This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #104

Issue #104


Issue #104

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: Tokenized: The Law of Non-Fungible Tokens and Unique Digital Property.


  1. Markets for unique digital property—digital equivalents of rare artworks, collectible trading cards, and other assets that gain value from scarcity—have exploded in the past several months.

  2. At root is the next iteration of blockchain technology, unique digital assets called non-fungible tokens.

  3. NFTs have grown from a few early breakout successes to a rapidly developing market for unique digital treasures. The attraction to buyers is that unlike digital assets like e-books or licensed movies, NFTs can be bought, sold, displayed, gifted, or even destroyed just like personal property.

  4. Yet law has not kept pace with demand for unique digital property. In particular, the rules designed for the 2000s internet focused on expanding intellectual property licenses and online contracts to the point that we are mere users, not owners, of digital assets. 

  5. This article proposes a clear path for the evolution of the legal underpinnings of NFTs. It argues that NFTs are personal property, not contracts (despite the “smart contracts” popular nomenclature) or pure intellectual property licenses (despite the currently governing law of digital assets like e-books).

  6. Because transactions in NFTs are in the form of a sale, the law of sales of personal property should apply.

  7. And finally, the article notes that NFTs will serve as a powerful grounding example of digital personal property, a legal form of ownership that is both sorely needed and has not yet been clearly established online.

  8. That example will ground others, and permit law to again characterize those who buy scarce and valuable digital assets as true owners rather than mere users.

AuthorsJoshua Fairfield*

Affiliations: * Washington and Lee University.


1. Paper Title: EtherClue: Digital investigation of attacks on Ethereum smart contracts.

Summary: Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) defined over the side-effects of Ethereum smart contract execution is an effective way to identify exploit transactions.

Authors: Simon Joseph Aquilina*, Fran Casino†‡, Mark Vella*, Joshua Ellul*, and Constantinos Patsakis†‡,

Affiliations* University of Malta and † University of Piraeus, and ‡ Athena Research Center.

1. Paper Title: Ethereum Name Service: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Summary: Several security issues and misbehaviors including traditional DNS security issues and new issues introduced by ENS smart contracts.

Authors: Pengcheng Xia*, Haoyu Wang*, Zhou Yu*, Xinyu Liu*, Xiapu Luo†, and Guoai Xu*,

Affiliations* Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications and † The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.


1. Paper Title: LightPIR: Privacy-Preserving Route Discovery for Payment Channel Networks.

Summary: An approach which allows a source to efficiently discover a shortest path to its destination without revealing any information about the endpoints of the transaction.

Authors: Krzysztof Pietrzak*, Iosif Salem†, Stefan Schmid*† , Michelle Yeo*, 

Affiliations* IST Austria and † University of Vienna.


1. Paper Title: RandChain: Practical Scalable Decentralized Randomness Attested by Blockchain.

Summary: A decentralized random beacon protocol designed to provide continuous randomness at regular intervals and provides guaranteed output delivery.

Authors: Gang Wang* and Mark Nixon†

Affiliations* University of Connecticut and † Emerson Automation Solutions.

2. Paper Title: RepShard: Reputation-based Sharding Scheme Achieves Linearly Scaling Efficiency and Security Simultaneously.

Summary: This work adopts a two-layer hierarchical chain structure, consisting of a reputation chain and independent transaction chains.

Authors: Gang Wang*

Affiliations* University of Connecticut.


No papers.


No papers.


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