Homomorphic Encryption and it’s importance for the future of modern society

4 min readJan 12, 2023

What exactly is homomorphic encryption anyway and why is it a big deal?Well, Homomorphic Encryption is a type of encryption that allows mathematical operations to be performed directly on cipher-text, as well as producing an encrypted result. When you decrypt the result of the operation, the result is the same as if the same operations were performed on plaintext.

Did I lose you? Essentially this means that it is possible to perform computations on encrypted data without the need to decrypt it first. This can be useful in a plethora of use cases as it allows sensitive data to be processed and verified in a secure manner without ever revealing what the data is. That’s a pretty impressive feat and it’s also part of how the DERO blockchain works.

DERO logo in a banner
See dero.io for more information on DERO

So what’s the big deal? Everything is encrypted these days, isn’t it?

Well many things these days are encrypted but in order for any of that data to be useful, it would normally have to be decrypted first. For example, if you wanted to outsource the analysis of your personal health data to a third party, you might be not want them to have full access to all of the data. When using homomorphic encryption, you could encrypt your data before sharing it with the third party and it would allow to perform their analysis without being able to access the actual data.

Homomorphic encryption is impactful to the lives of individuals in a variety of ways, as it can help to protect their privacy and security. A few potential examples on how it could be useful are as follows:

  • Sharing data with third parties: This is kind of a given as it was mentioned in the example above but homomorphic encryption can be useful for outsourcing the analysis of sensitive personal data to third parties. It keeps your data encrypted while still being able to have computations performed upon that data.
  • Financial privacy: With blockchain technology becoming more and more prevalent in today’s internet homomorphic encryption could be used to protect blockchain data. Blockchain data and activity can often be used to link personal information to financial activity. While this type of information is useful in forensic analysis it is also very invasive for the everyday user to have all of their transactions publicly accessible without their explicit consent.

For many similar reasons there’s many ways it can be used for businesses and blockchain as well. The following list may seem very similar but as it applies to businesses has a very different impact:

  • Processing data while keeping it encrypted: The main benefit of homomorphic encryption is that it allows data to be processed while maintaining it’s encrypted state, there is no need to decrypt it first. This can be useful in a variety of contexts, such as outsourcing the analysis for sensitive data or enabling new types of cloud services, or securing distributed computing models such as blockchains. (See DEROHE)
  • Protecting privacy and securing data: Homomorphic encryption also ensures the security and privacy of data by processing it without revealing its contents. This is useful for protecting sensitive information like medical or financial records, and for complying with regulations such as HIPAA laws. It actually creates an environment in which it is easier for companies to comply with such regulations as well. If you never had the unencrypted data in the first place there is much less risk in handling it.
  • Potential for new types of computation: There is also potential to enable new types of computation specifically in regards to distributed computing. For example, secure multiparty computation was previously thought impossible but it would be using this type of technology. This could open up new possibilities for distributed systems and for enabling new types of applications and services such as the DERO blockchain that has accomplished Homomorphic Encryption as it’s means of protecting blockchain and personal data.

For these reasons alone, homomorphic encryption has the potential to be an important tool for securing data and enabling new types of distributed computing in the future. Overall, homomorphic encryption can be an important tool for businesses and individuals looking to protect the security and privacy of sensitive data. It is useful for protecting data in a distributed computing model and also on the blockchain.

While most types of encryption and methodologies for encrypting data are normally not seen as revolutionary, this is a completely different way of approaching data protection and is truly important for the future of our modern society.