This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #25

Issue #25

Issue #25

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: Privacy-Utility Tradeoffs in Routing Cryptocurrency over Payment Channel Networks.


  1. The questions about whether cryptocurrencies are fundamentally able to support as high traffic as traditional centralized solutions, still exist.

  2. Several cryptocurrencies have turned to a class of scalability solutions called payment channel networks (PCNs). Examples include Bitcoin’s Lightning network and Ethereum’s Raiden network.

  3. A principal challenge is a privacy-preserving routing problem: each time users wish to route a transaction, they must find a path through the PCN with enough pre-allocated funds to route the transaction.

  4. The goal of this paper is to study privacy utility tradeoffs that arise in such a PCN transaction routing.

  5. The routing problem is theoretically modeled in PCNs and distribution-free metrics for privacy and utility are defined.

  6. A network can reveal noisy channel balances to trade off privacy for utility, fundamental limits on such a tradeoff, and proposes noise mechanisms that achieves the fundamental limit for a general class of graph topologies.

  7. Simulations show that even if one were to consider an average-case utility metric (fraction of successful transactions, or success rate) rather than a worst-case one, the privacy-success rate tradeoff is still not favorable for shortest- path routing.

AuthorsWeizhao Tang*, Weina Wang*, Giulia Fanti*, and Sewoong Oh†,

Affiliations:* Carnegie Mellon University and † University of Washington.


1. Paper Title: A Tale of Two Trees: One Writes, and Other Reads.

Summary: A system design that supports a large-scale oblivious search on unspent transaction outputs for Bitcoin SPV clients while efficiently maintains the state of the Bitcoin UTXO set via an oblivious update protocol, leveraging the TEE capabilities of Intel SGX.

Authors: Duc V. Le*, Lizzy Tengana Hurtado†, Adil Ahmad*, Mohsen Minaei*, Byoungyoung Lee‡, and Aniket Kate*,

Affiliations: * Purdue University, † National University of Colombia, and ‡ Seoul National University.


1. Paper Title: DECO: Liberating Web Data Using Decentralized Oracles for TLS.

Summary: A decentralized oracle scheme for modern TLS versions that requires no trusted hardware or server-side modifications where a prover can generate unforgeable commitments to TLS sessions and efficiently prove statements about session content.

AuthorsFan Zhang*, Sai Krishna Deepak Maram*, Harjasleen Malvai†, Steven Goldfeder*, and Ari Juels*,

Affiliations: Cornell Tech and † Cornell University.

2. Paper Title: Onionchain: Towards Balancing Privacy and Traceability of Blockchain-Based Applications.

Summary: An integration mechanism of Onion routing into the proposed protocol, enabling parties to perform transactions in an anonymous way.

Authors: Yue Zhang*, Jian Weng*, Jiasi Weng*, Ming Li*, and Weiqi Luo*,

Affiliations: Jinan University.


No Papers.


1. Paper Title: Halo: Recursive Proof Composition without a Trusted Setup.

Summary: The first realization of recursive proof composition without a trusted setup.

AuthorsSean Bowe*, Jack Grigg*, and Daira Hopwood*,

Affiliations: * Electric Coin Company.

2. Paper Title: Mapping finite state machines to zk-SNARKS Using Category Theory.

Summary: Formal models of computation and cryptography, providing a categorical way to turn finite state machines into zk-SNARKs that verify how a sequence of inputs leading to a state change follows the rules specified by the finite state machine itself.

AuthorsF. Genovese*, A. Knispel*, and J. Fitzgerald*,

Affiliations: * Statebox Team.

Consensus Protocols:

1. Paper Title: Bootstrapping Consensus Without Trusted Setup: Fully Asynchronous Distributed Key Generation.

Summary: The first fully asynchronous distributed key generation (ADKG) algorithm as well as the first distributed key generation algorithm that can create keys with a dual (f, 2f + 1)−threshold that are necessary for scalable consensus

Authors: Eleftherios Kokoris-Kogias*, Alexander Spiegelman†, Dahlia Malkhi‡, and Ittai Abraham†,

Affiliations* EPFL, † VMware Research, and ‡ Calibra.

2. Paper Title: Puncturable Signatures and Applications in Proof-of-Stake Blockchain Protocol.

Summary: A puncturable signature that allows for fine-grained revocation of signing capability with minimum computation cost, and make it a suitable building block to construct secure and practical proof-of-stake blockchain protocol.

AuthorsXin-Yu Li*, Jing Xu*, Xiong Fan†, Yu-Chen Wang*, and Zhen-Feng Zhang*,

Affiliations: * Chinese Academy of Sciences and † University of Maryland.


1. Paper Title: A Brief Introduction to Blockchain Economics.

Summary: This work clarifies from an economic perspective what blockchains are (or envisioned to be) and why they are (or would be) useful, and then introduces a generalized concept of desirable features together with a conjecture of their irreducible tension. Next, it highlight key economic issues surrounding blockchains before pointing out future research directions and challenges to tackle in practice.

AuthorsLong Chen*, Lin William Cong†, and Yizhou Xiao‡,

Affiliations: * Luohan Academy, Cornell University, and ‡ The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

2. Paper Title: Decentralising the Patent System.

Summary: A substantive re-think of the modern patent system.

AuthorsGaétan de Rassenfosse* and Kyle Higham*,

Affiliations: * EPFL.



“Significant research in the blockchain space is constantly being achieved by academic researchers. 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. We’ve put together a categorized list of academic papers that can guide our subscribers and keep them up to date.”

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