Nym is a privacy platform that secures user data and protects against surveillance. It leverages the mixnet, a type of overlay network that makes both content and metadata of transactions private through network-level obfuscation and incentivisation, and Coconut, a privacy technology that creates an application-level private access control layer. Nym also utilises Nyx, our Cosmos SDK blockchain, to allow for us to use payment tokens in the form of
NYM, as well as smart contracts, in order to create a robust, decentralised, and secure environment for the mixnet. In a nutshell, Nym is a solution that provides strong privacy protection for users in the digital world.
Our mixnet design is based on the Loopix Anonymity System, somewhat modified to provide better quality of service guarantees.
In this brief video, our Head of Research and creator of the Loopix mixnet paper, Ania Piotrowska, delves into the design of the Loopix mixnet in depth at USENix 2017.
The Nym mixnet effectively addresses privacy concerns by utilizing network nodes to mix messages, making them unidentifiable to adversaries. Each packet is layer encrypted, and binary-padded so that it’s indistinguishable from all other packets. Incoming packets are “mixed” with all other messages inside the node. That is, the node strips one layer of packet encryption, and adds a small random transmission delay, so that messages are not emitted in the same order as which they arrived.
Next, the message is sent to another mix node, decrypted and mixed again, then to a third mixnode for further mixing. Finally, the message is delivered to its destination gateway.
As long as there’s enough traffic flowing through the nodes, even an adversary who can monitor the entire network cannot trace the packet flow through the system.
Privacy Enhanced Applications (PEApps) that need to defend against network-level monitoring can utilize the Nym mixnet to protect against network-level surveillance.
Nym is the first mixnet to incentivise its node operators via a cryptocurrency: the
NYM token. The tokenomic design of Nym ensures that nodes are motivated to provide top-notch performance and robust security, as they are financially rewarded for doing so. The video below contains an explanation of Nym’s tokenomic design from Nym’s Chief Scientist Claudia Diaz:
Nym is a type of technology that is designed to keep your online activities private from surveillance networks which track users of many online services. As well as protecting the contents of your messages - the data - Nym’s design means that metadata - data about the data - is also kept private. This means that the location from which you sent your message, the time you did so, and a lot of information about your network connection is kept private: this is information that can be used to deanonymise users of other privacy systems, even if they employ encrypted messaging!
Nym works by “mixing” your data with other users’ data, making it much more difficult for anyone to single out and track just your information.
This system is unique because it provides an incentive for people to participate and help improve the network, making it stronger and more secure for everyone. By breaking down Nym and understanding its implications, you can see why it’s an important tool for anyone who values their privacy online.