This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #66

Issue #66

Issue #66

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: Updatable Blockchains.


  1. For blockchain systems, a typical source of software updates is the enhancements at the consensus protocol level. There might be changes to the values of specific parameters (e.g., the maximum block size, or the maximum transaction size etc.), changes to the validation rules at any level (transaction, block, or blockchain), or even changes at the consensus protocol itself.

  2. Usually, the reason for such changes is the reinforcement of the protocol against a broader scope of adversary attacks, or the optimization of some aspect of the system like the transaction throughput, or the storage cost etc.

  3. A software update’s lifecycle comprises of three important decision points: a) What update proposal should be implemented, b) is a specific implementation appropriate to be deployed and c) when and how the changes should be activated on the blockchain.

  4. This paper does not focus on how to achieve decentralized governance for software updates. Indeed, it assumes that appropriate decentralized governance processes (e.g., voting, delegation of voting, upgrade-readiness signaling etc.) are in place and the community has already reached a consensus on what specific update should be activated and this information is written on the blockchain.

  5. Moreover, it assumes that a sufficient percent of honest parties have expressed (e.g. through a signaling mechanism) their readiness to upgrade to the new ledger.

  6. It deals with the secure activation of software update changes on the blockchain in a fully decentralized setting and essentially provide a way to safely transition from the old ledger to the upgraded ledger without the need of a trusted third party.

  7. Moreover, it defines what is a secure activation of changes by introducing the notion of updatable blockchains. The approach is the first that treats the problem of decentralized activation of updates for blockchains in such a formal way providing a security definition for updatable blockchain and generic constructions. 

AuthorsMichele Ciampi†, Nikos Karayannidis*, Aggelos Kiayias*†, and Dionysis Zindros‡,

Affiliations: * IOHK, † The University of Edinburgh, and ‡ National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.


1. Paper Title: Multi-Currency Ledgers.

Summary: This paper extends an abstract formal model of UTxO-based and account-based transactions to allow the creation and use of multiple cryptocurrencies on a single ledger.

Authors: Joachim Zahnentferner*,

Affiliations* IOHK.

2. Paper Title: A Blockchain-based Iterative Double Auction Protocol using Multiparty State Channels.

Summary: A novel decentralized and trustless framework for iterative double auction based on blockchain.

Authors: Truc D. T. Nguyen* and My T. Thai*,

Affiliations* University of Florida.

3. Paper Title: Denial-of-Service Vulnerability of Hash-based Transaction Sharding: Attacks and Countermeasures.

Summary: A single-shard flooding attack to exploit the DoS vulnerability of blockchain sharding.

Authors: Truc D. T. Nguyen*, and My T. Thai*,

Affiliations* University of Florida.

4. Paper Title: Model Checking Bitcoin and other Proof-of-Work Consensus Protocols.

Summary: A formal model based on the Bitcoin Backbone Protocol abstraction and use a statistical model checking tool (UPPAAL-SMC) to study its security.

Authors: Max DiGiacomo-Castillo*, Yiyun Liang*, Advay Pal*, John C. Mitchell*,

Affiliations* Stanford University.

5. Paper Title: STAN: Towards Describing Bytecodes of Smart Contract.

Summary: The first system to generate descriptions for the bytecodes of smart contracts to help users comprehend them.

Authors: Xiaoqi Li*, Ting Chen†, Xiapu Luo*, Tao Zhang‡, Le Yu*, Zhou Xu*§,

Affiliations* The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, † University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, ‡ Macau University of Science and Technology, and § Chongqing University.


No papers.


1. Paper Title: OptChain: Optimal Transactions Placement for Scalable Blockchain Sharding.

Summary: A new sharding paradigm in which cross-shard transactions are minimized, resulting in almost twice faster confirmation time and throughput.

Authors: Lan N. Nguyen*, Truc D. T. Nguyen*, Thang N. Dinh†, My T. Thai*,

Affiliations* University of Florida and † Virginia Commonwealth University.


No papers.


1. Paper Title: Blockchain Is Dead, Long Live Blockchain! Accountable State Machine Replication for Longlasting Blockchain.

Summary: A blockchain that builds upon a new deceitful failure model specific to distributed payment systems where most replicas are incentivized to act correctly or foment a coalition.

Authors: Alejandro Ranchal-Pedrosa* and Vincent Gramoli*†,

Affiliations* University of Sydney and † EPFL.

2. Paper Title: Green-PoW: An Energy-Efficient Blockchain Proof-of-Work Consensus Algorithm.

Summary: This paper opts to mitigate the energy-inefficiency of the Blockchain Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm by rationally repurposing the power spent during the mining process.

AuthorsNoureddine Lasla*, Lina Salim Alsahan*, Mohamed Abdallah*, and Mohamed Younis†,

Affiliations: Hamad Bin Khalifa University and † University of Maryland.


1. Paper Title: Dynamic Trade Finance in the Presence of Information Frictions and FinTech.

Summary: This work studies the value of a type of innovative bank-intermediated trade finance contract, called dynamic trade finance (DTF, under which banks dynamically adjust loan interest rates as an order passes through different steps in the trade process) in the presence of information frictions related to process uncertainties, and its strategic interaction with FinTech.

AuthorsHau L. Lee*, Christopher S. Tang†, S. Alex Yang‡, and Yuxuan Zhang§,

Affiliations: * Stanford University, † UCLA, ‡ London Business School, and § Tsinghua University.

2. Paper Title: The Puzzle of Squaring Blockchainwith the General Data Protection Regulation.

Summary: This Article is the first to provide an overview of blockchain technology that distinguishes between the variety of centralized and decentralized data governance models.

AuthorsRaffi Teperdjian*,

Affiliations: * George Washington University.

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