Layer 1 protocol NEAR has tapped blockchain security firm Nym to provide end-to-end encryption and metadata privacy services for its ecosystem.

Nym, which provides blockchain agnostic ‘layer 0’ privacy infrastructure, will avail its mixnet tools to encrypt and cloak blockchain traffic and communication across the NEAR Protocol ecosystem.

Masking off-chain metadata traffic will protect transaction data during communication and create a barrier for malicious actors looking to de-anonymize users through access to IP addresses.

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An announcement from the collaborating projects notes that NEAR users will be able to access ecosystem decentralized applications (DApps), DeFi protocols and NFTs with added security and privacy.

Nym’s integration aims to provide added privacy to the NEAR ecosystem, given that permissionless blockchains typically allow for transaction data and some off-chain information including IP addresses and geolocation data to be accessed by savvy users.

This provides a vector for unwanted surveillance, targeted attacks and cybercrime. A statement from Nym CEO Harry Halpin highlights the importance of privacy-preserving tools to improve the nascent Web3 space:

“Blockchain technology is a large change in digital communications but it’s an open secret that by their very nature, blockchains are not private. Only weaving privacy into the fabric of Web3 can ensure its success.”

Nym’s mixnet protects blockchain traffic from detailed analysis by splitting data into encrypted packets that are then sent to “mix nodes” around the world. “Cover traffic” is randomly inserted into the mix to provide greater obfuscation of the communication system, greatly increasing the difficulty of metadata analysis.

NEAR Foundation CEO Chris Donovan notes that Nym’s technology will afford ecosystem participants greater privacy when using the protocol and speaks to the ethos of privacy-enhancing services:

“Privacy is a fundamental human right and a cornerstone of the Web3 vision to create a more secure, user-centric and user-empowered web.”

As Cointelegraph reported in October 2023, Nym Technologies launched a $300 million fund to identify and support Web3 projects building security-focused infrastructure. The fund will initially look to support wallets and platforms that store private keys that interact and manage access to DApps as well as RPC protocols and open-source Web3 tools and services.

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