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Zencode is a project inspired by the discourse on data commons and technological sovereignty.

14 May Fri
16:00 CEST

#data commons, #TechnologicalSovereignty, #algorithms, #DataProcessingAwareness, #PrivacyByDesign

Zencode is a project inspired by the discourse on data commons and technological sovereignty. The established goal is that of improving people’s awareness of how their data is processed by algorithms, as well facilitate the work of developers to create applications that follow privacy by design principles. The main use case taken in consideration is that of distributed computing capable of processing untrusted code and executing advanced cryptographic functions, for instance it can be used with (but not limited to) any distributed ledger (blockchain) implementation as an interpreter of smart contracts.

The Zencode language makes it easy and less error-prone to write portable scripts implementing end-to-end encryption with operations executed inside an isolated environment (the Zenroom VM) that can be easily ported to any platform, embedded in any language and made inter-operable with any blockchain.

The Zencode implementation is heavily inspired by modern research in language theoretical security, it adopts Lua as direct-syntax parser to build a non-Turing complete domain-specific language enforcing coarse-grained of computations and recognition of data before processing. Its interpreter, the Zenroom VM, supports secure isolation and protects its hosts from errors, it has no access to the calling process, the network, underlying operating system or filesystem.

Zenroom VM is a process virtual machine: a restricted execution environment designed to process safely any Zencode instruction, even when malicious. Upon any failure during phases of interpretation of code, validation of data or execution of operations Zenroom aborts returning meaningful error messages that help programmers assess what problem had occurred.

Zencode language scenarios are written following a declarative approach and provide functional tools to manipulate efciently even complex data structures.

Denis ‘Jaromil’ Roio

Denis Roio, better known by his nickname Jaromil, is the founder of and the CTO of the DECODE EU flagship project on blockchain technologies and data ownership, involving pilots in cooperation with the municipalities of Barcelona and Amsterdam. Jaromil published his PhD on "Algorithmic Sovereignty" ( and received the Vilém Flusser Award at Transmediale (Berlin, 2009) while leading for six years the R&D department of the Netherlands Media Art Institute (Montevideo/TBA). He has been a fellow of the "40 under 40" European Young Leaders programme since 2012 and was listed in the "Purpose Economy" list of the top 100 social entrepreneurs in the EU in 2014.