IOSG: Demystifying Automata, the High-Performance Privacy Middleware

Automata’s two products, Conveyor and Witness, have their own focus, with the former targeting MEV-related issues and the latter focusing on anonymous voting in DAO.

IOSG has backed Automata with two consecutive rounds of investment, and as an institutional investor who has seen the project grow along the way, we have seen the rapid iteration of the project’s product technology path, as well as the rapid positioning of the development path and becoming a shining star in the Web 3.0 wave. Today we will use this article to tell the product logic and technology path of Automata project and let more people know their story.

Privacy is one of the most important needs for users in the cryptocurrency space. Some of the biggest problems we encountered in Ether Layer1, such as MEV (Miner Extractable Value), were partly caused by the lack of privacy. Because the blockchain is inherently transparent, user identities and transaction information are broadcast across the network on the chain, which gives third parties with ulterior motives (often referred to as malicious people) an opportunity to take advantage. They will try to obtain and use this information to profit at the expense of the user, and in this case, value may be lost without the user’s knowledge.

Front-running attacks, sandwich attacks, etc. are typical examples of MEV. For example, when a user wants to buy a large amount of tokens on Uniswap, this action may cause the price of the tokens to fluctuate dramatically, and then a third party (malicious person) notices this information by looking at the mempool and preempts the user by increasing the transaction fee before the user buys. Then when the user buys again, the price of the token is much higher. The third-party trader will then sell at a higher price after the user buys and make a profit. This is a small example of how you can profit from tracking other people’s transactions, but this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much users lose due to the lack of privacy, and the real impact goes far beyond that.

As we look forward to the mainstream adoption of blockchain applications and cryptocurrencies, from payments to DAO governance voting, from lending to more complex use cases such as those we see in traditional finance, privacy will become even more important. Automata Network has come along at the right time to bring privacy better to the blockchain space by providing high-performance privacy middleware and seamless integration into platforms like Ether and Polkadot.

Automata System Design
Automata Network is building a middleware layer that brings privacy and integrity computing to current blockchain applications. It provides privacy services by combining TEE (Trusted Execution Environment) hardware with Oblivious RAM algorithms and creating a secure space where user data cannot be viewed, changed, or accessed by third parties, including nodes in the system. A secure space is a network of nodes that uses trusted hardware (Intel SGX) and specific algorithms to hide user activity (Oblivious RAM) from any third party, including Automata and the node operators.

The Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is known to be an execution environment that provides security features such as isolated execution, and applications executed using TEE have integrity and more confidentiality of assets. Before diving into Automata Network’s products and their use cases, it is important to emphasize that ORAM technology provides an additional layer of security on top of TEE and other TEE-based eco-projects. While TEE already provides security to a certain extent, a malicious actor can still obtain information by observing the transaction execution process and accessing the memory pool. ORAM prevents malicious actors from obtaining information related to user activity by hiding the hardware memory access pattern, i.e., it provides a steganographic algorithm that avoids the leakage of additional information during the computation. This is the first application of ORAM in a blockchain project, and the project team has published leading academic research on the development of ORAM technology in top academic journals.

Automata Network is built on the Substrate framework and consists of three different layers. The first layer is the control layer, which is responsible for state transitions, proof verification, and coordination between Geode nodes. The second layer is where the computation is performed by providing a “safe space” for the Geode nodes. The final service layer is for developers who can use the privacy features of Automata Network to build applications and integrate with other applications in the domain without having to run Geode nodes themselves. In contrast to other TEE projects in the space today, the Automata team is not focused on enterprise use cases, but aims to bring better privacy to existing blockchain applications. Automata’s two initial products, Conveyor and Witness, each have their own focus, with Conveyor targeting MEV-related problems such as preemptive trading and sandwich attacks, and Witness focusing on another important use case, anonymous voting in DAO.

Conveyor: Solving the MEV problem
MEV is a pressing problem for the ethereum community, and Conveyor provides a better way to address it. MEV is closely related to the privacy issues of the blockchain, which are common not only to the ethereum Layer1, but also to other POW or POS mainchains and Layer2. The two biggest reasons are the public memory pool and the fact that miners find a potential transaction and then preempt it by taking the order for a higher fee, making themselves the biggest beneficiaries.

IOSG: Demystifying Automata, the High-Performance Privacy Middleware

From the user’s point of view, processing transactions with MEV with Conveyor is the same experience as with Uniswap, for example, the user deposits ETH and then exchanges the ETH for various desired assets. In fact, Conveyor uses Automata Network-specific token gtoken (gETH, gBTC, etc.) to help users implement privacy-protected transactions. Before a transaction begins, the user’s token is packaged into a gtoken, which allows the transaction to take place through a private relay using a Geode node. The packaged tokens are processed through Conveyor, a process that does not change the order of the transaction and does not provide information about the contents of the transaction. Only after the transaction is executed, the tokens are unwrapped and restored according to the user’s needs.

Another important feature of Automata is that it is compatible with all current applications on multiple blockchains, and it is very easy to integrate these projects. Existing blockchain applications can be integrated into the Automata network through a simple SDK without major changes to their codebase. automata acts as a middleware layer that quickly and seamlessly links platforms and applications with the goal of providing privacy services to the entire Web3 ecosystem.

Witness: Privacy Voting via DAO
In this bullish round, DAOs have regained attention, with many high-profile projects preferring DAOs as a governance method. In the past few months, DAO projects have been increasing and the amount of money managed by DAOs has been growing rapidly. We expect this trend to accelerate and that additional use cases for DAO will soon emerge.

IOSG: Demystifying Automata, the High-Performance Privacy Middleware

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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