This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #35

Issue #35

Issue #35

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: MicroCash: Practical Concurrent Processing of Micropayments.


  1. Micropayments, or payments in pennies, are increasingly being used by applications as diverse as ad-free web surfing, online gaming, and peer-assisted service networks. However, processing these small payments individually can incur high transaction fees that exceed the few pennies received.

  2. Probabilistic micropayment schemes have emerged where the amount of required payments is locked in an escrow and micropayments are issued as lottery tickets. However, many of these early proposals rely on a trusted party to manage payments.

  3. With blockchain, a number of these previous initiatives have attempted to convert to distributed ones, yet, still have several drawbacks. First, they force a customer to issue micropayments sequentially using the same escrow. Second, these schemes rely on computationally-heavy cryptographic primitives, and several rounds of communication to exchange payments.

  4. This paper proposes a solution to these drawbacks by introducing MicroCash, the first decentralized probabilistic framework that supports concurrent micropayments.

  5. MicroCash features a novel payment setup that allows a customer to issue micropayments in parallel and at a fast rate using a single escrow that can pay many winning tickets. This is achieved by having the customer specify the total number of tickets it may issue, and provide an escrow balance that covers all winning tickets under its payment setup.

  6. MicroCash is also cost effective because it introduces a lightweight non- interactive lottery protocol. This protocol requires only secure hashing and allows a payment exchange using only one round of communication without demanding the merchant to report anything to the customer.

  7. For evaluation, MicroCash is experimentally tested and compared to MICROPAY. Results show that a modest merchant machine in MicroCash is able to process 2,240 - 10,500 ticket/sec, which is around 1.7-4.2x times the rate in MICROPAY, with 60% reduction in the aggregated payment size.

AuthorsGhada Almashaqbeh*, Allison Bishop†‡, and Justin Cappos§,

Affiliations: * CacheCash Development Company, † Columbia University, ‡ Proof Trading, and § New York University.


1. Paper Title: Refresh When You Wake Up: Proactive Threshold Wallets with Offline Devices.

Summary: This works presents an efficient protocol to proactivize many standard (2, n) signature schemes with offline refresh, and implements it to show that it adds little overhead in practice.

AuthorsYashvanth Kondi*, Bernardo Magri†, Claudio Orlandi†, and Omer Shlomovits‡,

Affiliations: * Northeastern University, † Aarhus University, and ‡ KZen Research.

2. Paper Title: Spy Based Analysis of Selfish Mining Attack on Multi-Stage Blockchain.

Summary: This work performs successful selfish mining attack on multi-stage blockchain by introducing a malicious user called the spy, inside an honest pool.

AuthorsDonghoon Chang*, Munawar Hasan*, and Pranav Jain*,

Affiliations: * Institute of Information Technology Delhi.

3. Paper Title: What are the Actual Flaws in Important Smart Contracts (and How Can We Find Them)?

Summary: A wealth of empirical evidence to help smart-contract developers, security researchers, and security auditors improve their understanding of the types of faults found in contracts, and the potential for various methods to detect those faults.

Authors: Alex Groce*, Josselin Feist†, Gustavo Grieco†, and Michael Colburn†,

Affiliations: * Northern Arizona University and † Trail of Bits.


No papers.


1. Paper Title: OptiSwap: Fast Optimistic Fair Exchange.

Summary: A smart contract based two-party protocol for realizing a fair exchange for digital commodity against money that significantly improves the execution of the optimistic case in which both parties behave honestly.

AuthorsLisa Eckey*, Sebastian Faust*, and Benjamin Schlosser*,

Affiliations: * TU Darmstadt.

2. Paper Title: How to profit from payments channels.

Summary: This paper formalizes an optimization problem for maximizing fees in payment channel networks, presents a heuristic algorithm for solving the problem, and evaluates the algorithm on real-world data sets showing that routing fees can be a strong incentive for locking coins in payment channels.

AuthorsOguzhan Ersoy*, Stefanie Ross*, and Zekeriya Erkin*,

Affiliations: * Delft University of Technology.

3. Paper Title: Audita: A Blockchain-based Auditing Framework for Off-chain Storage.

Summary: A blockchain-based decentralized storage system that redefines the current structure of the widely used cloud storage services. It can be built on top of several blockchain systems and uses an augmented network of participants that include storage-nodes and block-creators.

AuthorsDanilo Francati*, Giuseppe Ateniese*, Abdoulaye Faye†, Andrea Maria Milazzo†, Angelo Massimo Perillo*, Luca Schiatti† and Giuseppe Giordano†,

Affiliations: * Stevens Institute of Technology and † Accenture Labs.


No papers.

Consensus Protocols:

1. Paper Title: A Blockchain Consensus Protocol Based on Dedicated Time-Memory-Data Trade-Off.

Summary: The proposed consensus protocol provides a flexibility for selection of the energy and space resources which should be employed by a participating entity in the process of verification of the blockchain updates.

Authors: Miodrag J. Mihaljevic*,

Affiliations* Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.


1. Paper Title: New governance perspectives on the sharing economy. A blockchain application for the ‘smart’ management of co-working spaces with a return for local authorities. 

Summary: A cross-sectorial overview of the two so far disjointed innovations, namely blockchain technologies and co-working spaces showing how the co-working space business may benefit from new technologies such as the use of a blockchain to store and trace data and transactions between multiple parties. 

Authors: Stefania Fiorentino* and Silvia Bartolucci†,

Affiliations: * University College London and † Imperial College Business School.

2. Paper Title: Initial Coin Offerings as a Commitment to Competition.

Summary: This paper shows that the ICO mechanism allows an entrepreneur to give up control of an online service exchange platform and can help her to commit to competitive pricing of the exchanged service. 

AuthorsItay Goldstein*, Deeksha Gupta†, and Ruslan Sverchkov*,

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

3. Paper Title: Blockchain Disruption and Decentralized Finance: The Rise of Decentralized Business Models.

Summary: This article assesses the benefits of decentralized finance, identifies existing business models, and evaluates potential challenges and limits.

AuthorsYan Chen* and Cristiano Bellavitis†.

Affiliations: * Stevens Institute of Technology and † Auckland University.

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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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