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MPC has been a field of data security and privacy study for approximately four decades. While it has been the subject of extensive ongoing research it was not implemented in a real-world production setting until 2008, when several of Blockdaemon's co-founders and others created novel cryptographic protocols to implement a secure auction for Danish coops.
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Since then, a handful of companies have been actively working with and optimizing the implementation of MPC to support different use cases. In addition to adapting MPC to support new applications some MPC practitioners have been highly focused on engineering optimal implementations of MPC to support near imperceptible latencies, increased resiliency, and near limitless scale. At Blockdaemon, we refer to this as Advanced MPC. This blog reviews some of the foundational building blocks of an advanced MPC design.
As with any technology, the basic architectural approach chosen for implementation will have implications for a system’s flexibility, performance, scale, and resilience.
The majority of MPC implementations today employ a monolithic architecture. This approach offers certain benefits, such as simplifying the initial design and achievement of reasonable performance with moderate optimization efforts. However, it can also result in material architectural limitations on scale, resiliency, and service performance.
At Blockdaemon we have designed and optimized our MPC systems using a cloud-native microservices architecture. The result is an architecture that enjoys many of the same benefits of more mainstream cloud-native microservices platforms such as AWS. As described by Amazon in their write-up on Monolithic vs. Microservices Architecture, a microservices architecture is inherently more scalable, resilient, and yield higher performance. For computationally intensive applications like MPC this difference in architecture can yield orders of magnitude better scale and performance, and reduce the cost and complexity for providing high-availability systems designs.
The nature of MPC requires multiple parties to iteratively conduct computations and exchange data (without disclosing any secrets) between the parties. Depending on the MPC algorithms these iterative rounds can be a few or many. When the parties are in separate locations, which optimizes security, communication latency and computational latencies can accumulate and result in longer than desired response times.
Blockdaemon's founders and cryptographers have researched techniques, published papers, and patented approaches to allow many of these operations to be executed in advance of the request for a particular MPC service, allowing the latency between a service request and service execution to be reduced to 12% compared to the latency of alternative MPC schemes.
When properly implemented, even basic forms of MPC provide incredibly robust security, suitable for exchanges and other financial institutions. However certain applications require the highest level of security that is still practical to attain. Advanced MPC supports the option for more than two MPC nodes to further raise the threshold of security and further reduce the unlikely potential for a security compromise.
While basic forms of MPC inherently support the option for more nodes, the performance impacts can be material. Advanced MPC systems should be designed to provide optimal performance and scale, while maximizing security.
The combination of Blockdaemon's microservices architecture, pre-processing, and other patented and trade-secrets yield compelling ASAP benefits over alternative schemes.
A stands for Adaptability. Blockdaemon's wallet-oriented MPC solutions have been adapted to support a wide variety of requirements, ranging from 2 of 2, 2 of 3, 3 of 3 and other threshold values (n, t) of MPC parties; to parties running on VMs, containers, mobile phones, or personal devices. Given the rapidly evolving nature of many markets the ability to rapidly adapt and evolve to changing requirements will be of increasing value.
S stands for Scalability. Blockdaemon's MPC designs can support massive scale. The nature of a microservices architecture allows for capacity to be added to subsystems where needed without scaling everything else. In the case of digital asset wallets, the result is the ability to scale to support 100s to millions of users and 100s to millions of wallets. In contrast, monolithic MPC wallet designs frequently result in limitations to support just 100s of wallets or users.
A also stands for Availability. All threshold-based MPC designs should support the ability to maintain secure operations even when some of the parties become corrupt or unavailable. Blockdaemon's microservices architecture introduces new levels of high availability just like other cloud-compute platforms. Making a superior design even better, Blockdaemon also supports built-in backup and recovery services as part of the MPC framework.
P stands for Performance. Blockdaemon's demanding requirements for MPC algorithm design efficiency combine with the scalability of a microservices architecture to deliver unmatched MPC performance. While alternative schemes are frequently limited to 10s or 100s of transactions per second (TPS), Blockdaemon's ThresholdSig MPC wallet technology support 1000s to 10,000’s TPS.
While MPC as a technology holds incredible promise for solving real-world challenges, the solutions resulting from different MPC implementations can have a material impact on your offering’s performance, scale, adaptability, cost-efficiency, and user experience. As a result, it is recommended to conduct considerable due diligence on actual system design and performance and request engineering benchmarks of system parameters that are critical to your business.
If you have any questions or want to learn more, contact Blockdaemon's sales team today. Get started on your journey towards a more secure, scalable, and future-proof digital asset management system.