IC3: Advancing the science and applications of blockchains

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by Mahimna Kelkar on November 16, 2021
In current blockchain consensus protocols, a single miner or validator unilaterally controls the inclusion and ordering of transactions in a block. This form of temporary centralization is entirely at odds with the goals of decentralization. It also poses an acute problem for decentralized finance (DeFi). Arbitrageurs today are engaged in rampant collusion with miners to reorder transactions and extract profit at the expense of ordinary DeFi users. In the process of doing so, arbitrageurs are also participating in systemic bribery and even threatening the consensus stability of blockchains. So far in 2021, the impact of opportunistic transaction recording - often called MEV or miner/maximum extractable value - has exceeded $550 million by one conservative estimate.
by Ittay Eyal on November 16, 2021
Securing digital assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs is a tricky business, as demonstrated by numerous losses and heists. The challenge of storing digital assets applies equally to individuals and to larger actors - from companies to cryptocurrency exchanges to the largest financial services corporates. Digital assets are secured (almost exclusively) with cryptographic signing keys. But from the early days of Bitcoin it was clear that our mechanisms, which worked perfectly well in the olden days, are inadequate. Our mobile devices are (maybe) secure enough for our emails, but not for cash. Plastic cards work for authorizing transactions if we can cancel them with a phone call, but that's not the case with digital cash that has no 'undo'. Indeed, for securing digital assets it is not uncommon to use multiple keys.
by Tyler Kell, Haaroon Yousaf, Sarah Allen, Sarah Meiklejohn, and Ari Juels on September 22, 2021
Have you been offered the chance to earn unlimited passive income in cryptocurrency for life with no risks using a new technology called a smart contract? Congradulations! You may have just encountered a smart contract pyramid scheme.
by Yunqi Li, Sylvain Bellemare, Mikerah Quintyne-Collins, and Andrew Miller on April 21, 2021
In this post, we show how to provide pivacy for smart contracts in a general purpose way by using "Multiparty Computation (MPC) as a Sidechain". In this model, smart contract developers can label any of their member fields as "secret".
by Ari Juels, Ittay Eyal, and Mahimna Kelkar on March 07, 2021
There's a simple word for projects that seek to advantage miners while systematically exploiting blockchain users, say three researchers.
by Jun-You Liu, Surya Bakshi, Shreyas Gandlur, Ankush Das, and Andrew Miller on February 15, 2021
Payment channels are one of the fundamental approaches for scaling cryptocurrency networks. In the academic cryptography literature on payment channels, it has been effective to use universal composability (UC) framework as a way of rigorously modeling and giving security definitions. However, there's been a big gap between the UC model and the actual software implementations of payment channels that have been designed and maintained by cryptocurrency developers, not getting as much benefit from the UC as we could. SaUCy is a project that aims to bridge the world of cryptocurrency developers with the UC framework.
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August 29-31, 2022
This conference focuses on technical innovations in the blockchain ecosystem, and brings together researchers and practioners working in the space. We are interested in the application of cryptography, decentralized protocols, formal methods, and empirical analysis, to improving the security and scalability of blockchain deployments. We aim to foster collaboration among practitioners and researchers working on blockchain protocol development, cryptography, distributed systems, secure computing, crypto-economics, and economic risk analysis.
Monday December 13, 2021
The attempt to modernize oversight of America's financial markets and the simultaneous rise of bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and the digital dollar are disrupting financial services as we know them. This roundtable will examine the potential for crypto/blockchain networks to transform the financial sector and what that means for consumers and institutions.
October 6-7, 2021
The goal of this event is to introduce Protocol Labs Research's newly formed ConsensusLab to its future partners and to establish a workshop-style venue to bottstrap scientific exchange across a wider community of shared interests. We invite contributions from current and prospective collaborators, as well as from all researchers in the field.
July 25-31, 2021
Thank you to all of those that attended the 6th annual Blockchain Camp!
Tuesday June 1, 2021
Join us for Tyler Kell's presentation of "DeFi State of the Union", this webinar will be on June 1, 2021.
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Featured Projects

GoAT: File Geolocation via Anchor Timestamping

Blockchain systems are rapidly gaining traction. Decentralized storage systems like Filecoin are a crucial component of this ecosystem that aim to provide robust file storage through a Proof of Replication (PoRep) or its variants. However, a PoRep actually offers limited robustness. Indeed if all the file replicas are stored on a single hard disk, a single catastrophic event is enough to lose the file. We introduce a new primitive, Proof of Geo-Retrievability or in short "GeoPoRet", that enables proving that a file is located within a strict geographic boundary. Using GeoPoRet, one can trivially construct a PoRep by proving that a file is in several distinct geographic regions. We define what it means for a GeoPoRet scheme to be complete and sound, in the process making important extensions to prior formalism. We propose GoAT, a practical GeoPoRet scheme to prove file geolocation. For further details, please check out the Projects Page.

Proof of Geo-Retrievability
Proof of Replication
Decentralized Systems

More projects:

  • Clockwork Finance: Automated Analysis of Economic Security in Smart Contracts
  • SCIF: Smart Contract Information Flow
  • HiveMind: A Blockchain-Based Machine Learning Platform
  • Saber: The Paradigm for Parallel and Asynchronous Smart Contract Execution
  • Teechain: An Asynchronous Second Layer Payment Network
Even more projects...