By Pierre
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Mind Network - a Delayed Q&A

One of the most crowded niches of projects from the Arweave ecosystem is probably the database related implementations. It makes sense, if you think about it. The permanent storage provided by Arweave has to be organised to serve countless and different needs, so, no matter how many database solutions will start to appear on Arweave, there will be usecases for their unique capabilities. I think that we already covered most of them. Still, one of them somehow remained unveiled by us until now (at least through its own dedicated article). We had to make right to them, so here you have it: we sat down with the brains behind Mind Network, diving deep into their vision of a highly secure web3 data lake. They painted a vivid picture of a decentralized zero-trust data lake, aiming to secure all data, smart contracts, and AI for Web3 users. Their use-cases? From dWeb and TradFi to Zero Trust AI and DeFi, they've got it all covered.

We understand that Mind Network aims to be a web3 data lake. Can you tell us a bit about what exactly you're trying the end goal of the project is and what the difference between a web3 database and datalake is?

Mind Network is a decentralized zero trust data lake. The end goal is to secure all data, smart contracts and AI for Web3 users. Zero Trust is a trending technology framework for cybersecurity. It adopts the "never trust, always verify" principle with a combination of Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP) and Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) to secure end to end data pipeline across L1/L2 chains, decentralized storges, and public chains. Comparing to other Web3 database/lake solutions, there are four unique features from Mind Network:

⦁ Easy-to-use: A user friendly product with a development suite (SDK, IDE, Oracle integration, etc.) that makes it easy for everyone to create and use the private data lake without any threshold.

⦁ Open: Support permissionless encrypted data computation and storage across L1/L2 chains, decentralized storages and public chains. 

⦁ Security: A Zero Trust solution with end-to-end computation on encrypted data.

⦁ Fast: A smooth experience is the foundation for mass adoption, guaranteed by algorithmic and engineering accelerations.

What are the main use-cases and personas that you envision using the datalake? How will these different personas interact with Mind Network?

Mind Network is at the early stage, but we have already built several "lighthouse" use cases with our partners:

⦁ dWeb Use Case: Mind Network could bring the decentralize web to the next level by providing high-performance, dynamic data access in a decentralized setup. Image if social nets like Meta or Twitter are built on a decentralized data lake where users have full control of their data and platforms have no access to encrypted data without permission. This use case could be generalized to almost all types of dApps, from UGC platform, SocialFi, GameFi, to middleware social graphs services.

⦁ TradFi Use Case: Mind Network has drawn attention from banks to profile their customers' onchain behaviours without revealing the wallet address and personal information. This is a common demand from traditional financial institutions, and it can be generalized to fraud detection, compliance, AML and many more use cases.

⦁ Zero Trust AI Use Case: Mind Network can empower AI model to be trained and inferred on encrypted data. In a SocialFI face recognition use case, we demonstrated how to encrypt and recognize faces on uploaded photos according to the social relationship. This use case has won the 2nd place in the Network States hackathon.

⦁ DeFi Use Case: Mind Network is partnering with DeFi protocols to protect investors' trading positions, which encrypts orderbooks and allows execution without seeing the trading details.  


⦁ Developers: interact with Mind Network through our development suite (SDK, IDE, Oracle integration, etc.) to offer zero trust data service to their customers

⦁ Miners: host and run Mind Nodes on their computers and servers

We've seen that you are building multiple components as the basis of the project, such as the Mind Nodes, the Mind Studio and the Mind Connector. Could you tell us a bit about the roles of these components and how they all interact?

⦁ Mind Lake (Core Mind Network): It is a decentralized data lake that implements our Zero Trust framework in a permissionless, trustable and scalable way. Mind Network allows miners to operate directly on these encrypted inputs, generate encrypted outputs, and update the network state accordingly. Mind Network is not a layer 1 solution but a modulized peer-to-peer network. It guarantees the computation through a Proof-of-Encryption mechanism and can plug into other decentralized infrastructures to roll up their encrypted computation and storage capabilities. It is designed with a token economy and community governance guidance to incentivize and discipline different participants stepping into a fully decentralized practice.

⦁ Mind Node, a well-packaged and self-sustainable computation node, with a cryptor, cache, and storage, to private high-performance encrypted computation service. 

Mind Studio is a SQL-based IDE for Mind Network. It offers user-friendly access to pay-as-you-go computation on encrypted data across decentralized storages, L1/L2 chains and public clouds. Mind Studio aims to facilitate the adoption of hard-to-understand cryptographic techniques for Web3 developers. 

⦁ Mind SDK is an SDK suite that supports development with different programming languages. 

⦁ Mind Scan is a transaction log explorer.

⦁ Mind Query is an I/O gateway to offer unified access to core Mind Network services.

The main selling point of Mind Network is that it is a privacy-preserving data lake and that the data always sits in an encrypted state. We've seen references to ciphertext and plaintext. Can you tell us a bit about the mechanism of keeping the data always encrypted in ciphertext, except for when it is local with the user? How will the processing of encrypted data happen?

This is achieved through our Zero Trust framework which is built on a combination of Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP) and Adaptive Fully Homomorphic Encryptions (AFHE). We secure Input/Output (I/O) confidentiality by employing a ZKP with encrypted data and maintaining computation on encrypted data via AFHE. FHE is called the "holy grail" of cryptography and first implemented in 2009 to enable Turing-complete computation on encrypted data. AFHE is a framework we first proposed in the world to provide end-to-end computation on encrypted data with algorithmic accelerations. Generally speaking, we optimized FHE and made it into production with improved performance.

We saw that you have the option of object storage on Arweave. Could you tell us how the integration with Arweave works and how users will be able to benefit from it?

We connect Mind Network to Arweave through our gateway service. So that all Mind Network users could choose Arweave to permanently store their encrypted data. More importantly, they can also retrieve, index, and run computations on these data with end-to-end encryption and protection. We think data security and privacy is a general demand from the Arweave users, and we think there are many use cases in that the users want their permanently stored data (like private photos, videos, chat history, personal information, legal documents, etc.) to be encrypted and protected.

Could you tell us why you chose Arweave as a storage option and the benefits you envision for storing data on Arweave?

We like Arweave a lot. Firstly, it is a very open community, and it has been a pleasant experience for us to integrate and bring cutting-edge Zero Trust computation and storage to the Arweave users. Secondly, our vision is fully aligned with Arweave to secure all data, smart contracts and AI for web3 users. Data is the most valuable asset. I think a permissionless, decentralized, permanent, and zero-trust data solution has never been achieved in Web2 before. Together with Arweave, we will bring data security and privacy protection to the next level.

Last but not least, we're very excited to see what the future of the social media graph will look like. When can we expect the Mind Network testnet to be released and what are your plans for the year?

With the support from Binance Incubation Camp, Chainlink BUILD program and Arweave SCP, we are happy to share that the testnet for Mind Network is already live for whitelabeling Alpha test and the integration with Arweave will be open for testing very soon. We will invite more Arweave community members for testing in a short time.

But...this Q&A actually happened in June. For some reason...I forgot to publish it...what happened during this time? A lot!

Fast forward to the present, and boy, have they been busy!

September 2023 was nothing short of monumental for Mind Network. They dazzled the crypto community by clinching first place at the ETH Singapore Hackathon with their ZK stealth wallet solution, having a personal talk with Vitalik and they were also present in a panel about databases on Arweave at the Arweave in Asia event, they were basically everywhere...the energy these guys have... 

And if that wasn't enough, they made their presence felt at the #Mainnet2023 conference in NYC, delivering a keynote that left many in awe.

Their ties with big names like Chainlink became even more evident when they participated in the #SmartCon 2023. They didn't just attend; they expressed heartfelt gratitude for the unique talent and support provided by the BUILD program, emphasizing the future of on-chain being cross-chain.

Homomorphic encryption, ZK proofs, can all be a little scary, but worry not, they are not only builders, they are educators too, and their initiative, #Mind101, is proof of that. They delved deep into the intricacies of Zero knowledge machine learning (#ZKML) and privacy-preserving machine learning (#PPML), emphasizing their unwavering focus on data privacy and security in machine learning models. Just to have a taste of it:

Now, as we revisit our conversation from June and juxtapose it with their recent achievements, it's clear that Mind Network isn't just another name in the decentralized space. They're pioneers.


Passionate about Arweave, Archeology, and NFTs. Playing with words, dirt, and images.

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