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Phala Network: EthDenver 2024 Recap


Advancements, Trends and Community Spirit

EthDenver 2024 marked another groundbreaking gathering of developers, innovators, and enthusiasts from across the globe. As one of the premier Ethereum-focused conferences, EthDenver brought together a diverse array of projects, discussions, and collaborations, pushing the boundaries of web3 and fostering a vibrant community spirit.

Let's dive into Phala’s highlights of this year's event.

1. Highlight: The merge of AI & Crypto is the hottest Trend

Without a question, AI and AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) dominated the discussions throughout the week in Denver. Numerous AI-centric startups attended the largest crypto conference, seeking to learn from and connect with the crypto community.

Early that week, Polygon announced their latest AI project, called Sentient a new platform to disrupt in a decentralized way. The Phala team conquered the stage at several AI focused events, discussing feasible use cases at the intersection of AI and crypto and why both industries depend on each other.

Besides leaders like Autonolas, MyShell, polywrap, ORA and Modulus, Phala positioned its new Agent Contract framework to empower autonomous AI agents. The ‘Agent Contract’ framework is a groundbreaking fusion of AI and web3 technologies aimed at decentralizing intelligence.

The Agent Contract framework focuses on ease of use, security through Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs), and community-driven governance. Future plans include simplifying agent creation, enhancing trust with multi-prove verification, and expanding the ecosystem in collaboration with web3 AI projects.

Watch Marvin’s speech, presenting Phala’s Agent Contract at the EthDenver stage:

A Summary of the Key Features of Phala’s Agent Contract Framework

  • Simplified Deployment: Offering a variety of templates and supporting popular AI and web3 tools, the Agent Contract streamlines the development and hosting of AI agents.
  • Interoperability and Community Ownership: Agents are crafted to be interoperable across diverse frameworks and blockchain networks, featuring governance mechanisms that empower the community to own and control these agents.
  • Enhanced Security and Verifiability: Utilizing Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs), the Agent Contract ensures every action and interaction of AI agents is verifiable through multi-proofs, including SGX or ZKP. This enhances trust and transparency within the ecosystem.

2. Highlight: TEE is on the rise

As the excitement around Zero-Knowledge (ZK) proofs continues, TEEs have garnered significant attention, particularly in their potential to secure DePIN.

Thanks to an enlightening presentation by Andrew Miller at our 'Beyond ZK' event, we discovered that while ZK tools have expanded possibilities, TEEs, along with Multi-Party Computation (MPC) and Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE), are emerging as complementary technologies.

Builders are increasingly considering of integrating TEEs as a crucial layer for providing verifiable computation in emerging technology trends like Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), FHE, and MPC.

However, TEEs often remain undervalued, prompting efforts from researchers to rectify this oversight. During our 'Beyond ZK' event, Phala had team members on stage emphasizing the importance of TEEs in the web3 ecosystem. As our CTO, Hang Yin stated, "This year marks a shift towards multi-proof. It's not just about TEE, ZKP, or FHE." These words resonate strongly within our community.

In the domain of security and privacy, Phala Network distinguishes itself through its adoption of a fusion of TEEs such as Intel SGX and ZK proofs. Unlike other smart contract providers, Phala takes a comprehensive approach to safeguarding user data, ensuring protection from threats and vulnerabilities.

Kudos to Secret Network and Oasis Protocol for co-hosting a captivating evening dedicated to advancing privacy in the evolving web3 landscape.

3. Highlight: Phala's Leadership in DePIN

DePIN also took center stage at EthDenver, with IoTeX hosting the fifth edition of R3al World - the DePIN conference bringing together leaders in the field.

Phala stands out in the blockchain landscape by offering versatile compute coprocessor capabilities. Its role as a blockchain coprocessor is instrumental in tackling scalability and computational challenges prevalent in the current web3 ecosystems:

  1. Enhanced Data Access: Phala facilitates sophisticated data analysis and processing, enabling the development of more intricate decentralized applications.
  1. Computation Offloading: Acting as a specialized processor, Phala undertakes complex computational tasks from the main blockchain, vastly improving network efficiency and scalability.
  1. Verifiable Results: Results from off-chain data access and computation are verifiable through methods like ZKP or TEE, suitable for smart contracts across various blockchains.
  1. Safeguarding Security and Decentralization: Phala maintains heightened functionality while adhering to the core tenets of decentralization and security inherent in blockchain technology, leveraging advanced cryptographic techniques such as zero-knowledge proofs, MPC, and TEEs.

We had the privilege of delving into the significance of security in DePIN alongside thought leaders from Automata, Marlin, IoTeX, and Secret Network.

4. Highlight: Community Engagement and Networking

In addition to highlighting the technical aspects and insights gained from AI and DePIN use cases, Phala successfully engaged with the Ethereum core community. We forged new connections with researchers from UIUC, aiming to advance the boundaries of TEE security within web3.

It was truly inspiring to witness various TEE-based projects coming together to explore fresh narratives for confidential and verifiable computation. The collaborative atmosphere allowed for meaningful discussions on the future of this cutting-edge technology.

Leveraging the Polkadot ecosystem, Phala fostered connections with builders at the Polkadot pavilion, unveiling pioneering AI showcases. These initiatives promise to introduce compelling use cases to the DOT ecosystem.

Closing Remarks and Future Outlook

In summary, EthDenver 2024 proved to be a resounding success for the Phala team.

The conference exemplified the dynamism, innovation and community spirit driving the Ethereum ecosystem forward. From cutting-edge technical discussions to collaborative hackathons and engaging networking events, the conference showcased the immense potential of web3 to reshape industries and empower individuals worldwide.

As participants depart with newfound inspiration and connections, EthDenver continues to serve as a cornerstone event in the Ethereum community's journey towards a decentralized future.

Stay tuned to witness how Phala's roadmap will incorporate and showcase all the key insights garnered from this impactful event.

About Phala

Phala Network is a decentralized cloud that offers secure and scalable computing for Web3.

With Phat Contracts, an innovative programming model enabling trustless off-chain computation, developers can create new Web3 use cases.

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