What is Keep Network? (KEEP)
The Keep Network is a software aiming to incentivize a global network of computers to store private information that can be deployed on public blockchains via smart contracts.
Many decentralized applications (dapps) running on public blockchains, like Ethereum, require the use of private data (such as health records, credit scores and financial information) to operate.
To protect individual user’s privacy, the Keep Network enables private data to be stored outside the blockchain in “keeps”, which are containers that allow smart contracts to manage and use pieces of the stored data without exposing it to the public blockchain.
In order to operate a keep, nodes must stake KEEP tokens, Keep Network’s native cryptocurrency, to be selected by the Keep Network. These nodes are awarded KEEP for successfully maintaining keeps.
The first application built on the Keep Network is tBTC, which serves as a bridge between Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin holders deposit their BTC funds to a smart contract and receive tBTC, an Ethereum token of equivalent BTC value, used to access various dapps on the Ethereum blockchain.
Keep Network was founded by Matt Luongo and Corbin Pon in 2017. They previously co-founded Fold, a bitcoin shopping app, in 2014.
Keep Network sold $20 million worth of KEEP tokens in two rounds in private sales to investors, which include noted venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and noted cryptocurrency investors Polychain Capital, Fenbushi Capital and Paradigm.
How Does the Keep Network Work?
Keep Network’s key feature is its ability to store private data, called secrets, outside the blockchain systems in keeps.
Keeps allow blockchain-based applications to interact with secrets without fully exposing their contents through the use of smart contracts, who, when a specific criteria is met, can provide data, encrypted files or verification of a user’s identity to the application.
Computers, or nodes, who maintain keeps are known as keep providers and are assigned fractions of a secret using the random beacon protocol, an advanced cryptography technique for trustless randomization.
When a user wishes to purchase a keep, they publish a request to the Keep Network, who, in turn, divides and mixes their secrets, sends shares of them to different keep providers, and returns keys to the users to access the content of their keeps when needed.
Keep providers must stake a certain amount of KEEP that can be retrieved by the protocol should they be unreliable or negligent with the keeps. However, providers incentivized through KEEP rewards for their services, including providing encryption, computation and storage services.
Why does KEEP have value?
The KEEP cryptocurrency derives its value from its ability to ensure the safekeeping of private data.
Notably, KEEP is built into the network itself and is the only cryptocurrency that can be used for key network operations.
For example, users wishing to become providers must first acquire and stake KEEP tokens in a smart contract, and can be retrieved should they act honestly and provide services of sufficient quality.
Staking KEEP allows users to be selected at random by the network to operate keeps, and, once selected, they must deposit more KEEP for each new keep they help operate. Providers are then compensated with additional KEEP tokens if they perform their tasks satisfactorily.
Of note, users who wish to store data on keeps can pay for this service using either KEEP tokens or ETH, Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency.
Like many other cryptocurrencies, the supply of KEEP tokens is limited, meaning that according to the software’s rules there will only ever be 1 billion tokens.
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The Keep Network may be appealing to developers seeking to create blockchain-based applications that require access to private data.
Consequently, users wishing to securely store private information may also be interested in using Keep Network’s services.
Investors may want to add KEEP to their portfolio should they believe in the future of data storage to be accessed by smart contracts for secure, private, computations on blockchains.
Users may also be interested in KEEP if they wish to use their Bitcoin holdings to gain exposure to Ethereum’s decentralized finance (DeFi) tools.
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