This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #13

Issue #13

Issue #13

Paper of the Week

Paper Title: Urns Filled with Bitcoins: New Perspectives on Proof-of-Work Mining.


  1. The motivation behind this work is based on the entry–exit problem which is governed by the fixed cost of the mining hardware, the variable electricity cost of using the hardware, the expected return in units of each cryptocurrency that can be mined, and the exchange rate of these cryptocurrencies to a fiat currency such as the US dollar.

  2. The work conducts descriptive statistics to better understand this problem and comes to a realization that seemed to contradict the assumptions about the Poisson distribution for the arrival rate of blocks in proof-of-work protocols in general and in bitcoin in particular.

  3. There might occur a sort of learning when mining a particular block and that relatively bigger miners learn faster than relatively smaller miners.

  4. Utilizing a model used in Bolton and Chapman, this work indicates that the size of a miner (her hash power) does not increase her her odds of winning in a way that is proportional to time, however, the probability of a miner winning a block varies with the number of previously tried and failed attempts for this block, i.e. there exists a sort of “learning” within blocks.

  5. This means, smaller miners might have an incentive to stop mining a block after trying for a specific time, since after this time their expected reward has decreased so much that it does not compensate their costs.

  6. It also implies that the way in which platforms are estimating the hash power of mining pools needs to be corrected in order to reflect the impact of time on the success of mining.

  7. As a conclusion, there is enough theoretical and empirical material to sustain that miners’ probability of winning does not remain constant over time and that a possible explanation for this phenomenon is that the probability of a miner finding a valid block during a specific attempt follows the negative hypergeometric distribution.

AuthorsJosé Parra Moyano*, Gregor Reich*, and Karl Schmedders*,

Affiliations: * University of Zurich.

This Week in Security:

1. Paper Title: A Formal Treatment of Deterministic Wallet.

Summary: This work presents the first comprehensive security model for hot/cold wallets and develops wallet schemes that are provable secure within these models.

AuthorsPoulami Das*, Sebastian Faust*, and Julian Loss†,

Affiliations: * Technische Universität Darmstadt and † Ruhr University Bochum.

2. Paper Title: Competing (Semi)-Selfish Miners in Bitcoin.

Summary: A special case of selfish mining where miners keep a private chain of length at most 2.

AuthorsFrancisco J. Marmolejo-Cossío*, Eric Brigham†, Benjamin Sela‡, and Jonathan Katz‡,

Affiliations: * University of Oxford, † New College of Florida, and ‡ University of Maryland.

3. Paper Title: A Security Case Study for Blockchain Games.

Summary: This work discusses possible attack methods based on blockchain game architecture, illustrates overviews of the blockchain game security in terms of web application and the smart contracts, and describes how to avoid vulnerabilities in development.

AuthorsTian Min* and Wei Cai*,

Affiliations: * The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

4. Paper Title: Arcula: A Secure Hierarchical Deterministic Wallet for Multi-asset Blockchains.

Summary: A wallet that builds on a deterministic variation of hierarchical key assignment schemes that generates all the cryptographic secrets in a deterministic way, implements arbitrarily complex access hierarchies, and allows for their dynamic modifications.

AuthorsAdriano Di Luzio*, Danilo Francati*, and Giuseppe Ateniese*,

Affiliations: * Stevens Institute of Technology.

This Week in Privacy:

1. Paper Title: Integrating Privacy Enhancing Techniques into Blockchains Using Sidechains.

Summary: A new privacy enhancing technique for improving the privacy of cryptocurrency transactions by integrating a proposed Privacy Enhancing Techniques (PET) functionality into a sidechain.

AuthorsReza M. Parizi*, Sajad Homayoun†, Abbas Yazdinejad‡, Ali Dehghantanha§, Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo×,

Affiliations: * Kennesaw State University, † Shiraz University of Technology, ‡ University of Isfahan, § University of Guelph, and × The University of Texas at San Antonio.

2. Paper Title: Probing the Mystery of Cryptocurrency Theft: An Investigation into Methods for Cryptocurrency Tainting Analysis.

Summary: This work focuses on the analysis and tracking of Bitcoin transactions that involve the theft of Bitcoins using transaction tainting analysis.

Authors: Tin Tironsakkul*, Manuel Maarek*, Andrea Eross*, and Mike Just*,

Affiliations: * Heriot-Watt University.

This Week in Scalability:

1. Paper Title: A Federated Authorization Framework for Distributed Personal Data & Digital Identity.

Summary: A specific solution called User Managed Access (UMA) which provides the foundation for scalable access authorization.

AuthorsThomas Hardjono*,

Affiliations: * MIT Connection Science & Engineering.

This Week in Proofs:

No Papers.

This Week in Consensus Protocols:

1. Paper Title: Synchronous Consensus with Optimal Asynchronous Fallback Guarantees.

Summary: This work explores whether it is possible to design a Byzantine agreement (BA) protocol that is (1) resilient to any ts (adaptive) corruptions when run in a synchronous network and also (2) resilient to ta (adaptive) corruptions even if the network happens to be asynchronous while fixing thresholds ta,ts with 0 < ta < n/3 ≤ ts < n/2.

Authors: Erica Blum*, Jonathan Katz*, and Julian Loss†,

Affiliations* University of Maryland and † Ruhr University Bochum.

This Week in Tokenomics:

1. Paper Title: Blockchain and Public Companies: A Revolution in Share Ownership Transparency, Proxy-Voting and Corporate Governance?

Summary: This paper discusses the potential use of blockchain to build better systems, and highlights how it could not only address efficiency challenges, but also bring the reality of share registration back in line with its intended operation.

AuthorsFederico Panisi*, Ross P. Buckley†, and Douglas W. Arner‡,

Affiliations: * University of Brescia, † UNSW, and ‡ The University of Hong Kong.

2. Paper Title: Taming the Blockchain Beast? Regulatory Implications for the Cryptocurrency Market.

Summary: This paper uses a unique dataset of 120 regulatory events from five classes to test the relevance of the regulatory framework for cryptocurrency value.

AuthorsSavva Shanaeva*, Satish Sharmaa*, Arina Shuraevab†, and Binam Ghimirea*,

Affiliations: * University of Northumbria and † University of London.

Notable Conferences:

“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.”

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