China Net An Anhongzhang: Because of the blockchain, the era of password definition business is coming | Interview with Babbitt

In 2012, due to the temporary work arrangement of the unit , An Hongzhang first came into contact with the digital currency. At that time, he was the project chief of the 30 National Key Laboratory of Confidential Communications of China Electronics , and was mainly responsible for the research on password application innovation and the overall design of major projects.

When he first met the digital currency, his clever cryptographic design fascinated him. Therefore, after completing his mission, he continued to pay attention to the development of digital currency related technologies.

In November 2012, Bitcoin was halved for the first time. In December 2013, bitcoin prices surpassed 1 ounce of gold for the first time. Subsequently, Bitcoin ushered in a bear market that lasted for more than two years.

At the same time, the concept of blockchain has become increasingly hot, and various blockchain forums, conferences, and books have continued. An Hongzhang is in it, and he deeply felt that “the blockchain will be an important opportunity for the development of cryptography, and the era of password definition business is coming soon!

WeChat picture_20190616230058 The picture shows An Hongzhang, the current chief engineer of the Key Laboratory of Confidential Communications, and the general manager of China's Netan Blockchain R&D Center.

So, in 2015, he led the key laboratory password application innovation team to cut into the blockchain field. From the research of blockchain cryptography, to the release of “safe blockchain service platform V1.0” and the promotion of blockchain application, it has been fruitful for just three years.

In June 2018, China Netan (full name "China Electronic Technology Network Information Security Co., Ltd.") in order to better develop the blockchain business, the team led by An Hongzhang was separated from the national key laboratory and established " China " Netan blockchain R&D center , focusing on R&D and application promotion of blockchain technology products.

In an interview with An Hongzhang, we can explore, in today's increasingly serious data security situation, China Netan blockchain R&D center is how to play the role of the blockchain security national team , what are the unique technological innovations and Applications , and the current state of application of blockchain technology .

The era of password definition business is coming

The author John Chadwick wrote this passage in the book The Decoding of Linear B.

"The impulse to uncover secrets is a deep-rooted nature of human beings… For the average person, detective stories or crossword puzzles are enough. Very few people use the symbol of cracking mystery as their career."

In fact, An Hongzhang belongs to a few people who "for the purpose of cracking the mysterious symbol." It’s just that the emergence of computers has turned "mysterious symbols" into binary "0"s and "1s", and has made "very few people" have a more professional name: cryptographers or information security practitioners. .

From the early primitive tribes to the modern state, from the dark words used by children to the quantum "entanglement" phenomenon, people use "passwords" to hide or crack the secrets in the original information. What followed was the issue of information security.

In the field of information security for nearly 15 years, An Hongzhang has an easy-to-understand definition of “security.” “The so-called security means that users do not have concerns when using the product, and they will not worry about asset loss or privacy leakage .”

To some extent, our understanding of “security” is based on understanding “unsafe” . For example, in female psychology, “lack of security” is often used to explain the causes of emotional problems in a woman, as is information security. An Hongzhang added,

“Different users have different demands for security. For example, when we usually call family members, we rarely care about security issues, but many business negotiations will care about this. They will choose a dedicated secure mobile phone to communicate because they can feel To potential threats, there is a strong demand for security."

Blockchain, as a rising star in the field of IT technology, provides protection for untrusted network environments while facing serious security and privacy challenges.

An Hongzhang believes that "blockchain, that is, distributed general ledger technology , solves the problem of trust. Although it has no connection with security on the target , it is inextricably linked with security."

He further elaborated that

“On the one hand, the blockchain uses a lot of cryptographic techniques and relies on security technologies to implement core functions. On the other hand, blockchain applications require security technology protection and need to address privacy protection issues on the chain. If there is no privacy protection, even The trust problem has been solved and no one is willing to use it ."

He used unified identity management as an example to explain the relationship between blockchain security and privacy protection .

“We launched a federated blockchain platform with multiple identity providers. On this platform, each identity provider can record the identity of its own users on the chain and provide convenient identity authentication services through a unified portal. Based on the open and transparent trust mechanism of the blockchain, each identity provider and the platform trust each other, so that the island of trust can be broken and the island of trust can be formed.

However, from a security perspective, all participants can see the information on the chain. If they are not protected, our ID card, marriage certificate, education and other information may be leaked. This requires privacy protection technology to solve it.

The difference between the central enterprise blockchain and the private enterprise blockchain

On December 27, 2016, the State Council issued the "13th Five-Year National Informationization Plan", which for the first time included the blockchain as a cutting-edge technology and disruptive technology in government reports.

With the blockchain being included in the national strategy, a group of forward-looking central enterprises and state-owned enterprises have successively increased the research and development of blockchain. According to the statistics of inter-chain pulse , as of April 2019, 19 of the 97 central enterprises managed by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council have explored and developed business in the blockchain field . China Netan is one of them.

China Netan was established in May 2015. It is the network information security of China Electric Power (full name “China Electronic Technology Group Corporation”) based on the development of national security strategy and the core of China Electronics 30 and 33. Subgroup.

In An Hongzhang's view, although the China Netan blockchain R&D center is affiliated to the central enterprises, there is not much difference between them and the private enterprises in terms of the functions of the company. Only social responsibility has a big difference , that is, “born. Will shoulder some national missions," he said.

"If one thing is profitable, then everyone is willing to do it; if this thing is unprofitable, but important for social development, then private enterprises may not do it, and central enterprises must do it. It is not the first place to put economic interests first. This is the most important point ."

Picture 1 Screenshot from China Netan Blockchain R&D Center Product Manual

In terms of products , the R&D center focuses on blockchain products and services with cryptography as its core . Its product structure includes basic platform products, operation service platforms and application products. Currently, it has formed a “1+2+3” product system, as above. Figure.

In terms of technological innovation , An Hongzhang introduced that in recent years, the innovation achievements of R&D centers mainly have three aspects:

1. Can regulate anonymous privacy protection . A supervised anonymous privacy protection component covering zero-knowledge proof algorithm, ring signature algorithm, threshold signature algorithm and elliptic curve double key pair derivation algorithm is constructed to provide safe, efficient and entrustable protection for blockchain applications.

2. State secret security private key protection . A private key protection component based on key segmentation and key obfuscation is constructed. The signature private key protection can be provided by software to ensure the security of the blockchain application without affecting the user experience. Currently, the component has passed the identification of the confidential product. .

3. Formal analysis of the smart contract security model . Based on the cryptographic protocol formal analysis and provable security design technology research results, the blockchain intelligent contract security model formal analysis technology is proposed, which can effectively detect man-in-the-middle attacks, replay attacks, reflection attacks, etc., to ensure the security of smart contract applications.

Still optimistic about "blockchain + real economy"

From the scope of application, blockchain technology can be applied in almost all industrial scenarios, because almost all industrial scenarios involve transactions, and there is a need to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and optimize the industrial integrity environment.

In addition, the main battlefield of blockchain technology application is still in the real economy industry, and the value of blockchain technology will also be reflected in the value increment brought by the landing industry scene . But for now, the value of blockchain technology is not well reflected.

On April 26th, Babbitt author Qiu Xiangyu published an article entitled " Babet's exclusive traffic, resources, and technology – BaaS has become a giant game? 》 , showing the status quo of the domestic mainstream BaaS platform. Although the article reveals a faint sorrow of "Xu Zhiyuan", " difficult to land, no good profit model " is indeed the dilemma facing the industry.

An Hongzhang said frankly, "As far as I know, there are still very few domestic blockchain companies that can only profit from product sales. The key depends on the annual revenue growth rate of these companies."

He believes that the promotion of the current blockchain business has two difficulties:

First, the blockchain value model has not yet been popularized . Everyone's cognition, recognition, acceptance, and habits of blockchain technology are still not high. It is still difficult to attract all parties by constructing a blockchain ecosystem platform, so that they can actively do things.

"The development of things has a process. Although it is difficult, the trend has been fixed. Just like supply chain finance, when the domestic government started to push, it was difficult to promote because of the weak credit awareness of domestic enterprises! But it has been widely recognized by everyone. And accept, as for the more difficult problem of trust, you can leave it to the blockchain to break through."

Second, the competition pattern of blockchain products is not stable . The application of blockchain technology in the real economy is still in its infancy, and the market direction, market size, business model, etc. are still unclear, and all kinds of enterprises see the opportunity to be swarmed. Due to the lack of relevant standards, the products are mixed, the price gap is large, and the market competition is disorderly. So even a really good product is hard to earn money.

"But this phenomenon will not last long, just like the mobile operating system. At the beginning, there were a lot of vendors, but then there were only a few choices such as iOS and Android."

Despite this, An Hongzhang is still optimistic about the “blockchain+real economy” . Because of the policy , the government is gradually increasing its support for the blockchain. Many provinces and municipalities have introduced relevant policies. It is a good signal. In addition, from the market reaction , "According to personal observation, the recent domestic and blockchain-related projects , both in terms of quantity and amount, have increased significantly. The statistics of the major bidding websites are examples. ".

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