This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #68

Issue #68

Issue #68

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: Analysing and Improving Shard Allocation Protocols for Sharded Blockchains.


  1. Sharding is a common approach to scale distributed systems and is regarded as a promising technique for scaling permissionless blockchains, where any- one can join and leave the system at any time.

  2. However, adapting sharding protocols in permissionless settings faces two challenges. First, the focus of traditional sharding protocols has been on systems concerning crash faults where nodes may stop responding, whereas permissionless blockchains concern Byzantine faults where nodes may behave arbitrarily. Second, as nodes in permissionless blockchains may join or leave at any time, sharding protocols need to dynamically re-balance the number of nodes in different shards.

  3. Securely and dynamically allocating nodes into different shards is the core component of sharded blockchains to address the above challenges.

  4. This paper provides the first study on shard allocation— an overlooked core component for shared permissionless blockchains.

  5. It formalizes the shard allocation protocol along with its properties and performance metrics, and evaluates the shard allocation protocols in the existing leading proposals.

  6. It also proposes a correct and efficient shard allocation protocol for permissionless blockchains.

AuthorsRunchao Han*†, Jiangshan Yu*, Ren Zhang‡,

Affiliations: * Monash University, † CSIRO-Data61, and ‡ Nervos Foundation.


1. Paper Title: STARK Friendly Hash – Survey and Recommendation.

Summary: A STARK friendly hash (SFH) function, to be used in combination with transparent and plausibly post-quantum secure proof systems within blockchains.

Authors: Eli Ben-Sasson*, Lior Goldberg*, and David Levit*,

Affiliations* StarkWare Industries.

2. Paper Title: CanDID: Can-Do Decentralized Identity with Legacy Compatibility, Sybil-Resistance, and Accountability.

Summary: A platform for practical, user-friendly realization of decentralized identity, the idea of empowering end users with management of their own credentials.

Authors: Deepak Maram*✜, Harjasleen Malvai†✜, Fan Zhang*✜, Nerla Jean-Louis‡✜, Alexander Frolov†✜, Tyler Kell*✜, Tyrone Lobban§, Christine Moy§, Ari Juels*✜, Andrew Miller‡✜,

Affiliations* Cornell Tech, † Cornell University, ‡ UIUC, § J. P. Morgan, and ✜ IC3.

3. Paper Title: Implications of Dissemination Strategies on the Security of Distributed Ledgers.

Summary: This paper focuses on attacks at the underlying peer-to-peer layer of DLTs, that is in charge of disseminating messages containing data and transaction to be spread among all participants.

Authors: Luca Serena*, Gabriele D'Angelo†, Stefano Ferretti‡,

Affiliations* CIRI ICT, † University of Bologna, and ‡ University of Urbino.


No papers.


1. Paper Title: Efficient Cross-Shard Transaction Execution in Sharded Blockchains.

Summary: A new paradigm for blockchain sharding that achieves lower latency and higher throughput for cross-shard transactions.

Authors: Sourav Das*, Vinith Krishnan*, and Ling Ren*,

Affiliations* University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


1. Paper Title: Performance Trade-offs in Design of MimbleWimble Proofs of Reserves.

Summary: A proof of reserves protocol for MimbleWimble with proof sizes scaling logarithmically in the size of the anonymity set and linearly in the size of the exchange-owned output set. 

Authors: Suyash Bagad* and Saravanan Vijayakumaran*,

Affiliations* Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.

2. Paper Title: Demystifying the Role of zk-SNARKs in Zcash.

Summary: This paper elaborates and constructs a concrete zk-SNARK proof from scratch and explain its role in the Zcash algorithm.

Authors: Aritra Banerjee*, Michael Clear*, and Hitesh Tewari*,

Affiliations* Trinity College Dublin.


1. Paper Title: Proof of Learning (PoLe): Empowering Machine Learning with Consensus Building on Blockchains.

Summary: A new consensus mechanism which directs the computation spent for consensus toward optimization of neural networks (NN).

Authors: Yixiao Lan*, Yuan Liu*, and Boyang Li†,

Affiliations* Northeastern University, China and † Alibaba-NTU Singapore Joint Research Institute.


1. Paper Title: On the (Un)Feasibility of Fedcoin: Implementing a Central Bank Backed Digital Currency in the United States.

Summary: This paper looks at law, economics, and technology to discuss Fedcoin design considerations.

AuthorsVictoria Dodev*,

Affiliations: * Duke University, School of Law.

2. Paper Title: The Light Touch of Caveat Emptor in Crypto’s Wild West.

Summary: This short paper recommends a light-touch approach to crypto enforcement that would help U.S. tech innovators keep pace with global competition.

Authors: Mihailis Diamantis*,

Affiliations* University of Iowa - College of Law.

3. Paper Title: The Microeconomics of Cryptocurrencies.

Summary: As with any new good or service, the microeconomics research task is to understand its supply (i.e., what technological properties allow it to operate), its demand (i.e., to what uses are agents putting it), its value (i.e., what determines its trading price in the market) and the nature of competition (i.e., how strong is substitution between different varieties of the new good or service and others with similar functionality).

Authors: Hanna Halaburda*, Guillaume Haeringer†, Joshua Gans‡, and Neil Gandal§,

Affiliations* NYU-Stern, † Baruch College, ‡ University of Toronto, and § Tel Aviv University.

Conferences, Journals, & CFPs:

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