Sapphire: The Industry-First Confidential EVM ParaTime

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We recently launched Sapphire, on tesnet, as a way to offer a large cohort of blockchain developers the opportunity to build confidential dApps. Confidential dApps are becoming a necessity in Web3 as people value data sovereignty highly in this day and age. With traditional blockchains, there is a blockchain privacy paradox where all user data is publicly stored, but Sapphire allows for dApps to be built that can make data confidential, while still executing smart contracts.

Sapphire is a groundbreaking developer environment as it is the first and only confidential Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible ParaTime. This runtime has the ability to help scale blockchain rapidly towards Web3 and allow EVM developers to quickly lay the foundations for privacy-enabled blockchain dApps, which are becoming a necessity as users demand data sovereignty.

Sapphire offers Solidity developers a familiar, Ethereum-compatible building environment, but with the added benefits of Oasis’ privacy technology which is key to allowing blockchain to be part of the Web3 world.

Why Confidentiality is needed in the Blockchain Space

Currently, a key security component of blockchain means data executed on-chain is publicly available and transparent, but we need to acknowledge that sensitive data, such as financial and health information, needs to remain confidential if we are to scale to Web3.

Sapphire allows for dApps to be built that can utilize confidential smart contracts where, for example, transactions between wallets can remain visible and transparent and ensure security, but the data on how much was transacted is kept private. This differs from what we see today on any public EVM. If a trade is made on a public EVM DEX, anyone can see the inputs and outputs of the transaction.

Hiding certain aspects of smart contract execution is a powerful tool for Web3. Sapphire empowers EVM developers to add confidential elements to their dApps through confidential smart contracts, scaling their creations to Web3. As the industry’s first Confidential EVM compatible ParaTime, Sapphire is the only place for Solidity developers to build dApps to protect user privacy.

What is the Sapphire ParaTime?

As the official confidential EVM-compatible ParaTime on the Oasis Network, Sapphire allows for:

As an EVM runtime Sapphire provides familiarity to a large cohort of blockchain developers. However, the privacy-preserving technology makes it groundbreaking and the only way for Solidity developers to be part of scaling to Web3.

How Sapphire ensures confidentiality

Sapphire enacts Oasis’ privacy technology which requires nodes to use a secure computing technology called a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). TEEs are analogous to a black box for smart contract execution.

With the use of key management, encrypted data goes into the black box (known as the Secure Enclave) along with the smart contract, where the data is decrypted, processed by the smart contract, and then encrypted before it is sent out of the Secure Enclave.

This process ensures that data remains confidential and is not disclosed to the node operator or application developer.

Sapphire is Made to be Familiar

At Oasis, we have built privacy-preserving technology into our network with other ParaTimes — such as Cipher. Sapphire utilizes the same technology, but the EVM compatibility means familiar user-facing tools; such as Web3 gateway, wallet, block explorer. Developer tools are also all familiar; Solidity/Vyper, Hardhat/Truffle, Web3.js/Ethers.

With Sapphire, it is possible to port your dApp in a matter of minutes and start using the privacy technology, as well as new built-in functions like RNG, signing, and encryption.

Rapidly scaling to Web3

We understand that as technology moves towards Web3, there is a desire for confidentiality and data privacy. However, gaps in the current blockchain space mean confidentiality is not prioritized, leaving the technology behind. Or, confidentiality is being built into blockchain, but with unfamiliar build environments, leaving developers behind.

Sapphire is here to scale blockchain to Web3 and bring the developers who have laid the foundation of the technology with it.

With Emerald, we have a way for dApp developers to move across from Ethereum or other EVM-compatible chains to Oasis and experience the many benefits of building here.

Sapphire brings confidentiality to EVM, leveraging the current Oasis infrastructure, tooling and ecosystem, making it fast to market for those solidity developers wanting to create privacy dApps.

Creating a dApp on Sapphire

The Sapphire ParaTime is currently deployed on Testnet, with Mainnet deployment planned for later in 2022. We are encouraging developers to utilize the Testnet to experience Sapphire, the confidential EVM-compatible ParaTime.

We have a guide describing the differences between Sapphire and Ethereum and explaining how you can integrate with Sapphire to write secure dApps. Please find the guide here!

Additionally, Oasis will be hosting the first Sapphire Hackathon in September, allowing developers the opportunity to build the first Confidential EVM dApp, and win prizes for doing so. For more info, stay tuned and follow our social media.

For more info on Sapphire and the Oasis Network, please register for our newsletter and join our Discord.

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