In this series, we’re thrilled to reveal our eight Binance Labs Incubation Program Season 1 teams and their projects. Learn about Nym below and in this video.
- Location: Neuchâtel, Switzerland
- Founders: Harry Halpin, George Danezis, Aggelos Kiayias
- Team: 7
In your words, what is Nym?
Nym Technologies is creating a tokenized mix-net to support “full stack” privacy-enhancing services, with an initial focus on anonymizing cryptocurrency transactions at the network level. Nym plans to support network level anonymity for the top privacy coins, and is also working on an anonymous Bitcoin sidechain providing fully anonymous Bitcoin transactions. Rather than being paid for mining, mix-nodes can be paid for mixing traffic, helping everyone achieve better privacy. Mix-net technology should allow us to defeat even adversaries with the capability to monitor every single network transaction, like the NSA.
Tell us about your founders. What is their story?
Our founders met through the PANORAMIX project, which received five million euros of funding from the European Commission to create a mix-net infrastructure for Europe. Aggelos Kiayias started as Project Coordinator of PANORAMIX, while George Danezis led the scientific research and Harry Halpin led the development of the new privacy-enhanced NYM token. Harry also brought legendary Bitcoin coder Amir Taaki on board to start working on integrating the Nym mix-net and token into a privacy-enhanced wallet.
What makes your project unique?
Nym Technologies is bringing together a number of cutting-edge privacy-enhancing technologies that have never been brought to market before, despite being studied in the cryptographic literature for decades:
- NYM tokens can serve as anonymous authentication credentials, which can embed arbitrary attributes in a privacy-enhanced manner. This scheme works like a decentralized and privacy-enhanced version of OAuth, the underlying technology of “Facebook Connect.”
- The credentials also provide access to the Nym mix-net. A mix-net is an anonymizing overlay network, similar to but more powerful than Tor. Unlike Tor, a mix-net “mixes” (randomly permutes) messages, and features dummy traffic and delays in order to defeat even powerful adversaries like the NSA.
- The mix-net is incentivised in a manner similar to Bitcoin, but rather than being rewarded for solving hash puzzles, mix-nodes get rewarded for anonymizing traffic: mixing rather than mining! Privacy-enhanced services can also use the NYM token to allow people to login and pay for services without having to collect sensitive personal data and payment information.
What are your major achievements and status updates?
We have made major achievements in building: we have an initial codebase supporting the NYM tokens and privacy-enhanced credentials, and we have developed a detailed go-to-market strategy. On Binance Labs demo-day, we came out of stealth mode with our website and Twitter, and were featured on Coindesk.
Since then we’ve hit the road, including organizing a panel with Daniel Bernstein and Binance Labs on cryptocurrencies and privacy at the Chaos Computer Congress, and a discussion with Roger Dingledine of Tor, where we argued for the advantages of decentralized blockchain models over government funded technology.
Importantly, we also received support from the European Commission for Nym’s deployment of a mix-net based on the European Commission funded PANORAMIX research. We also received confirmation from an independent European lawyer that it is not only legal to run a mix-net, but compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation!
What are your plans for the first half of 2019?
Our plans in the first half of 2019 are to launch the Nym Project. This involves two steps:
- Close our seed round of funding and expand the team, including hiring researchers and developers that we worked with on the PANORAMIX project.
- Launch our whitepaper and a test-net, including integration with a privacy-enhanced wallet. This should allow users to send cryptocurrency transactions and messages though the network and get a taste of the power of the NYM token, while providing an incentivised revenue stream for the mix-net and allowing us to stress test our network with real-world users.
How was the Binance Labs Incubation Program?
It was great working with the team at Binance during the Binance Labs Incubation Program. Here are some of our highlights:
- The Binance Labs Incubation team gave us access to mentors that provided invaluable advice, helping us navigate the rocky road of creating and managing a new startup and developing our long term strategy.
- Binance Labs has a great network. As we are primarily based in Europe, the incubator helped us expand our contacts globally, with Binance Labs introducing us to many top-notch investors in Silicon Valley and in Asia that we would not have had access to otherwise. Binance Labs also gave us great media opportunities, such as speaking at the Binance Conference in Singapore.
- The other Binance Labs teams kept us working hard, and we enjoyed working with a diverse group of teams and helping each other with common problems.
- A big highlight for everyone in attendance on demo day was Amir Taaki calling in from Europe to demo his new Nym-enabled DarkWallet 2.0 prototype!
Applications are open now for Season 2 of the Binance Labs Incubation Program.
Apply by February 28, 2019 at https://www.binancelabs.co/ to join the strongest network of early-stage blockchain developer teams.
About Binance Labs
Binance Labs is an infrastructure impact fund and an initiative launched by Binance to incubate, invest in, and empower blockchain and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, projects, and communities. The mission of Binance Labs is to solve the problems that matter most to the ecosystem and change the world for the better. To learn more about Binance Labs, visit: https://labs.binance.com/