Litentry this week: Governance app & blockchain and IP

As some of you might know, we’ve raised a proposal of a governance app for all Substrate-based networks in December 2020, and received a grant from the Polkadot Treasury to fulfill the proposal. Back then, we saw on-chain governance participation was not so active, which significantly undermines the advancement of the ecosystem. We wanted to change that.

In short, our governance app aims to smooth out the on-chain governance process for users in the following aspects:

  • User-friendly, neat UI/ UX interface to encourage user engagement
  • Supporting all networks in the Polkadot ecosystem, including Kusama and Polkadot
  • Push Notification to let users stay updated on the latest activities of on-chain governance
  • Enabling Multiple cross-chain IDs adding to make account management more convenient
  • Listing council member’s identity information to allow voters to make informed decisions
Screenshot of the governance app demo. Users can receive notification of new treasury proposal.

This week, we have finished Push Notification for milestone 2 of the governance app and the app demo is ready for internal testing. The feature has classified users into different roles in on-chain governance to filter different events that trigger push notification. For example, voters will receive notification of treasury proposals, public referenda along with other new events; council members will receive those of the proposals among the council and emergency proposal. Users are able to select which event category they want to subscribe to.

Notification feature structure

Until now, the app already offers basic support to on-chain governance, including a dashboard of governance activities, identity registrar, and the notification feature. Moving forward, we look to finish milestone 2 soon and proceed with milestone 3 and 4.

🎙 Internal IP panel: why licensing rate for blockchain is abnormally low in China?

Distribution of patent applications in the blockchain field

We’ve invited Wenlong Yan, a Chinese patent agent with a good applied physics background, to host a panel about IP in the blockchain. He thinks that the State Patent Office takes a positive and open attitude towards blockchain technology, but the licensing rate for blockchain is abnormally low: The licensing rate for blockchain patents in China is only 10% in 2019, compared with an overall licensing rate of about 47%. He suggests that there’re three reasons that account for this:

  1. The object of patent protection is not satisfied. For example, abstract algorithms that are not combined with application scenarios cannot be patented;
  2. The “unnormal patent application”. This refers to malicious patent filing behavior that is not intended to protect innovation, such as intentionally mentioning blockchain in non-blockchain-related patent filing documents;
  3. Lack of awareness of patent protection for open source products. Open source and patent rights can co-exist. Open source licenses grant permission for anybody to use, modify, and share licensed software for any purpose, subject to conditions preserving the provenance and openness of the software. There are a large number of licenses that have been identified as Open Source, including GNU AGPLv3, GNU GPLv3, GNU LGPLv3, Mozilla Public License 2.0, and each lies differently in the spectrum of being protective to unconditional and has its own quirks. One of the most frequently referenced Open Source License is the Gnu Public License (GPL).

Speaking of Open Source Licence, why should we obtain a patent on an invention that is going to be distributed under the GPL? There are several reasons:

  1. License the patent to others to produce a revenue stream
  2. Assert patent rights against redistributors who do not conform to the GPL license terms (for example, by failing to redistribute under the GPL)
  3. Use patent rights as an offensive or defensive weapon against infringers who are not using the GPL’d software. For example, the author can use GPL rights against a competitor who sells a competing product that incorporates the invention that is not a derivative work of the author’s original code.
  4. Distribute a non-GPL’d version of the software

The quality of a patent reflects the ‘military strength’ of a team. Author of a patent can use it to generate revenue, retain the ability to bring litigation against patent infringement, and keep competitors at bay. It’s also important to note that prompt application of patent can ensure that others won’t patent your invention against you, so you can use the invention yourself.

We must fully recognize the importance of IP protection as part of our business strategy. This means that we have to diligently record our work in daily research and development, to sort out specific patent points and apply for patents promptly.

Testnet: SubstraTEE pallet development and AccountLinker integration

  • Added benchmark for AccountLinker pallet
  • Added benchmark for NFT pallet
  • Updated pallet dependencies to v0.9.8
  • Fixed all compilation issues for SubstraTEE
  • Finalized a general architecture of SubsraTEE integration
  • Developed SubstraTEE pallet
  • Integrated SubstraTEE with account linker

Misc: Token migration end-end test

  • Token migration end-end test
  • Fixed twitter-linker bugs
  • Deployed Push notification
  • Fixed relaychain & parachain running issues
  • Supported NFT front-end development
  • Created Treasury widget in Dashboard

👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 Litentry & Friends Ep3 with Integritee: DID & privacy, trusted environment

We hosted an informative discussion with Alain Brenzikofer, the Co-Founder of Integritee AG. In the panel discussion, we have explained the Trusted Executed Environment (TEE) and why Litentry chooses it as our main privacy solution. Below is an excerpt from the panel:

Q: Speaking of trusted environment, can you give us an explanation of what it does?

Alain: Trusted execution, to put it very simply, offers us the possibility to isolate a process from the system administrator. We are very accustomed to the fact that administrators on a system can see the entire memory contents, can start, and shut down processes and change programs without anyone outside the machine noticing it. Trusted execution environments are a hardware guarantee where the CPU manufacturer has a design that allows processes to run on encrypted memory, and the manufacturer in our case is Intel (Intel SGX). Intel can remotely attest that I am executing something on a genuine SGX machine. Also, the executed code, the binary has a certain hash. If you can build source code deterministically, you’ll get a binary. You take the checksum of that binary, execute that on an SGX machine, then Intel can remotely verify that this is indeed the binary that is executed. The system administrator has the power to shut down the process down, but it can’t modify the process or to see the memory. If you have service running inside such an enclave, you can from the outside talk to that service through TLS and you know that your data will be processed as defined and without the operator of the machine seeing the data.

Fei Liu: With the current cloud structure, the machines, the VMs all run virtually on the cloud that’s not controlled by us, we don’t know what’s happening inside. It’s very natural for us to look for alternatives to solve this privacy issues in data transactions without revealing information. we checked the cryptography primitives, zero knowledge proofs, and trust execution environment, and we find TEE really gives us the guarantee — we’ll know that our program is run within a trusted environment, and the attestation process can also be integrated.

🌉 Hack Polkadot & Substrate Seminar

Our team attending Hack-Polkadot in Hangzhou
John speaking at Substrate Seminar about NFT

Last but not least, our team just attended Hack Polkadot and the Substrate Seminar in Hangzhou. We hope to meet more early-stage teams that are bringing cutting-edge solutions to the Polkadot ecosystem, also we are hiring full-stack developers and Substrate Runtime developers!

👋 See y’all next time!

About Litentry

Litentry is a Decentralized Identity Aggregator that enables linking user identities across multiple networks. Featuring a DID indexing protocol and a Substrate-built distributed DID validation blockchain, Litentry provides a decentralized, interoperable identity aggregation service that mitigates the difficulty of resolving agnostic DID mechanisms. Litentry provides a secure vehicle through which users manage their identities and dApps obtain real-time DID data of an identity owner across different blockchains.

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