Aleo: Building the private web

    16 Mar 2022

    Aleo, the first decentralized, open-source platform to enable fully private and programmable applications, provides users access to a world of truly personalized web services without giving up control of their private data.

    As a blockchain that is private-by-default, open-source, and built for the web, Aleo is uniquely positioned to address the shortcomings of blockchain adoption.

    Just a limited percentage of technologists, activists, and investors use blockchains. While most blockchains do not require permission, this does not mean that they are open to everyone, as the concepts and terminology present genuine limitations. There’s a lot more to it than an onboarding issue.

    Today, there is no such thing as private web data. Someone else owns it if it’s available on the internet. The web’s business model is to offer free services in exchange for personal information. This approach is outdated because it puts users against suppliers. The user is compelled to give up their data in exchange for desired services, at the expense of their personal privacy. The provider is responsible for managing user data in order to provide their service and is responsible for the consequences of storing, processing, and reporting it.

    Aleo is a decentralized, open-source network that will offer robust support for building, deploying, and running private applications on the web.

    The Aleo team believes that the open, decentralized nature of this foundation will provide a far stronger incentive to participate.

    Aleo users should not have to hand over their private data. Instead, they should be able to run their data via the provider’s transparent algorithms. Users’ data should not be stored, processed, or reported by providers. Instead, they should be able to delegate their work to the user and only need to check the response. By offering services in this manner, neither the user nor the supplier knows more than they need to know, and the user retains control over personal data.

    Aleo is the first developer platform for building fully private, scalable, and cost-effective applications. Using zero-knowledge cryptography, Aleo moves smart contract execution off-chain to enable a diverse range of decentralized applications that are both entirely private and can scale to thousands of transactions per second.

    Built on an open, public blockchain, Aleo brings all the flexibility of Ethereum but with a more scalable architecture in which miners don’t need to re-run every transaction, but simply verify their correctness.

    To understand Aleo’s significance, you need a basic understanding of blockchain, the transparent and secure digital ledger which uses a network of computers to verify the truth of a piece of data on one computer. If the distributed and immutable ledger confirms that the data is the same across that network, then that data is verified.

    Blockchains, such as Ethereum, have become popular for hosting blockchain games with nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which use blockchain to authenticate unique digital items in games. But those blockchains can consume a lot of energy when they use the network to verify every little detail in a game, like who beat a boss or won a match.

    “The fundamental challenge with doing that type of rich logic on-chain is that you’re bottlenecking the network for everybody. And so the value proposition for what we bring to the table is fundamentally using a technology called zero-knowledge proofs,” said Howard Wu, CEO of Aleo.

    “It’s a form of cryptography that allows for basically verifiable computations. What that means is that an application runs a piece of code and you offer a proof that this result came from that code. That magic basically lets you shortcut and fast track a ton of steps that you otherwise would have the network run for you,” he added.

    For developers, Aleo provides an end-to-end pipeline to write, run, and deploy private applications seamlessly, using its complete set of tools for programmable zero-knowledge, listed below:

    Leo – a programming language that introduces a high-level syntax that makes it easy to write and intuitive to express logic in zero-knowledge. Leo converts a developer’s high-level code into zero-knowledge circuits.

    Aleo Studio – an interactive development environment for writing zero-knowledge applications in Leo.

    Aleo Package Manager — the first package manager for zero-knowledge circuits. It includes collaborative features like teams and organizations to make it easy to work with friends and colleagues on private applications, as well as making it easy to import and publish new packages.

    snarkOS – a decentralized operating system for private applications.

    Founded in 2019, San Francisco-based Aleo raised $200 million to build a platform for private blockchain-based applications with support from investors Kora Management LP and SoftBank Vision Fund 2.

    Also, Aleo has recently partnered with blockchain game infrastructure company Forte to incorporate Aleo’s zero-knowledge proof technology to dramatically expand its ability to fuel blockchain-based economies in new and existing video games.

    Forte will use Aleo’s scalable architecture to unlock new depths of gameplay and build more inclusive and immersive gaming ecosystems. Forte is already using Aleo’s technology to mint, transfer, and trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for in-game items within several in-game economies to serve an existing, real-world use case.

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