Integritee, a provider of confidential computing tailored to the blockchain space that is vying for a parachain slot in the forthcoming Kusama network auctions, has raised $2 million seed funding.
The fundraising was led by investment firm LD Capital, and included AU21, DFG, FBG and OKEx Blockdream Ventures.
Bidding for parachain slots within the Polkadot ecosystem is just getting underway, with the first auctions starting this week for Kusama, a more experimental and easier-to-upgrade network than Polkadot, the more enterprise-focused big brother.
Switzerland-based Integritee’s $2 million seed round is to fund further development of the platform, co-founder Alain Brenzikofer said, rather than used for locking up tokens on Kusama as part of a crowdloan strategy (a means for token holders to lend their DOT or KSM as collateral for the parachain lease in return for rewards).
“We will not be trying to win one of the first very few slots,” Brenzikofer said in an interview. “We are planning to do a decentralized crowdloan and will soon publish our tokenomics and incentives. Bottom line is we will participate in both the Kusama and Polkadot slot auctions with a crowdloan, and we’re pretty confident to get in later on.”
Integritee combines blockchain with hardware-based trusted execution (TE) environments, in this case Intel SGX, to solve for confidentiality of data and scalability.
TE on Polkadot brings a transparent layer of public auditability to the process of remote attestation, a way of checking that some machine is running Intel SGX. Intel does this only for legal entities that have a production license with them.
In terms of scaling an already capacious Polkadot ecosystem, the guarantees of SGX allow for TE-validated sidechains, rather than relying on complex encryption.
This allows for the decoupling of decentralized apps inside sidechains that are validated by TE, said Brenzikofer, meaning a much lighter consensus protocol since validators are already trusted and there’s less networking overhead.
“We believe that TEs as commodity hardware are a fast way to a large market for decentralized, confidential computing,” Brenzikofer said. “So, confidentiality in a much more production-ready way than using lots of cryptography that’s still very academic and doesn’t generalize well. We can bring confidentiality to blockchains a lot more efficiently than with tech like zero knowledge proofs, ring signatures, multi-party computation, fully homomorphic encryption.”
Brenzikofer says he understands the reluctance among some to accept TE. Even with public auditability, there still has to be trust in the manufacturer, which is a weak link for decentralization fundamentalists.
“I think that if we want to scale, we need to find these intermediate solutions that are better than what we have today, but maybe not as good as it can get,” Brenzikofer said.