This Month in Blockchain Research Issue #2
|zk Capital||Apr 3, 2019|
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:
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.
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.
Affiliations: * Algorand.
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.
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.
Summary: This paper explores the partitioning attacks on the Bitcoin network, which is shown to exhibit spatial bias, and temporal and logical diversity.
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.
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).
Affiliations: * Imperial College London.
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.
Affiliations: * ETH Zurich.
Summary: An RSA threshold signature system is developed to solve the audibility problem by recording signatures over a distributed ledger.
Affiliations: * Thales UK Limited.
Paper Title: Flyclient: Super-Light Clients for Cryptocurrencies.
Summary: A new blockchain verification protocol for light clients in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
This Month in Privacy:
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..
Summary: This work provides theoretical foundation on transaction untraceability for CryptoNote-style blockchains.
Affiliations: * University College London.
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).
Affiliations: * Concordia University.
Summary: This work uses a linkable group signature (LGS) for signing cryptocurrency transactions to provide full-anonymity, full-traceability and linkability.
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.
Affiliations: * University of Pittsburgh.
Summary: A system that addresses the issue of identity and access control within shared permissioned blockchains.
Affiliations: * Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
This Month in Scalability:
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.
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.
Affiliations: * Monoxide.
Paper Title: FastKitten: Practical Smart Contracts on Bitcoin.
Summary: A practical framework for executing arbitrarily complex smart contracts at low costs over decentralized cryptocurrencies.
Affiliations: * Technische Universität Darmstadt.
This Month in Proofs:
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.
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.
Authors: Ariel Gabizon*,
Affiliations: * Zcash Company.
Summary: A toolbox for commit-and-prove zkSNARKs (CP-SNARKs).
Affiliations: * IMDEA Software Institute.
Summary: This work aims to minimize the type of knowledge assumptions made by proving systems while maintaining its efficiency.
Authors: Ariel Gabizon*,
Affiliations: * Zcash Company.
Summary: This work introduces and studies the notion of fully linear probabilistically checkable proof systems.
Summary: This paper studies non-interactive cryptographic timestamping based on verifiable delay functions in the universal-composability framework and using the random-oracle model.
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.
This Month in Consensus Protocols:
Paper Title: Incentives in Ethereum's Hybrid Casper Protocol.
Summary: A Proof-of-Stake checkpointing protocol overlaid onto Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work blockchain.
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).
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.
Summary: Two novel verifiable delay functions that may help reduce the energy consumption of blockchains based on proofs-of-work.
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).
Affiliations: * The University of Texas at Austin.
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.
Affiliations: * Singapore University of Technology and Design.
This Month in Tokenomics:
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.
Authors: Francis Jervis*,
Affiliations: * New York University.
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.
Affiliations: * RMIT.
Summary: This paper explores the rise of Blockchain Havens—jurisdiction that attracts blockchain entrepreneurs by offering refuge from tax and regulation.
Authors: Omri Marian*,
Affiliations: * University of California, Irvine.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for reading! If we missed anything, shoot us an email so that we can feature it in our next newsletter!
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.