This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #98

Issue #98


Issue #98

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: Snarky Ceremonies.

TLDR:

  1. Succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge (SNARKs) have found numerous applications in the blockchain setting and elsewhere.

  2. The most efficient SNARKs require a distributed ceremony protocol to generate public parameters, also known as a structured reference string (SRS).

  3. This work gives a security framework for non-interactive zero-knowledge arguments with a ceremony protocol.

  4. It revisits the ceremony protocol of Groth’s SNARK, showing that the original construction can be simplified and optimized, and then proves its security in the proposed framework.

  5. Importantly, the construction avoids the random beacon model used in the original work.

AuthorsMarkulf Kohlweiss*†, Mary Maller‡, Janno Siim§, Mikhail Volkhov†,

Affiliations: * IOHK, † University of Edinburgh, ‡ Ethereum Foundation, § University of Tartu.


Security:

1. Paper Title: Redactable Blockchain Protocol with Instant Redaction.

Summary: A generic approach of designing redactable blockchain protocol in the permissionless setting with instant redaction.

Authors: Jing Xu*, Xinyu Li*, Lingyuan Yin*, Yuan Lu*, Qiang Tang†, and Zhenfeng Zhang*,

Affiliations* Institute of Software Chinese Academy of Sciences and † The University of Sydney.


Privacy:

1. Paper Title: The Nym Network The Next Generation of Privacy Infrastructure.

Summary: The core component of Nym is a mixnet that protects network traffic metadata for applications, providing communication privacy superior to both VPNs and Tor against global adversaries that can watch the entire internet.

AuthorsClaudia Diaz*†, Harry Halpin†, and Aggelos Kiayias‡§,

Affiliations: * KU Leuven, † Nym Technologies SA, and ‡ University of Edinburgh, and § IOHK.

2. Paper Title: SoK: Auditability and Accountability in Distributed Payment Systems.

Summary: This paper reviews a number of existing proposals for distributed payment systems that offer some form of auditability for reg- ulators.

Authors: Panagiotis Chatzigiannis*, Foteini Baldimtsi*, and Konstantinos Chalkias

Affiliations* George Mason University and † Novi Financial / Facebook Research.

3. Paper Title: WabiSabi: Centrally Coordinated CoinJoins with Variable Amounts.

Summary: A new protocol for centrally coordinated CoinJoin implementations utilizing keyed verification anonymous credentials and homomorphic value commitments.

AuthorsÁdám Ficsór*, Yuval Kogman*, Lucas Ontivero*, and István András Seres†,

Affiliations: * zkSNACKs and † Eötvös Loránd University.


Scalability:

1. Paper Title: GearBox: An Efficient UC Sharded Ledger Leveraging the Safety-Liveness Dichotomy.

Summary: A novel sharding approach that leverages the safety-liveness dichotomy to get the smallest possible shards, and therefore optimal efficiency, without sacrificing security.

Authors: Bernardo David*, Bernardo Magri†, Christian Matt‡, Jesper Buus Nielsen†, and Daniel Tschudi‡,

Affiliations* ITU Copenhagen, † Concordium Blockchain Research Center, Aarhus University, and ‡ Concordium, Zürich.

2. Paper Title: Scaling Distributed Ledgers and Privacy-Preserving Applications.

Summary: Techniques aiming to make blockchain technologies and smart contract platforms practical by improving their scalability, latency, and privacy.

AuthorsAlberto Sonnino*,

Affiliations: * University College London.


Proofs:

1. Paper Title: On Publicly-Accountable Zero-Knowledge and Small Shuffle Arguments.

Summary: This work constructs interactive, public-coin, zero-knowledge arguments with noticeable soundness error for proving that a target vector of commitments is a pseudorandom permutation of a source vector.

Authors: Nils Fleischhacker* and Mark Simkin

Affiliations* Ruhr University Bochum and † Aarhus University.

2. Paper Title: Compact Zero-Knowledge Proofs for Threshold ECDSA with Trustless Setup.

Summary: Compact zero-knowledge proofs for threshold ECDSA to lower the communication bandwidth, as well as the computation cost. 

AuthorsTsz Hon Yuen*, Handong Cui*, and Xiang Xie†,

Affiliations: * The University of Hong Kong and † MatrixElements Technologies.


Consensus:

1. Paper Title: YOSO: You Only Speak Once Secure MPC with Stateless Ephemeral Roles.

Summary: A formal model for defining and studying protocols which in particular codifies the separation between role-assignment and protocol execution and codifies the notion of only speaking once.

Authors: Craig Gentry*, Shai Halevi*, Hugo Krawczyk*, Bernardo Magri†, Jesper Buus Nielsen†, Tal Rabin*, and Sophia Yakoubov‡,

Affiliations* Algorand Foundation, † Concordium Blockchain Research Center, and ‡ Aarhus University.


Tokenomics:

1. Paper Title: Formal Analysis of Composable DeFi Protocols.

Summary: A formal process-algebraic technique that models DeFi protocols in a compositional manner to allow for efficient property verification.

AuthorsPalina Tolmach*†, Yi Li†, Shang-Wei Lin†, and Yang Liu†,

Affiliations: * Institute of High Performance Computing, Agency for Science, Technology and Research and † Nanyang Technological University.

2. Paper Title: Reducing the Volatility of Cryptocurrencies -- A Survey of Stablecoins.

Summary: How stablecoins help reduce the volatility of cryptocurrencies by surveying different types of stablecoins and their stability mechanisms.

AuthorsAyten Kahya*, Bhaskar Krishnamachari*, and Seokgu Yun†

Affiliations: * University of Southern California and † SovereignWallet Network Pte. Ltd.

3. Paper Title: Economic Implications of Scaling Blockchains: Why the Consensus Protocol Matters.

Summary: An economic model whereby agents can store wealth through the blockchain’s cryptocurrency but may face a costly delay when liquidating due to the blockchain’s finite transaction rate.

AuthorsKose John*, Thomas Rivera†, and􏰀 Fahad Saleh􏰁‡,

Affiliations: * NYU, † McGill University, and ‡ Wake Forest University.


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This newsletter is for informational purposes only. This content does not in any way constitute an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any investment solution or recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on zk Capital should be relied on in any manner as advice. None of the authors, contributors, or anyone else connected with zk Capital, in any way whatsoever, can be responsible for your use of the information contained in this newsletter.

This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #97

Issue #97


Issue #97

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: Verification Dilemmas, Law, and the Promise of Zero-Knowledge Proofs.

TLDR:

  1. Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs)—a class of cryptographic protocols that allow one party to verify a fact or characteristic of secret information without revealing the actual secret—can help solve these verification dilemmas.

  2. ZKPs have recently demonstrated their mettle, for example, by providing the privacy backbone for the blockchain. Yet they have received scant notice in the legal literature.

  3. This Article fills that gap by providing the first deep dive into ZKPs’ broad relevance for law.

  4. It explains ZKPs’ conceptual power and technical operation to a legal audience. It then demonstrates how, and that, ZKPs can be applied as a governance tool to transform verification dilemmas in multiple legal contexts.

  5. Finally, the Article surfaces, and provides a framework to address, the policy issues implicated by the potential substitution of ZKP governance tools in place of existing law and practice.

AuthorsKenneth A. Bamberger*, Ran Canetti†, Shafi Goldwasser*, Rebecca Wexler* and Evan Zimmerman*

Affiliations: * University of California, Berkeley and † Boston University.


Security:

1. Paper Title: SigVM: Toward Fully Autonomous Smart Contracts.

Summary: A novel blockchain virtual machine that supports an event-driven execution model, enabling developers to build fully autonomous smart contracts.

Authors: Ryan Song*, Zihan Zhao*, Yuxi Cai*, Andreas Veneris*, and Fan Long*,

Affiliations* University of Toronto.

2. Paper Title: An Overview of Forks and Coordination in Blockchain Development.

Summary: This manuscript is aimed at elaborating the concept of blockchain technology alongside its coordination and implementation with other emerging technologies.

Authors: Neo C.K. Yiu*,

Affiliations* University of Oxford*.


Privacy:

No papers.


Scalability:

1. Paper Title: Blitz: Secure Multi-Hop Payments Without Two-Phase Commits.

Summary: A novel payment protocol built on top of the existing payment channel constructions, which combines the advantages of both the optimistic 1-round and the 2-phase-commit paradigms.

Authors: Lukas Aumayr*, Pedro Moreno-Sanchez†, Aniket Kate‡, and Matteo Maffei*,

Affiliations* TU Wien, † IMDEA Software Institute, and ‡ Purdue University.


Proofs:

No papers.


Consensus:

1. Paper Title: Efficient State Management in Distributed Ledgers.

Summary: This work presents a novel transaction optimization techniques to be followed by wallets, so as to create transactions that reduce the shared state cost and a novel fee scheme that incentivizes the creation of “state-friendly” transactions.

Authors: Dimitris Karakostas*†, Nikos Karayannidis†, and Aggelos Kiayias*†,

Affiliations* University of Edinburgh and † IOHK.

Paper Title: Communication-Efficient BFT Protocols Using Small Trusted Hardware to Tolerate Minority Corruption.

Summary: This work presents results that use small trusted hardware without worsening communication complexity assuming the adversary controls a fraction of the network that is less than one-half.

AuthorsSravya Yandamuri*, Ittai Abraham†, Kartik Nayak*, and Michael K. Reiter*,

Affiliations: * Duke University and † VMware Research.


Tokenomics:

1. Paper Title: Managing Risk in DeFi.

Summary: This work identifies four key risks with relevance for managers, practitioners and scholars contemplating a proactive engagement with decentralized financial applications.

AuthorsJohannes Rude Jensen* and Omri Ross*,

Affiliations: * University of Copenhagen.


Upcoming Events:


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This newsletter is for informational purposes only. This content does not in any way constitute an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any investment solution or recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on zk Capital should be relied on in any manner as advice. None of the authors, contributors, or anyone else connected with zk Capital, in any way whatsoever, can be responsible for your use of the information contained in this newsletter.

This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #96

Issue #96


Issue #96

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: IPDL: A Simple Framework for Formally Verifying Distributed Cryptographic Protocols.

TLDR:

  1. Although there have been many successes in verifying proofs of non-interactive cryptographic primitives such as encryption and signatures, formal verification of interactive cryptographic protocols is still a nascent area.

  2. While in principle, it seems possible to extend general frameworks such as Easy- crypt to encode proofs for more complex, interactive protocols, a big challenge is whether the human effort would be scalable enough for proof mechanization to eventually acquire mainstream usage among the cryptography community.

  3. This paper works toward closing this gap by introducing a simple framework, Interactive Probabilistic Dependency Logic (IPDL), for reasoning about a certain well-behaved subset of cryptographic protocols.

  4. A primary design goal of IPDL is for formal cryptographic proofs to resemble their on-paper counterparts. To this end, IPDL includes an equational logic to reason about approximate observational equivalence (i.e., computational indistinguishability) properties between protocols.

  5. IPDL adopts a channel-centric core logic, which decomposes the behavior of the protocol into the behaviors along each communication channel. It supports straight-line programs with statically bounded loops.

  6. The use of IPDL is demonstrated by a number of case studies, including a multi-use, secure message communication protocol, a multi-party coin toss with abort protocol, several oblivious transfer constructions, as well as the two- party GMW protocol for securely evaluating general circuits.

  7. A mechanization of the IPDL proof system is provided and the case studies in Coq, and the code is open sourced.

AuthorsGreg Morrisett*, Elaine Shi†, Kristina Sojakova‡, Xiong Fan§, and Joshua Gancher✜,

Affiliations: * Cornell Tech, † Carnegie Mellon University, ‡ INRIA, § University of Maryland, ✜ Cornell University.


Security:

1. Paper Title: A Security Framework for Distributed Ledgers.

Summary: The first framework for defining and analyzing the security of general distributed ledgers, with an ideal distributed ledger functionality.

Authors: Christoph Egger*, Mike Graf†, Ralf Kusters†, Daniel Rausch†, Viktoria Ronge*, and Dominique Schroder*

Affiliations* Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg and † University of Stuttgart.


Privacy:

No papers.


Scalability:

No papers.


Proofs:

No papers.


Consensus:

1. Paper Title: Fast Validated Byzantine Broadcast.

Summary: A new broadcast formulation named partially synchronous validated Byzantine broadcast (psync-VBB) that solves a single-shot of BFT replication.

Authors: Ittai Abraham*, Kartik Nayak†, Ling Ren, Zhuolun Xiang

Affiliations* VMware Research, † Duke University, and ‡ University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Tokenomics:

No papers.


Conferences’ Videos:


This newsletter is for informational purposes only. This content does not in any way constitute an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any investment solution or recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on zk Capital should be relied on in any manner as advice. None of the authors, contributors, or anyone else connected with zk Capital, in any way whatsoever, can be responsible for your use of the information contained in this newsletter.

This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #95

Issue #95


Issue #95

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: The Bitcoin Cash Backbone Protocol.

TLDR:

  1. Bitcoin Cash, created in 2017, is a “hard fork” from Bitcoin responding to the need for allowing a higher transaction volume. This is achieved by a larger block size, as well as a new difficulty adjustment (target recalculation) function(s) that acts more frequently (as opposed to Bitcoin’s difficulty adjustment happening about every two weeks), resulting in a potentially different target for each block.

  2. While seemingly achieving its goal in practice, there is no formal analysis to back this proposal up.

  3. This paper provides the first formal cryptographic analysis of Bitcoin Cash’s target recalculation functions against all possible adversaries.

  4. It follows the analytical approach developed in the Bitcoin backbone protocol, of first establishing basic properties of the blockchain data structure, from which the properties of a robust transaction ledger (namely, Consistency and Liveness) can be derived.

  5. However, the more active target recalculation mechanism as well as the more pronounced fluctuation of the mining population (due in part to miners’ behavior of switching chains towards achieving higher expected rewards) require new analytical tools.

  6. The analysis is performed in the bounded-delay network model with dynamic participation of miners, of both ASERT and SMA (Bitcoin Cash’s current and former recalculation functions, respectively)

  7. In order to satisfy security (namely, properties satisfied except with negligible probability in the security parameter) considerably larger parameter values should be used with respect to the ones used in practice.

AuthorsJuan Garay* and Yu Shen*,

Affiliations: * Texas A&M University.


Security:

1. Paper Title: Low-cost attacks on Ethereum 2.0 by sub-1/3 stakeholders.

Summary: Two dishonest strategies that can be cheaply executed on the Ethereum 2.0 beacon chain, even by validators holding less than one-third of the total stake: malicious chain reorganizations (“reorgs”) and finality delays.

Authors: Michael Neuder*, Daniel J. Moroz*, Rithvik Rao*, and David C. Parkes*,

Affiliations* Harvard University.


Privacy:

1. Paper Title: An Evaluation of Cryptocurrency Payment Channel Networks and Their Privacy Implications.

Summary: An analysis of current PCNs along with their privacy implications.

Authors: Enes Erdin*, Suat Mercan†, and Kemal Akkaya,

Affiliations* University of Central Arkansas and † Florida International University.


Scalability:

1. Paper Title: FPPW: A Fair and Privacy Preserving Watchtower For Bitcoin.

Summary: A new privacy-preserving payment channel with watchtower scheme for Bitcoin, which is fair w.r.t. all channel participants and allows the channel parties to go offline for a long period of time.

Authors: Arash Mirzaei*, Amin Sakzad*, Jiangshan Yu*, and Ron Steinfeld*,

Affiliations* Monash University.


Proofs:

1. Paper Title: BooLigero: Improved Sublinear Zero Knowledge Proofs for Boolean Circuits.

Summary: An improvement to Ligero tailored for Boolean circuits.

Authors: Yaron Gvili*, Sarah Scheffler†, and Mayank Varia†,

Affiliations* Cryptomnium LLC and † Boston University.

2. Paper Title: Cuproof: A Novel Range Proof with Constant Size.

Summary: The scheme of Cuproof would make a range proof to prove that a secret number v ∈ [a, b] without exposing redundant information of v.

Authors: Cong Deng*, Xianghong Tang*, Lin You*, and Gengran Hu*,

AffiliationsHangzhou Dianzi University.


Consensus:

1. Paper Title: Order-Fair Consensus in the Permissionless Setting.

Summary: The main contribution of this paper is to construct fair ordering protocols in the permissionless setting.

Authors: Mahimna Kelkar*, Soubhik Deb†, and Sreeram Kannan†,

Affiliations* Cornell University and † University of Washington.


Tokenomics:

1. Paper Title: How Elon Musk’s Twitter activity moves cryptocurrency markets.

Summary: This work analyzes to what extent Musk’s Twitter activity affects short-term cryptocurrency returns and volume.

AuthorsLennart Ante*†,

Affiliations: * Blockchain Research Lab and † Universität Hamburg.


Conferences’ Videos:


Jobs:


RFPs:


This newsletter is for informational purposes only. This content does not in any way constitute an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any investment solution or recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on zk Capital should be relied on in any manner as advice. None of the authors, contributors, or anyone else connected with zk Capital, in any way whatsoever, can be responsible for your use of the information contained in this newsletter.

This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #94

Issue #94


Issue #94

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: The Longest-Chain Protocol Under Random Delays.

TLDR:

  1. In the field of distributed consensus and blockchains, the synchronous communication model assumes that all messages between honest parties are delayed at most by a known constant ∆.

  2. Recent literature establishes that the longest-chain blockchain protocol is secure under the synchronous model. However, for a fixed mining rate, the security guarantees degrade with ∆.

  3. This work analyzes the performance of the longest-chain protocol under the assumption that the communication delays are random, independent, and identically distributed.

  4. This communication model allows for distributions with unbounded support and is a strict generalization of the synchronous model.

  5. The work provides safety and liveness guarantees with simple, explicit bounds on the failure probabilities. These bounds hold for infinite-horizon executions and decay exponentially with the security parameter.

  6. In particular, this work shows that the longest-chain protocol has good security guarantees when delays are sporadically large and possibly unbounded, which is reflective of real-world network conditions.

AuthorsSuryanarayana Sankagiri*, Shreyas Gandlur†, Bruce Hajek*,

Affiliations: * University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and † Princeton University.


Security:

1. Paper Title: MERCAT: Mediated, Encrypted, Reversible, SeCure Asset Transfers.

Summary: This paper proposes leveraging a hybrid design approach, by using zero-knowledge proofs, supported by restrictions enforced by trusted mediators.

Authors: Aram Jivanyan*, Jesse Lancaster*, Arash Afshar* and Parnian Alimi*,

Affiliations* Polymath.

2. Paper Title: SteemOps: Extracting and Analyzing Key Operations in Steemit Blockchain-based Social Media Platform.

Summary: This paper presents a new dataset that organizes over 900 million operations from Steemit into three sub-datasets: 1) social-network operation dataset (SOD); 2) witness-election op- eration dataset (WOD); 3) value-tansfer operation dataset (VOD).

Authors: Chao Li*, Balaji Palanisamy†, Runhua Xu‡, Jinlai Xu†, Jingzhe Wang†,

Affiliations* Beijing Jiaotong University, † University of Pittsburgh, and ‡ IBM Almaden Research Center.

3. Paper Title: Open problems in cross-chain protocols.

Summary: A number of hardly researched problems which developers encounter when building cross-chain products.

Authors: Thomas Eizinger*, Philipp Hoenisch*, and Lucas Soriano del Pino*,

Affiliations* CoBloX Pty Ltd.

4. Paper Title: Atomic Swaps between Bitcoin and Monero.

Summary: How adaptor signatures can be employed to swap between Monero and Bitcoin.

Authors: Philipp Hoenisch*, and Lucas Soriano del Pino*,

Affiliations* CoBloX Pty Ltd.


Privacy:

No papers.


Scalability:

No papers.


Proofs:

No papers.


Consensus:

1. Paper Title: FedChain: Secure Proof-of-Stake-based Framework for Federated-blockchain Systems.

Summary: A novel framework for federated-blockchain systems, to enable effective transferring of tokens between different blockchain networks.

Authors: Cong T. Nguyen*, Dinh Thai Hoang†, Diep N. Nguyen†, Yong Xiao‡, Hoang-Anh Pham*, Eryk Dutkiewicz†, and Nguyen Huynh Tuong*,

AffiliationsHo Chi Minh City University of Technology, † University of Technology Sydney, and ‡ Huazhong University of Science and Technology.


Tokenomics:

1. Paper Title: Insuring Crypto: The Birth of Digital Asset Insurance.

Summary: An overview of the digital asset industry outlining which insurers are providing digital asset insurance, how insurers are overcoming the challenges of underwriting this new insurance product, and which companies in the crypto ecosystem are obtaining coverage.

AuthorsAdam Zuckerman*

Affiliations: * University of Pennsylvania.

2. Paper Title: Riding the Wave of Crypto-Exuberance: The Potential Misusage of Corporate Blockchain Announcements.

Summary: This research, while concerned primarily with the price dynamics of companies who have partaken in blockchain and cryptocurrency development, is also concerned with the potential channels through which high-volatility cryptocurrency market dynamics can potentially influence both unwilling and unsuspecting investors and the real economy alike, presenting five key results.

AuthorsErdinc Akyildirim*†, Shaen Corbetc§, Douglas J. Cumming✜, Brian Lucey+^#, Ahmet Sensoy$

Affiliations: * University of Zurich, † ETH, Zurich, ‡ Dublin City University, § University of Waikato, ✜ Florida Atlantic University, + Trinity College Dublin, ^ University of Sydney, # University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City, and $ Bilkent University.


Conferences’ Videos:


Jobs:


RFPs:


This newsletter is for informational purposes only. This content does not in any way constitute an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any investment solution or recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on zk Capital should be relied on in any manner as advice. None of the authors, contributors, or anyone else connected with zk Capital, in any way whatsoever, can be responsible for your use of the information contained in this newsletter.

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