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When my co-founders, Prof. Nigel Smart and Guy Peer, first founded Unbound and our cryptography orchestration platform that enables organizations to protect and manage keys of any type in any environment, it was a result of years of research on secure multiparty computation (MPC). At the core of Unbound’s solution is a way to protect keys using MPC. This technology enables us to provide a powerful new paradigm for key protection by splitting keys and forcing an attacker to breach multiple machines. MPC also provides a powerful tool for preventing key misuse by providing cryptographically enforced multi-party authorizations and maker/checker workflows.
Our ability to achieve this, as well as to support all standard cryptographic operations in MPC, is due to scientific advances in MPC. Twenty years ago, the vast majority of MPC research was purely theoretical and was focused on understanding what problems could in principle be solved. Over the last decade or so, a lot of the research in MPC began to focus on making it more and more efficient and practical. Unbound’s co-founders and researchers have played a significant role in those scientific advances, with many years of research in MPC under their belts, and Unbound was born when it became efficient enough to use in practice.
It’s easy to imagine that when Unbound was founded, the state of the art of MPC was such that we could take off-the-shelf solutions and just deploy them. However, MPC is still at the stage where great expertise is needed to deploy it, and many improvements are still possible. As a result, Unbound has continued to research MPC from when it was founded and until today, in order to ensure that the best possible solutions are used inside our products. Our research includes finding more efficient protocols for standard algorithms, support for new algorithms and standards, and support for new features that require cryptographic innovation. Some examples are support for post-quantum cryptography standards, quorum approval of operations, MPC with offline participants, proof of possession supported by zero-knowledge to ensure that encrypted backups are correct, and more.
Unbound is committed to ongoing technological innovation through ongoing research on MPC and cryptography. This enables us to continually improve our solutions as well as support new needs of our customers. The public launch of Unbound MPC Labs is a result of our understanding that this effort should be made transparent to our customers and to the business community at large. The members of Unbound Labs include myself (Yehuda Lindell) and Dr. Samuel Ranellucci as full-time Unbound employees, and Professor Nigel Smart (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Professor Iftach Haitner (Tel-Aviv University) on an ongoing part-time basis. This concentration of cryptographic expertise is exceptional (most startups in the space have expert cryptographers in an advisory or consultant role only) and is a sign of our commitment to maintaining the highest standards when it comes to our core technology.