In a recent X thread, Input Output Global Inc. (IOG), the driving force behind the Cardano blockchain, has unveiled that its data protection sidechain, Midnight, will be launching on the devnet “soon”. This platform is designed to securely safeguard sensitive commercial and personal data, leveraging the power of zero-knowledge (ZK) technology.

Cardano Sidechain Midnight Is Set To Launch

Zero-knowledge technology, or ZK, is a cryptographic method that allows for the verification of certain information without actually revealing it. The process involves a prover, who holds a secret they wish not to disclose, and a verifier. The prover convinces the verifier of the secret’s authenticity without revealing the secret itself. The system then generates a ZK proof as validation, which the verifier can validate without ever learning the actual secret.

To illustrate, IOG provided the ‘treasure chest’ analogy: Imagine having a secret code to unlock a treasure chest. You wish to prove to your friends that you possess the code without revealing it. After unlocking the chest out of their sight, they return to find the chest unlocked, proving you know the code without ever sharing it.

Among the various types of ZKPs, ZK Snarks stand out due to their efficiency and strong security guarantees. IOG describes them as a ‘Swiss army knife’ for blockchains and distributed ledgers. Their applications span across confidential smart contracts, identity management, secure voting, scalability solutions and more.

IOG’s dedication to the potential of ZKPs in blockchain technology is evident. Their establishment of ZK-Lab in 2022 underscores their commitment. The future promises even greater integration of ZKPs in decentralized solutions, potentially revolutionizing the landscape of secure smart contracts and confidential asset management.

As revealed in the Cardano360 show, August Edition, IOG had already hinted at the upcoming launch of the Cardano Midnight privacy sidechain. Key highlights include applications for devnet access opening this September, an invitation to Zero Knowledge developers to join, with space reserved for only 100 teams and the promise of a dedicated website and social media channels.

IOG Aims To Surpass Existing Privacy Coins

Already on November 18, 2022, IOG announced that they were in the process of launching Midnight with its native token, DUST. This sidechain’s primary focus is data protection, utilizing the ZK protocol (ZKP) technology.

Charles Hoskinson, IOG’s CEO, emphasized that Midnight aims to surpass existing privacy-coin projects. The goal is to enable developers to create dapps with enhanced data protection, safeguarding companies and individuals from potential data leaks or censorship. Instead of default anonymity, the team is striving for a balance between safety and auditability, aiming to deter financial malfeasance while upholding privacy.

Significantly, IOG is keen on making the development process accessible. Developers can use familiar programming languages like JavaScript, avoiding the complexities of zk-SNARKs. Collaborations are also underway with the Hyperledger consortium, aiming to integrate blockchain technologies into large-scale corporate operations like supply-chain management.

For Cardano enthusiasts, the introduction of Midnight promises added value to the Cardano blockchain. As an incentive, users staking on the Cardano network could receive DUST tokens in addition to ADA.

At press time, ADA was trading at $0.2492, after bouncing off the December 30, 2022 low.

Cardano price
ADA bounces off 9-month low, 1-day chart | Source: ADAUSD on TradingView.com

Featured image from iStock, chart from TradingView.com

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