Let’s Eat a Private Cake
After I left Ant Financial/Alibaba, I was filled with gratitude toward Ant Financial, Alibaba, and our global partners for 3 incredible years – they have been an absolute blast. No one is enabling global financial inclusion at the rate Ant Financial is, and I’m grateful to have gotten an opportunity to foster that. I worked in China, Israel, The USA, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Germany, Russia, The UK, Finland and several other countries. The work has grounded me and helped me understand how enabling global trust at the scale Ant does helps people self-actualize. I will forever be an Aliren.
As for what’s next for me – I am going to take a stab at building cryptographically powered privacy, without reliance on the legal system. This effort is called TripleBlind. We are building an API that will enable bulletproof privacy as a service, allowing the option to enforce privacy mathematically.
The legal/contractual approach to privacy falls short for several reasons:
- It still leaves open huge holes to allow misuse of the data, intentionally or otherwise, both internally and externally. Breaking compliance requires just one incompetent or malicious actor in the entire organization. E.g. the major credit bureau using “admin/admin” as their credentials for their primary database. Or the major credit card issuer keeping all of their credit pull information in an unsecured S3 bucket.
- The western world also has a tendency to take rule of law for granted. As we shift to a world where the vast majority of internet users are not from the western world, incumbent approaches that assume contracts can actually be enforced are inherently “broken”.
The core thesis around TripleBlind is that privacy enforced data & algorithm interactions can unlock the tremendous amount of value that is currently trapped in private data stores and proprietary algorithms. If we move from a world of “don’t be evil” to “can’t be evil”, we can enable entities to freely collaborate around their most sensitive data and algorithms without compromising their privacy, allowing them to work together to create compounded value in a way never before possible.
Around privacy, I believe we can have our cake and eat it too – let’s eat a private cake.