn or transfer proof, even if the request comes from another smart contract whose rules do not permit illegal transfer… Even a maliciously written or insecure smart contract cannot cause Zether to misbehave.
Do you think the mechanism will make Ethereum smart contracts to be adopted in issuing sealed bid auctions?
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