Blockchain smart contracts project Oasis Labs launches
Oasis Labs
Credit: Oasis Labs

Blockchain smart contracts project Oasis Labs launches

Oasis Labs announced its launch yesterday, revealing that it is building a new computing platform that enables cloud-scale, real-world applications with decentralised trust and privacy protection.

The privacy-first, high-performance cloud computing platform, built on blockchain, is designed to allow greater innovation between collaborating parties, while enabling users to reclaim control of their data without relying on a central organisation.

The Oasis Labs team has been assembled from both business and academic spheres, with backgrounds in security and deep learning.

It is led by CEO Dawn Song, a MacArthur Fellow and professor of Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley. The company claims that she is ranked as the most cited scholar in computer security.

Oasis Labs will offer smart contract technology with privacy built into each layer of the stack, from the software level right down to the hardware.

The startup is also promising high performance at scale, not just when it comes to transaction throughput, but also in the face of complex workloads such as machine learning (that will be enabled by a rich programming framework).

The future smart contracts leader?

TechCrunch reports that Oasis Labs has secured $45 million from 75 investors, including some of the leading names in venture capital and cryptocurrency funding, to bring the technology to market.

CEO Dawn Song said in an email:

We use a combination of trusted hardware and cryptographic techniques (such as secure multiparty computation) to enable smart contracts to compute over this encrypted data, without revealing anything about the underlying data.

Oasis Labs’s technology has been inspired by the team’s decades of research experience and industry collaboration, including recent work on the open source differential privacy project, in collaboration with Uber, to protect the privacy of sensitive data while simultaneously enabling data analytics.

The open source keystone project, carried out alongside research groups at MIT and UC Berkeley to develop open source secure hardware, also underpins the new company’s approach to smart contracts.

That project highlighted the growing need for new secure technologies to support cloud-based transactions: “First, the shift towards cloud computing has driven high demand for security in the cloud, because it requires all of the data computation and storage to take place on remote machines.

“Second, there is a growing need to compute over private data from multiple sources. For example, mutually distrusting organisations may want to train collaborative machine learning models over confidential data.”

Internet of Business says

Existing smart contract platforms have met with limited adoption to date, not least due to expensive consensus operations. Oasis Labs’s new network protocol, with its ability to scale proof-of-stake functions independently, depending on workload, does away with the need for heavyweight consensus processes – separating execution from consensus.

It’s early days for the company, but investors have clearly seen promise in Oasis Labs’ approach to its distributed-ledger platform, and it has a team that is capable of delivering.

Elsewhere, Fetch is using AI to automate smart contracts. From government, law, supply chain and manufacturing, to healthcare, retail and the automotive industry, smart contracts will play a growing role in automating trust.

If Oasis Labs can fulfil its promise of creating a high-performance, flexible, highly secure, and easy-to-use smart contracts platform, it stands a good chance of establishing itself as a leader in a market that looks set to experience huge growth over the next few years.