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About Howard Wu, CEO - Provable

Howard Wu is a co-founder and CEO of Provable. His notable contributions, including Zexe and DIZK, to the fields of zero-knowledge proofs and elliptic-curve cryptography have been adopted by protocols such as Ethereum and Zcash. Howard graduated from UC Berkeley with a research background in cryptography, computer security, and verifiable computing.

Discover Provable
Provable is building a user experience on the web that is both truly personal and truly private.

In the next decade, web services will be everywhere, living in more places than just your browser, and reason over every intimate detail of our personal lives. Our private lives have become a public commodity and as web services evolve to become more personal, to live everywhere, we need to rethink how we control our data.

Today, there is no such thing as private web data.

If it lives online, somebody owns it. The web provides free services in exchange for personal data. This business model is obsolete and puts users at odds with web services. Users must hand over personal data in exchange for services to interact with one another in their daily lives. Service providers must manage sensitive data that risks their business if improperly stored, processed, or disclosed. This is problematic and  should not have to be this way.

Tomorrow, the web will become private-by-default.

Over the past decade, new technologies to protect user data have become practical. For the first time, users have a choice. They are not constrained to giving up control of their data, and data breaches no longer have to be an inevitable price to pay. And for the first time, web services can use privacy-preserving technologies to protect users while expanding the possibilities of their web experience.

Privacy-preserving technologies will reshape how we see and use our data.

Instead of giving up control of your personal data, web services will reason about it without actually seeing it. Web services will no longer need to store sensitive data, and will outsource their work back to the user. In this manner, neither the user nor the service provider will know more than they should, and the control over personal data will remain with the user. This approach rethinks both the privacy guarantees that services offer and how users think about their data. This paradigm will fundamentally shift how the web works in ways we have yet to even see.

Becoming zero-knowledge.

Unlike web technologies today, zero-knowledge cryptography presents a foundation for the web that is secure, compliant, and fair. New web standards built upon this technology offer users choice and will mitigate the impact of data breaches.

First, zero-knowledge makes web services secure.

For example, rather than risk leaking a user's password, users can now hash their password (with salt and pepper) on-device, without ever having to send their password over to any web service. Not only does this keep user data on-device, it reduces access control overhead and eases the legal responsibility that web services must bear today.

Second, zero-knowledge makes web services compliant.

For example, brokerages today not only learn the complete history of a user’s transactions, they also learn when a user performs a trade. Access to this data allows brokerages to sell valuable information to third parties, choose to deny service to specific users, and even front run their own users on exchange. This is a serious and unsolved problem. Users should not have to hope their brokerage behaves honestly, and regulators should have proof that brokerages adhere to their standards.

Third, zero-knowledge makes web services fair.

Web services should not have to possess users’ data in order to provide a valuable experience. Users should be able to interact with web services blind to their personal information. For example, if a brokerage cannot learn their users’ data, they cannot target any one user - whether to deny them service or offer an unfair price. The choice of handing data over should be one that users get to make.

This is merely a taste of what Provable is building.

The next step for web developers.

Provable defines a new standard for the web. It takes a radically new approach to security, privacy, and data ownership. Users no longer need to sacrifice information they can never take back, and web services no longer have to risk compromising their users’ data.

Today, we are releasing Developer Preview II.

To write private applications on Provable intuitively and easily, we built Leo, the first programming language for formally verified, zero-knowledge applications. Leo ensures users’ data is private-by-default and runs seamlessly on the web.

To make it easy for web developers to try Leo, we are releasing a playground for Leo.

Leo Playground

As more people come to use the web in their daily lives, applications will require greater security, compliance, and fairness. We want web developers to build applications powered by Provable and make private applications standard in every users’ life.

This is just the beginning of the next chapter for the web.

About Howard Wu, CEO - Provable

Howard Wu is a co-founder and CEO of Provable. His notable contributions, including Zexe and DIZK, to the fields of zero-knowledge proofs and elliptic-curve cryptography have been adopted by protocols such as Ethereum and Zcash. Howard graduated from UC Berkeley with a research background in cryptography, computer security, and verifiable computing.

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