NuCypher’s Mission & Values

As both NuCypher’s core team and community have grown, we’ve found that our mission and values have become increasingly important guideposts for the decisions we make as an organization. To ensure alignment within our core team and our broader community, we’ve decided it’s time for us to formalize that mission and the values by which we operate. Planting our flag as an organization helps us determine what to work on and why, recruit people who believe in our cause, and foster a community of which we’re proud to be a part.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://blog.nucypher.com/nucypher-s-mission---values/

What is NuCypher, then?

(or, more to the point, what is “nucypher”?)

From docs.nucypher.com (and a few other places):

A proxy re-encryption network to empower privacy in decentralized systems

I think it’s time to evolve beyond this thinking by amending two pieces of this description:

  1. “A proxy re-encryption network”

The way I like to understand it is that the network is not particularly PRE focused, but instead that Ursula, our PRE interface, is our initial cryptographic offering (“ICO” if you will) on our network.

I think we are better served to specifically frame the features and value propositions of Ursula when we talk about PRE, rather than the larger frame of the network generally.

In turn, the value proposition of the network is that it provides interfaces and runtimes which empower users who wish to utilize novel and exciting cryptographic primitives.

In other words, the network is a story - a cryptology - of how our abstractions (embodied by the Character classes) facilitate the use of cryptography. (And I realize that I’m using these words a hair differently then they have traditionally been used by the NSA, but I’ve been using them this way for a year now to receptive audiences, and this usage is surely more in keeping with the actual distinction between the -ology and -ography suffixes).

  1. “empower privacy”

We aren’t interested in empowering the concept of privacy for privacy’s sake. Rather, we are interested in empowering people and programs which will benefit from privacy (and perhaps other political imperatives) which stem from our cryptography.

In fact, I think that moving forward, we will find that privacy is only one facet of the most compelling use cases. I like the phrase, “privacy, authenticity, and novelty” to describe the shelters that we build for our users.

Therefore, I propose that this phrase - in all the places it is used - be amended to read:

NuCypher: a decentralized cryptological network offering accessible, intuitive, and collusion-resistant interfaces and runtimes to novel and exciting cryptographic primitives.