What is Homomorphic encryption? The ability to perform data exchange and transformations exclusively with encrypted data, only decrypting it when an authorised person needs to see a result. It is a method of performing calculations on encrypted data without decrypting them first. It converts data into encrypted text that can be analysed and worked with as if it were still in its original form. It enables complex operations/processing to be performed on encrypted data without compromising the encryption.
Storing datasets in fully homomorphic repositories removes all chances for unplanned disclosures. Only those entities with a private key can query the database, run analytics on the data and see results. This offers a secure leeway to make use of the distributed ledger technology in an as-is basis. With homomorphic encryption techniques used to store data such as smart contracts, positions, transactions over the blockchain, there won’t be any significant changes in the public distributed ledger (eg blockchain) properties and taking care of privacy concerns associated.
The use of homomorphic encryption technique will not only offer privacy protection, but readily access to encrypted data over public blockchain for auditing and other purposes (eg add-on services). Use cases can be via C2C, B2B, B2C, C2B from 3rd party services such as ride-sharing, digital marketplace, search services, or medical services.
Using the example of electronic payment protocol* for customer merchant (or a non established trusted entity). Current situation requires a trusted (signed) payment description that be sent from the merchant to the customer. Using homomorphic encryption, this is no longer required and the destination “account” number for the payment is solely created on the customer side. It eliminates the need for any encrypted or authenticated communication in the protocol and is secure even if the merchant’s digital infrastructure is compromised. Payment transaction in itself serves as a time stamped receipt for the customer.
Real life applications are not limited to providers, but as well consumers (eg financial institutions, research organisations, education, dat miners) anyone/entity who wants to be able to share data without compromising data security regardless of the environmental or other differences in context.
The impact of homomorphic encryption in the digital ecosystem will increasingly enable co-operation/collaboration between multiple parties possible especially when there is limited to no trust established as it protects and renders it not vulnerable to unauthorised access and full privacy.
* Homomorphic payment addresses and the pay-to-contract protocol
* A Survey on Homomorphic Encryption Schemes: Theory and Implementation
* How to make Fully Homomorphic Encryption “practical and usable”