This Month in Blockchain Research Issue #2

Issue #2

Welcome to zk Capital’s Newsletter!

“Significant advancements and innovations in the blockchain space are constantly being achieved by academic researchers. We are committed to helping share and spread this research. In our newsletter, we aim to provide a list of publications that will help guide the community with the latest research in the blockchain space.

Unfortunately, a lot of this research is overlooked due to the massive numbers of papers being generated and the way they are being promoted and published. To tackle this issue, we’ve put together a categorized list of academic papers that can guide our subscribers and keep them up to date.”


Issue # (February+March 2019)

This Month in Security:

  1. Paper Title: Founding Secure Computation on Blockchains.

Summary: This work studies the foundations of secure computation in the blockchain-hybrid model, where a blockchain – modeled as a global functionality – is available as an Oracle to all the participants of a cryptographic protocol.

Authors: Arka Rai Choudhuri*, Vipul Goyal† and Abhishek Jain*,

Affiliations: * Johns Hopkins University and † Carnergie Mellon University.

  1. Paper Title: Digital Signatures for Consensus.

Summary: A pairing-based signature scheme for use in PoS-based blockchains that achieves substantial savings in bandwidth and storage requirements.

Authors: Sergey Gorbunov* and Hoeteck Wee*,

Affiliations: * Algorand.

  1. Paper Title: Secure Computation of the kth-ranked Integer on Blockchains.

Summary: A special-purpose protocol for secure computation of the kth-ranked integer sequence of integers distributed among n parties to low interactivity between parties to support blockchains or other scenarios where multiple rounds are time-consuming.

Authors: Erik-Oliver Blass* and Florian Kerschbaum†,

Affiliations: * Airbus and † University of Waterloo.

  1. Paper Title: Two-tier blockchain timestamped notarization with incremental security.

Summary: The two-tiered system is designed to reduce the cost and increase efficiency of commitments to a slow and costly public blockchain, while at the same time still enabling clients to use their past evidence even if the intermediate blockchain solution were to cease being operational.

Authors: Alessio Meneghetti*, Armanda Ottaviano Quintavalle†, Massimiliano Sala*, and Alessandro Tomasi‡,

Affiliations: * University of Trento, † University of Sheffield and ‡ Fondazione Bruno Kessler.

  1. Paper Title: Exploring Spatial, Temporal, and Logical Attacks on the Bitcoin Network.

Summary: This paper explores the partitioning attacks on the Bitcoin network, which is shown to exhibit spatial bias, and temporal and logical diversity.

Authors: Muhammad Saad*, Victor Cook* , Lan Nguyen†, My T. Thai†, Aziz Mohaisen*,

Affiliations: * University of Central Florida and † University of Florida.

  1. Paper Title: Precise Attack Synthesis for Smart Contracts.

Summary: A tool that uses program synthesis to automatically generate adversarial smart contracts which exploit common vulnerabili- ties in victim contracts.

Authors:  Yu Feng*, Emina Torlak†, Rastislav Bodik†,

Affiliations: * UC Santa Barbara and † University of Washington.

  1. Paper Title: Smart Contract Vulnerabilities: Does Anyone Care?

Summary: 504 out of 21,270 smart contracts have been subjected to exploits corresponding to at most 9,094 ETH (1 million USD).

Authors: Daniel Perez* and Benjamin Livshits*,

Affiliations: * Imperial College London.

  1. Paper Title: TEEvil: Identity Lease via Trusted Execution Environments

Summary: An identity lease system leveraging Intel SGX and ZCash to lease identities to third parties by providing them with full or restricted access to their online accounts or credentials.

Authors: Ivan Puddu*, Daniele Lain*, Moritz Schneider*, Elizaveta Tretiakova*, Sinisa Matetic* and Srdjan Capkun*,

Affiliations: * ETH Zurich.

  1. Paper Title: BADGER - Blockchain Auditable Distributed (RSA) key GEneRation.

Summary: An RSA threshold signature system is developed to solve the audibility problem by recording signatures over a distributed ledger.

Authors: Naomi Farley*, Robert Fitzpatrick* and Duncan Jones*,

Affiliations* Thales UK Limited.

  1. Paper Title: Flyclient: Super-Light Clients for Cryptocurrencies.

Summary: A new blockchain verification protocol for light clients in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Authors: Benedikt Bünz*, Lucianna Kiffer†, Loi Luu‡ and Mahdi Zamani§,

Affiliations* Stanford University, † Northeastern UniversityKyber Network ‡, VISA Research §.


This Month in Privacy:

  1. Paper Title: Zether: Towards Privacy in a Smart Contract World.

Summary: A fully-decentralized, confidential payment mechanism that is compatible with Ethereum and other smart contract platforms..

Authors: Benedikt Bünz*, Shashank Agrawal†, Mahdi Zamani† and Dan Boneh*,

Affiliations: * Stanford University and † VISA Research.

  1. Paper Title: Re-thinking untraceability in the CryptoNote-style blockchain.

Summary: This work provides theoretical foundation on transaction untraceability for CryptoNote-style blockchains.

Authors:  Jiangshan Yu*, Man Ho Allen Au† and Paulo Esteves-Verissimo‡,

Affiliations: * Monash University, † Hong Kong Polytechnic University, ‡ University of Luxembourg.

  1. Paper Title: Distributed Ledger Privacy: Ring Signatures, Möbius and CryptoNote.

Summary: Enhancing privacy of token transfers with the help of improved cryptography: Mobius and CryptoNote.

Authors:  Christopher D. Clack* and Nicolas T. Courtois*,

Affiliations: * University College London.

  1. Paper Title: Trustee: Full Privacy Preserving Vickrey Auction on top of Ethereum.

Summary: A trusted and efficient Vickrey auction on top of Ethereum that substantially overcomes the limitations of ZKP and MPC approaches that utilizes Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX).

Authors: Hisham S. Galal* and Amr M. Youssef*,

Affiliations: * Concordia University.

  1. Paper Title: An Efficient Linkable Group Signature for Payer Tracing in Anonymous Cryptocurrencies.

Summary: This work uses a linkable group signature (LGS) for signing cryptocurrency transactions to provide full-anonymity, full-traceability and linkability.

Authors: Lingyue Zhang*, Huilin Li*, Yannan Li†, Yanqi Zhao*, Yong Yu*,

Affiliations: * Shaanxi Normal University and † University of Wollongong.

  1. Paper Title: Scalable and Privacy-preserving Design of On/Off-chain Smart Contracts.

Summary: Functions of the contract that involve high-cost computation or sensitive information can be split and included as the off-chain contract, that is signed and executed by only the interested participants to enhance scalability and privacy.

Authors:  Chao Li*, Balaji Palanisamy* and Runhua Xu*,

Affiliations: * University of Pittsburgh.

  1. Paper Title: Verifiable Anonymous Identities and Access Control in Permissioned Blockchains.

Summary: A system that addresses the issue of identity and access control within shared permissioned blockchains.

Authors:  Thomas Hardjono* and Alex (Sandy) Pentland*,

Affiliations: * Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


This Month in Scalability:

  1. Paper Title: TEX - A Securely Scalable Trustless Exchange.

Summary: The first of its kind trustless exchange that utilizes a centralized non-custodial settlement layer which can prevent an exchange operator and blockchain miners from front-running trades.

AuthorsRami Khalil*†, Arthur Gervais*† and Guillaume Felley†,

Affiliations: * Imperial College London and † Liquidity Network.

  1. Paper Title: Monoxide: Scale Out Blockchain with Asynchronous Consensus Zones.

Summary: This work introduces Asynchronous Consensus Zones that scale blockchain systems linearly without compromising decentralization or security. This is achieve this by running multiple independent and parallel instances of single-chain consensus systems.

Authors: Jiaping Wang* and Hao Wang*,

Affiliations* Monoxide.

  1. Paper Title: FastKitten: Practical Smart Contracts on Bitcoin.

Summary: A practical framework for executing arbitrarily complex smart contracts at low costs over decentralized cryptocurrencies.

Authors: Poulami Das*, Lisa Eckey*, Tommaso Frassetto*, David Gens*, Kristina Hostáková*,  Patrick Jauernig*, Sebastian Faust*, Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi*,

Affiliations* Technische Universität Darmstadt.


This Month in Proofs:

  1. Paper Title: Sonic: Zero-Knowledge SNARKs from Linear-Size Universal and Updateable Structured Reference Strings.

Summary: A new zk-SNARK for general arithmetic circuit satisfiability that requires a trusted setup. However, unlike conventional SNARKs the structured reference string supports all circuits (up to a given size bound) and is also updatable, so that it can be continually strengthened.

AuthorsMary Maller*, Sean Bowe†, Markulf Kohlweiss‡§ and Sarah Meiklejohn*,

Affiliations* University College London, † Zcash Company, ‡ University of Edinburgh, § IOHK.

  1. Paper Title: On the security of the BCTV Pinocchio zk-SNARK variant.

Summary: This work presents a severe flaw in the description of the zk-SNARK.

AuthorsAriel Gabizon*,

Affiliations* Zcash Company.

  1. Paper Title: LegoSNARK: Modular Design and Composition of Succinct Zero-Knowledge Proofs.

Summary: A toolbox for commit-and-prove zkSNARKs (CP-SNARKs).

AuthorsMatteo Campanelli*, Dario Fiore* and Anaïs Querol*,

Affiliations* IMDEA Software Institute.

  1. Paper Title: On the efficiency of pairing-based proofs under the d-PKE.

Summary: This work aims to minimize the type of knowledge assumptions made by proving systems while maintaining its efficiency.

AuthorsAriel Gabizon*,

Affiliations* Zcash Company.

  1. Paper Title: How to Prove a Secret: Zero-Knowledge Proofs on Distributed Data via Fully Linear PCPs.

Summary: This work introduces and studies the notion of fully linear probabilistically checkable proof systems.

AuthorsDan Boneh*, Elette Boyle†, Henry Corrigan-Gibbs*, Niv Gilboa and Yuval Ishai§,

AffiliationsStanford University, † IDC Herzliya, ‡ Ben-Gurion University, § Technion.

  1. Paper Title: Non-interactive Cryptographic Timestamping based on Verifiable Delay Functions.

Summary: This paper studies non-interactive cryptographic timestamping based on verifiable delay functions in the universal-composability framework and using the random-oracle model.

AuthorsEsteban Landerreche*, Marc Stevens* and Christian Schaffner†,

Affiliations: * CWI Amsterdam, † University of Amsterdam & QuSoft.

  1. Paper Title: Reversible Proofs of Sequential Work.

Summary: A new PoSW which is as simple, efficient and can be instantiated with permutations – instead of hash functions – and is reversible.

AuthorsHamza Abusalah*, Chethan Kamath†, Karen Klein†, Krzysztof Pietrzak† and Michael Walter†,

Affiliations: * SBA Research, † IST Austria.


This Month in Consensus Protocols:

  1. Paper Title: Incentives in Ethereum's Hybrid Casper Protocol.

Summary: A Proof-of-Stake checkpointing protocol overlaid onto Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work blockchain.

Authors: Vitalik Buterin*, Daniel Reijsbergen†, Stefanos Leonardos†, Georgios Piliouras†,

Affiliations* Ethereum Foundation and † Singapore University of Technology and Design.

  1. Paper Title: Consensus through Herding.

Summary: This paper presents the first communication-efficient State Machine Replication (SMR) protocol with adaptive security (without assuming erasures or proof-of-work).

Authors: T-H. Hubert Chan*, Rafael Pass†, Elaine Shi‡,

Affiliations* University of Hong Kong, † Cornell University, ‡ ThunderCore.

  1. Paper Title: Multi-Stage Proof-of-Work Blockchain.

Summary: A new variant of decentralised, trustless, permissionless proof-of-work that is analogous to multi-stage pipelining used in hardware architectures.

Authors: Palash Sarkar*,

Affiliations* Indian Statistical Institute.

  1. Paper Title: Verifiable Delay Functions from Supersingular Isogenies and Pairings.

Summary: Two novel verifiable delay functions that may help reduce the energy consumption of blockchains based on proofs-of-work.

Authors: Luca De Feo*, Simon Masson†, Christophe Petit‡, and Antonio Sanso§,

AffiliationsUniversite Paris Saclay, † Thales and Universite de Lorraine, ‡ University of Birmingham, § Ruhr Universitat Bochum.

  1. Paper Title: HashCore: Proof-of-Work Functions for General Purpose Processors.

Summary: A novel PoW function that is most efficiently computed by a general purpose processor (GPP), with particular emphasis on an x86 processor as an example, such that no ASIC can be built for it that materially outperforms such a GPP (e.g. x86 system).

Authors: Yanni Georghiades*, Steven Flolid*, and Sriram Vishwanath*,

Affiliations* The University of Texas at Austin.

  1. Paper Title: Weighted Voting on the Blockchain: Improving Consensus in Proof of Stake Protocols.

Summary: This paper introduces validators’ voting profiles – that quantifies the probability that a validator will cast a correct vote based on her so far contribution to the protocol.

Authors: Daniel Reijsbergen*, Stefanos Leonardos* and Georgios Piliouras*,

Affiliations* Singapore University of Technology and Design.


This Month in Tokenomics:

  1. Paper Title: From Economization to Tokenization: New Forms of Economic Life On-Chain.

Summary: This paper plots the trajectory of the idea of tokenized economic systems from its direct conceptual origins in the work of Nick Szabo and Vitalik Buterin, through the emergence of the Initial Coin Offering as a market phenomenon, to the birth of token engineering as a nascent discipline at the intersection of computer science and robotics, economics and social studies of markets.

AuthorsFrancis Jervis*,

Affiliations: * New York University.

  1. Paper Title: Byzantine political economy.

Summary: This paper examines the close relationship between what the study of distributed systems describes as Byzantine consensus and what the study of institutional economics describes as robust political economy.

Authors Chris Berg*, Sinclair Davidson*, and Jason Potts*,

Affiliations: * RMIT.

  1. Paper Title: Blockchain Havens and the Need for Their Internationally-Coordinated Regulation.

Summary: This paper explores the rise of Blockchain Havens—jurisdiction that attracts blockchain entrepreneurs by offering refuge from tax and regulation.

AuthorsOmri Marian*,

Affiliations: * University of California, Irvine.

  1. Paper Title: Proof-of-Work’s Limited Adoption Problem.

Summary: This analysis demonstrates that PoW payments blockchains cannot simultaneously sustain large volumes and a non-negligible payments market share.

AuthorsFranz J. Hinzen*, Kose John*, and Fahad Saleh†,

Affiliations: * New York University and † McGill University.

  1. Paper Title: Blockchain Development and Fiduciary Duty.

Summary: This article argues that public blockchain protocol developers do not function as corporate fiduciaries, and further that labeling protocol developers as fiduciaries would be impractical and have other negative effects including potentially destroying the open source production model.

AuthorsRaina Haque*, Rodrigo Seira†, Brent Plummer*, and Nelson Rosario‡,

Affiliations: * Wake Forest University School of Law, † DLx Law, ‡ Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology.

  1. Paper Title: Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs): Economics and Regulation.

Summary: This article examines the key economics of ICO-financed projects, their up- and downsides for investors and draw a comparison to regulatory activities both in the US and Switzerland.

AuthorsLars Klöhn*, Nicolas Parhofer*†, and Daniel Resas‡,

Affiliations: * Humboldt University of Berlin - Faculty of Law, † Harvard Law School, ‡ Schnittker Möllmann Partners.


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