At Europe’s biggest hackathon, a team of student developers – Maxime Dienger, Thomas Hussenet, Nathan Hervier and Adam Dahmoul – succeeded in creating an online tool in less than 48 hours. This tool allows users to transfer their funds from centralised exchange platforms to their cryptocurrency wallet without revealing their identity.
This project, called Cypher Deposit, is based on Zero-Knowledge technology (zkSNARKS) to offer a new dimension of confidentiality to on-chain activities.
Winning ETHGlobal Paris 2023
ETHGlobal Paris 2023, organised by ETHGlobal, has brought together innovative minds from around the world for a weekend of exploration and collaboration focused on the Ethereum ecosystem and has recently generated a lot of interest among blockchain enthusiasts across the globe
The event brings together participants from all over the world for a weekend of innovation.
The programme includes workshops, conferences, and meetings with FinTech and blockchain giants. Among the 1,400 participants, 965 developers presented 321 projects, among which ESILV’s engineering students won first place thanks to their design of a revolutionary tool, all in less than two days.
This was ETHGlobal 🇫🇷 Paris:
Our biggest event in Europe so far!
👥 1400 attendees
🛠 965 hackers
📫 321 projects
🗺 67 countries
🌱 22% new to web3
Thank you to everyone who spent the weekend with us pushing the boundaries of web3! ✨ pic.twitter.com/W6NBKbwLqr
— ETHGlobal (@ETHGlobal) July 24, 2023
Cypher Deposit and the Privacy Revolution
For the students, the objective was clear: to enable all Polygon & Optimism blockchain users to transfer their funds held by a CEX (Centralized Exchange) to the wallet of their choice while preserving their anonymity about the destination address
Designed as a ‘privacy tool’, it aims to enhance the confidentiality of on-chain transactions. However, it is crucial to note that Cypher Deposit aims not to mix cryptocurrencies but to improve user confidentiality.
The 48-hour feat: a challenge met
Developing Cypher Deposit in less than 48 hours is a remarkable technical feat. This tight deadline required a rapid understanding of new technologies and effective integration in collaboration with hackathon partners.
Beyond the technical achievement, the marketing and branding work and the pitch preparation were essential to demonstrate the project’s added value skills taught during the ESILV educational project.
This project is based on the Zero-Knowledge technology (zkSNARKS) offered by the zkBob protocol. zkSNARKS are advanced cryptographic proof methods for verifying the validity of a transaction without disclosing its details.
Cypher Deposit uses this technology to anonymise the details of fund transfers, whether for stablecoins or native cryptocurrencies.
ETHGlobal Paris 🇫🇷 Recap extended version ✨
We had a blast with all of you and can't wait to reunite in New York 🗽 in just a few weeks!
Application link in our bio. pic.twitter.com/r36F450n2Q
— ETHGlobal (@ETHGlobal) August 16, 2023
Student-engineer entrepreneurs: the birth of the Cypher Lab startup
It is essential to stress that Cypher Lab was not born during the ETHGlobal Paris 2023 Hackathon.
Since the start of the 2023 academic year, the four ESILV students from different majors- Maxime Dienger, Thomas Hussenet, Nathan Hervier in the FinTech major and Adam Dahmoul in the Data and Artificial Intelligence significant – have taken part in numerous hackathons around the world.
Their achievements include winning the ETHDenver hackathon in the US in February and taking first place in the PBWS 2023 hackathon. They also took part in the XRPL online hackathon, among others.
During these competitions, they deepened their understanding of ‘ring signatures’, a cryptographic technique for generating cryptographic proofs.
These proofs have many applications, particularly in the financial sector, where they can be used to demonstrate a user’s creditworthiness (for a given wallet address) or possession of a minimum amount of tokens (cryptocurrency), or even a basket of A, B and C tokens, etc.
Le projet fondateur de Cypher Lab, baptisé “Alice’s Ring”, tire son nom du personnage d’Alice fréquemment utilisé dans les illustrations des techniques cryptographiques.
Cypher Lab’s founding project, “Alice’s Ring”, takes its name from the character frequently used in illustrations of cryptographic techniques.
To date, cryptographic implementation of the circle signature concept has yet to be developed for our specific use (and consequently, no practical application has resulted from it).
At Cypher Lab, the student engineers are pioneering its development within the blockchain ecosystem. They have obtained $100,000 in funding from the XRPL foundation to complete the technical implementation of circle signatures in the first half of this year.
Cypher Lab’s vision is to provide tools that enable blockchain users to improve their privacy (Cypher Lab – Privacy Enhancer).
During the hackathons, their primary area of exploration was ‘privacy scaling’, and among the products they will include in their catalogue is Cypher Deposit, alongside their flagship project, Alice’s Ring, and the modules that will result from it.
The students officially registered Cypher Lab in July 2023 with four partners, all hackathon team members.
ESILV: a launch pad
ESILV has played a vital role in the training and development of Cypher Lab’s founders.
The tailor-made FinTech curriculum, hackathon grants and the student’s associations support have been critical catalysts for their success.
Advice for young aspirants
Maxime advises curiosity, community involvement, and exploration for young people aspiring to follow similar paths. He stresses the importance of getting involved in professional associations to develop one’s network and skills.
For Maxime, ESILV has played a significant role in the training and development of Cypher Lab’s entrepreneurs and innovators, illustrating the value of higher education in the ever-changing world of blockchain and FinTech.
About Cypher Deposit
Cypher Deposit, like zkBob, is described as a “privacy tool”, i.e. a tool designed to enhance the confidentiality of on-chain activities.
Unlike some cryptocurrency blending tools such as Tornado Cash, Cypher Deposit stands out because it is designed to preserve confidentiality without being associated with money-coordinating activities.
For users concerned about complying with rules and regulations, zkBob even offers a set of ‘Compliance Features’, such as geographical restrictions and daily limits, to meet regulatory requirements.
Cypher Deposit and how to meet the needs of blockchain
It is essential to understand that Cypher Deposit meets a growing need in the blockchain ecosystem, where confidentiality is becoming a significant concern.
Users want to protect their data while enjoying the benefits of blockchain technology. Cypher Deposit is part of this approach, offering an elegant and secure solution for preserving confidentiality while complying with regulations.
Cypher Deposit’s success at the ETHGlobal Paris 2023 hackathon exemplifies the innovation emerging from the blockchain community.
It also highlights the potential of zkSNARKS technology to create powerful and accessible privacy tools.
Cypher Deposit is a project to watch closely, as it could usher in a new era of privacy and security in the blockchain world. With creative minds like these engineering students at the helm, the future of on-chain privacy looks bright.
Learn more about ESILV’s major FInTech
Learn more aboute ESILV’s data et intelligence artificielle major