This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #31

Issue #31

Issue #31

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: Transparent SNARKs from DARK Compilers.


  1. In recent years, there has been a surge of industry interest in verifiable outsourced computation (such as trustless cloud computing) as well as zero-knowledge proofs, particularly in blockchains.

  2. Zero-knowledge proofs are posted to the blockchain ledger as a part of transactions and nodes must verify many proofs in the span of a short period of time, making succinctness and fast verification necessary properties for the deployment of such proof systems.

  3. Verifiable computation is also being explored as a scaling solution for blockhain transactions, and even as a way to entirely eliminate the need for maintaining historical blockchain data.

  4. Following that came SNARGs (“succinct non-interactive arguments”) achieving better concrete efficiency characteristics such as succinctness, non-interactivity, and verifier-scalability.

  5. Somewhat unfortunately, the best performing proof systems to date (considering proof size and verification time) require a trusted preprocessing. These are the pairing-based SNARKs which have been deployed in live systems such as the ZCash cryptocurrency.

  6. Transparent proof systems (do not involve any trusted setup) such as STARKs and Bulletproofs exist, but cannot perform as well.

  7. Another thread of research has produced proof systems that remove trust from the circuit preprocessing step, and instead have a universal (trusted) setup: a one-time trusted setup that can be reused for any computation

  8. Therefore, the main technical contribution of this work is thus a new polynomial commitment scheme without trusted setup (i.e., a transparent polynomial commitment scheme), which can be used to construct transparent SNARKs.

  9. A framework is presented that unifies all existing approaches to constructing SNARKs from polynomial commitments using the language of interactive oracle proofs (IOPs).

  10. The SNARK is concretely efficient with 7.8KB proofs (70× reduction over state of the art) and 75ms verification time for circuits with 1 million gates.

AuthorsBenedikt Bünz*†, Ben Fisch*†, and Alan Szepieniec‡,

Affiliations: * Stanford University, † Findora Foundation and ‡ Nervos Foundation.


1. Paper Title: Rationality is Self-Defeating in Permissionless Systems.

Summary: If you think you have designed a permissionless decentralized system that is cleverly secured based on rationality assumptions, you haven’t.

AuthorsBryan Ford* and Rainer Böhme†.

Affiliations: * EPFL and † Universität Innsbruck.

2. Paper Title: Crypto Mining Makes Noise.

Summary: A novel attacker model that subsumes the attacker model present in the literature (cryptojacking) and a ML based framework that is able to detect and identify crypto-mining activities related to the attack.

AuthorsMaurantonio Caprolu*, Simone Raponi*, Gabriele Oligeri*, and Roberto Di Pietro*,

Affiliations: * HBKU.

3. Paper Title: The Security Reference Architecture for Blockchains: Towards a Standardized Model for Studying Vulnerabilities, Threats, and Defenses.

Summary: A security reference architecture for blockchains, which utilizes a stacked model (similar to the ISO/OSI) that demonstrates the nature and hierarchy of various security and privacy threats.

Authors: Ivan Homoliak*†, Sarad Venugopalan*, Qingze Hum*, Daniel Reijsbergen*, Richard Schumi*, and Pawel Szalachowski*,

Affiliations: * Singapore University of Technology and Design and †Brno University of Technology.

4. Paper Title: Kriptosare.gen, a dockerized Bitcoin testbed: analysis of server performance.

Summary: A platform for deploying full-scale Bitcoin networks, together with the tools to control the network.

AuthorsFrancesco Zola*, Cristina Pérez-Solá†, Jon Egaña Zubia*, Maria Eguimendia*, and Jordi Herrera-Joancomartí‡,

Affiliations: * Vicomtech, † Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, and ‡ Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.


1. Paper Title: SIMS : Self-Sovereign Identity Management System with Preserving Privacy in Blockchain.

Summary: A self-sovereign identity management system in the blockchain environment that has the self sovereignty to utilize personal information with preserving privacy.

AuthorsJeonghyuk Lee*, Jungyeon Hwang‡, Jaekyung Choi†, Hyunok Oh*, and Jihye Kim†,

Affiliations: * Hanyang University, † Kookmin University, and ‡ Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute.


No papers.


1. Paper Title: Linear-Size Constant-Query IOPs for Delegating Computation.

Summary: This work constructs interactive oracle proofs (IOPs) for algebraic computations over large fields that are “almost” ideal. It can achieve linear proof length, O(N log N ) (strictly quasilinear) prover arithmetic complexity, constant query and round complexity, and polylogarithmic verifier time.

AuthorsEli Ben-Sasson*, Alessandro Chiesa†, Lior Goldberg*, Tom Gur‡, Michael Riabzev*, and Nicholas Spooner†,

Affiliations: * StarkWare, † UC Berkeley, and ‡ University of Warwick.

Consensus Protocols:

1. Paper Title: Analysis of Nakamoto Consensus, Revisited.

Summary: A simple and transparent analysis used to teach senior undergraduate students and graduate students.

Authors: Jianyu Niu*, Chen Feng*, Hoang Dau†, Yu-Chih Huang‡, Jingge Zhu§,

Affiliations* The University of British Columbia, † RMIT, ‡ National Taipei University, and § The University of Melbourne.


1. Paper Title: The New York Inclusive Value Ledger: A Peer-to-Peer Savings & Payments Platform for an All-Embracing and Dynamic State Economy.

Summary: This document sketches a smart-device-accessible peer-to-peer (‘P2P’) savings and payments platform – the ‘New York Inclusive Value Ledger’ – which, thanks to new digital technologies, can easily be instituted and administered by any unit of government in the State of New York that wishes to supply this critical productive, commercial and financial infrastructure to all of its constituents.

AuthorsRobert Hockett*,

Affiliations: * Cornell Law School.

2. Paper Title: SoK: Demystifying Stablecoins.

Summary: This paper is a systemization of work on stablecoins.

AuthorsJeremy Clark*, Didem Demirag*, and Seyedehmahsa Moosavi*,

Affiliations: * Concordia University.

3. Paper Title: Token Economics in Real-Life: Cryptocurrency and Incentives Design for Insolar’s Blockchain Network.

Summary: This work presents facets of the token engineering process for a real-life 80-person Swiss blockchain startup.

AuthorsMarek Laskowski*, Henry Kim*, Michael Zargham†, Matt Barlin†, and Danil Kabanov‡,

Affiliations: * York University, † BlockScience, and ‡ Insolar Technologies GmbH.

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“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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