- Bluzelle leverages Equinix SmartKey® to enable secure, cloud-hosted PoS validators.
- The solution can initially be used with Cosmos but will be expanded to Ethereum 2.0 and other blockchains.
Bluzelle has unveiled a partnership with Equinix to enable its users to host Proof-of-Stake (PoS)-based blockchain validators on a cloud solution. The cooperation will allow stakers to combine Bluzelle’s patented communication module with Equinix’s Hardware Security Modules (HSM) capabilities.
Thus, retail participants will be able to operate validators, according to a press release shared with CNF, in a cloud with “the same security and performance as professional validators.”
Bluzelle is a database provider composed of a cluster of Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus-driven blockchains operating in a decentralized fashion for Web3. Geared for enterprise use, Bluzelle uses an advanced data delivery network to prevent performance bugs. In 2018, Bluzelle completed a public sale estimated at $19.5 million.
Its partner Equinix is a $50 billion publicly-traded company on NASDAQ. Specializing in internet connectivity and data center, it is considered one of the leaders in data center colocation with 210 data centers spread in more than 25 countries around the world.
Bluzelle’s solution connects with Equinix SmartKey
The cooperation between these companies is intended to offer an alternative to allow users with low technical knowledge to participate in a network. In that way, they will profit from staking rewards.
In the past, many users have turned to cloud solutions that run using Google or Amazon services. But as a popular saying in the crypto space states, “not your keys, not your coins.” That is, when using these types of solutions, users must rely on an intermediary to maintain the performance and security of the platform. The release states:
(…) if validator’s cloud environment were to be hacked, the attackers can expose the staker to slashing and loss of reputation. If a sufficient number of the blockchain’s validators rely on vulnerable cloud platforms, an attack could compromise the entire blockchain and destroy its value.
For this reason, Bluzelle and Equinix have created a solution for small stakers with intermediate knowledge of computer systems. These users can employ the Tendermint Key Management System (TMKMS) module, which is connected to Equinix’s enterprise-class HMS service called SmartKey.
The solution is certified FIPS140-2 grade 3 hardware and will initially be available with the backend provided by Google Cloud Platform. The solution will operate as follows:
Bluzelle’s module allows Equinix SmartKey to sign blocks whenever requested by TMKMS. This separates the vital private key information from the computing environment on Google Cloud. The private key remains stored on HSMs at all times, with SmartKey acting as an External Key Manager (EKM) for Google Cloud Platform. It’s like having your Ledger Nano S store your private keys and the networks never being exposed to them.
Initially, the solution can be implemented on Cosmos‘ blockchain with its Tendermint consensus mechanism. However, Bluzelle plans to expand its scope to enable validation on Ethereum 2.0 and other blockchains. Bluzelle CEO and co-founder Pavel Bains said:
This level of security is generally inaccessible to all but the largest and most well-funded validators. While on some networks, validators are meant to be professional enterprises, blockchains like Ethereum 2.0 make a point in opening validation to as many enthusiasts as possible.
Product Management Director for Equinix Asia-Pacific, Anthony Ho, had this to say about the partnership:
The Equinix Smart Key architecture offers all the benefits of processing data in the cloud while maintaining full control over location, distribution and access of your keys. We are excited that blockchain validators will discover all the benefits of our key management solution thanks to the collaboration with Bluzelle.