Lightstreams: Blockchain Confidentiality

Michael Smolenski
Oct 11, 2017 · 6 min read

I am pleased to announce, after a year of development, we are all set to launch Lightstreams, a peer-to-peer digital publishing network.

Lightstreams — peer-to-peer content publishing

Lightstreams is an Amazon-like place for all things digital, but unlike Amazon, Lightstreams is a decentralised marketplace, where content is sold directly from sellers to buyers in order to give a better deal and experience for creators, authors, artists, and fans.

Lightstreams will initially focus on being a place for buying, selling and sharing digital content — from books, magazines, newspapers to streaming music and video. However, Lightstreams actually has potential to be a lot more, let me explain why…

What is different about Lightstreams?

What sets this project apart from others, is that we are first and foremost a team of engineers who have focused on a particular blockchain problem that we wanted to solve. Rather than simply publish a white paper with some vague ambitions, we set out to prove to ourselves that Lightstreams was possible and today we are proud to say that we have a working prototype and Test Network that is the result of that hard work.

So what is the problem we wanted to solve?

Problem: Blockchain transactions are not confidential. All data stored in a smart contract is available in the clear for all to view.

Up until now, there has not been a sound solution for controlling access to sensitive information found in smart contracts. Something that we believe is essential for most blockchain solutions to actually be viable.

What is confidentiality?

Confidentiality is not simply about keeping information private.

We know that it is fairly straightforward to make a communication channel between two parties private. We use encryption. Confidentiality is partly about keeping messages private, but also much more…

Confidentiality is also not simply about being anonymous so that no one can trace your transactions back to you.

What I am talking about is the ability for an owner or a group of owners to be able to grant permissions to others to control access to information.

Why is this important?

Well, it is something that you’ll find in almost all business applications today. Sensitive information, such as customer’s personal information is hidden behind company firewalls. Companies do not to simply encrypt the information and leave it sitting on an open server for anyone to get their hands on. If they did so, even if someone could not be bothered attempting to decrypt it by brute force, there is still a lot you can learn from the data. Such as where it is coming from, the frequency that it is recorded and patterns found in the encryption across files.

Being an anonymous customer is also not very practical for many business cases either where knowing your customer (KYC) is important.

The best security is not to let anyone access and also have knowledge about what sensitive information exists.

What we really need is a decentralised authorisation protocol.

A Decentralised Authorisation Protocol

By decentralised, we mean that in a completely peer-to-peer manner, owners of a smart contract can dynamically grant or revoke permissions to others so that only those they authorise can access the information and accordingly execute those smart contracts.

Smart Contract Permissions

We do this by removing the state information from the smart contract and storing it in a decentralised secure vault along with any other file the owner would like to protect.

Most blockchain projects today try to get around this challenge of privacy and confidentiality by introducing a centralised database somewhere in their design. However, this defeats some of the attractive features of the blockchain to be an open and democratising system. Such designs just create more silos of information where new centres of power will act as the gate-keepers of information.

We don’t need more silos.

We believe the decentralised authorisation protocol of Lightstreams will unlock the true power of smart contracts, by breaking silos and unbundle markets that have for a long time been dominated by a few.

So what is a simple problem that Lightstreams can solve today and have an impact in a big way?

Problem: The music industry

Music artists are fed up with the new centres of power that distribute their work such as Spotify. These new intermediaries take most of the revenue and leave the artist with not much at all.

Taylor Swift refuses to publish on Spotify.

This undermines the entire music industry.

For example, unable to support themselves on their work alone, a hopeful musician may give up on their dream to become a rockstar. This will ultimately hurt listeners who will forever lose discovering this new talent.

Solution: Direct sales

We believe listeners can still have cheap music and artists can achieve decent revenue if we remove the intermediaries from the equation altogether. With Lightstreams, artists will be able to sell their work directly to their fans by-passing intermediaries such as Spotify, iTunes and YouTube.

Direct sales of music on the Lightstreams network.

Listeners will also be much happier to know that the money they spend will go directly to the artist and not for filling the pockets of middlemen.

An added bonus of using Lightstreams is by purchasing content directly from the artist, the artist will become connected with their fans. A musician can show their appreciation through a direct feedback channel, say thanks, and maybe offer their fans discounted tickets and alike.

When will we launch?

As mentioned, we already have our Test Network up and running. Developers today can download our app to have a play and also synchronise a local instance of the Lightstreams blockchain.

The next stage is the launch of the main net of Lightstreams which we plan to be in early Q1 2018 at the same time as the Token Sale of Lightstream coins (PHT)

If you would like to participate in the Lightstreams Token sale, register your details on our mailing list, that can be found our main website so that you do not miss out when the token sale date is announced:

Final Word

Lightstreams is a very ambitious project with the audacious goal to disrupt oligopoly markets such as Amazon, Spotify, and Netflix.

We believe the technology that has been developed by our team gives the power to unbundle these markets and more, starting with the way content is published online today.

I am super excited about the upcoming network launch!

Please feel free to post any comments below or join our Telegram group to join the conversation.

Telegram Group

If you like anything that you have read… please clap so others can be informed. Thanks!

Who am I?

I have spent a number of years as a software developer and architect building real-time, distributed applications at firms such as Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and the London Stock Exchange. My experience designing blockchain solutions, include the Open Mobility System for the Share & Charge blockchain project and I have won blockchain awards at the Citibank Mobile Challenge and the Consensus 2017 Hackathon.

Lightstreams — The Blockchain for Speed and Privacy

Michael Smolenski

Written by

CEO - Lightstreams

Lightstreams — The Blockchain for Speed and Privacy

The decentralized network for fast, privacy-enabled applications.

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