This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #18

Issue #18

Issue #18

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: Bitcontracts: Adding Expressive Smart Contracts to Legacy Cryptocurrencies.


  1. Many currently popular cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple or Stellar, do not natively support the concept of smart contracts. On the contrary, the ones that do, such as Ethereum, are based on a Turing-complete programming language and are highly restricted.

  2. Previous efforts such as Arbitrum and FastKitten suffer from significant security, deployment, and functional limitations.

  3. Therefore, this work attempts to design a solution that enhances systems like Bitcoin that have no built-in smart contract support and extends the contract execution capabilities of platforms like Ethereum.

  4. It enables contract developers to write contracts in their favorite programming language.

  5. For evaluation purposes, a security analysis is provided and Bitcontracts are implemented to run on Bitcoin, supporting Python contracts.

  6. Finally, to compare the viability of using Bitcontracts in different cryptocurrencies, a comparison of the cost for storing state changes is also discussed.

AuthorsKarl Wüst*, Loris Diana∗, Kari Kostiainen*, Ghassan Karame†, Sinisa Matetic∗, Srdjan Capkun*,

Affiliations: * ETH and † NEC Labs.


1. Paper Title: k-root-n: An efficient O(√n) algorithm for avoiding short term doublespending in Distributed Ledger Technologies such as Blockchain.

Summary: A scalable low-latency solution which can run in parallel to a global consensus mechanism such as blockchain, protecting against double spending in the short-term, while the n nodes reach consensus on transactions with a lag of some hours from the transaction time.

AuthorsZvi Schreiber*,

Affiliations: * Fizz.


No Papers.


1. Paper Title: ACE: Asynchronous and Concurrent Execution of Complex Smart Contracts.

Summary: This work aims to lift execution limits and enable safe execution of more complex smart contracts for permissionless blockchain systems like Ethereum, while maintaining smart contracts’ transparency and good liveness.

AuthorsKarl Wüst*, Sinisa Matetic*, Silvan Egli*, Kari Kostiainen*, and Srdjan Capkun*,

Affiliations: * ETH.


No Papers.

Consensus Protocols:

1. Paper Title: Ouroboros Chronos: Permissionless Clock Synchronization via Proof-of-Stake.

Summary: A systematic cryptographic study of clock synchronization in the permissionless PoS setting, deviseing a novel protocol based on Ouroboros Genesis

Authors: Christian Badertscher*†, Peter Gaži†, Aggelos Kiayias*†, Alexander Russell‡, and Vassilis Zikas*†,

Affiliations* University of Edinburgh, † IOHK, and ‡ University of Connecticut.

2. Paper Title: Towards a Multi-Chain Future of Proof-of-Space.

Summary: An innovative multi-chain scheme of proof-of-space based on the SpaceMint, built on a combination of a shared proof and a chain-specific proof of storage, which makes the same storage source contributes simultaneously to multiple blockchains, and the cost for an adversary to launch a newborn attack is enormous.

AuthorsShuyang Tang*, Jilai Zheng*, Yao Deng*, Ziyu Wang†, Zhiqiang Liu*, and Dawu Gu*,

Affiliations: * Shanghai Jiao Tong University and † Beihang University.


1. Paper Title: Facebook’s Project Libra: Will Libra Sputter Out or Spur Central Banks to Introduce Their Own Unique Cryptocurrency Projects?

Summary: Facebook’s claim of the Libra Blockchain as a decentralized network is far from reality.

AuthorsJohn Taskinsoy*,

Affiliations: * UNIMAS.

2. Paper Title: Bitcoin Speculation or Value Creation? Corporate Blockchain Investments and Stock Market Reactions.

Summary: This paper examines how investors react to the first publicly available news that a firm is investing in blockchain technology.

AuthorsDon M. Autore*, Nicholas Clarke*, and Danling Jiang†,

Affiliations: * Florida State University and † Stony Brook University.

3. Paper Title: Who is Liable if a Public Cryptocurrency Protocol Fails?

Summary: This paper discusses the failure risks associated with cryptocurrency protocols and the degree to which protocol developers, network participants, and other stakeholders can be held liable for such failures.

AuthorsPeder Østbye*,

Affiliations: * Norges Bank.



“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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