IC3: Advancing the science and applications of blockchains

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by Andrew Miller, Nerla Jean-Louis, Yunqi Li, and James Austgen on August 25, 2023
Enhancing smart contract privacy is a critical stride towards the development of more useful blockchain applications. Trusted execution environments (TEEs) or secure enclaves are being used in multiple networks (Secret Network, Oasis Network, Obscuro, etc) to enable privacy without significantly increasing computational costs. However, the utilization of TEEs also brings forth challenges, specifically in designing secure network architectures that fully capitalize on the strengths of TEEs while mitigating potential risks. Our recent paper detailing several attacks on these TEE based blockchain networks that broke user privacy guarantees without doing the hard work of breaking into the TEE hardware.
by Kushal Babel, Nerla Jean-Louis, Mahimna Kelkar, Yunqi Li, Carolina Ortega Perez, Aditya Asgoankar, Sylvain Bellemare, Ari Juels, and Andrew Miller on June 12, 2023
TLDR - The Sting Framework (SF) is a new idea for bolstering the security of systems at risk of information leakage. SF addresses the case where a corrupt service (called a Subversion Service) arises that enables adversaries to exploit such leakage. SF presumes a player, called an informer, that wishes to alert the community to the presence of the corrupt service — either as a public service or to claim a bounty. SF enables the informer to generate a publicly verifiable proof that the corrupt service exists.
by Kushal Babel, Yan Ji, Ari Juels, and Mahimna Kelkar on April 17, 2023
In today’s blockchain landscape, the life of a transaction is nasty, brutish, and short. Or, as some put it, a blockchain like Ethereum is a “dark forest” — a reference to a popular sci-fi novel in which the universe is filled with predatory civilizations.
by Patrick McCorry on March 15, 2023
A very interesting talk by Kelvin Fichter argues that zk rollups do not exist and how rollups actually work. Let’s take a fun snippet from it.
by Ariah Klages-Mundt on March 14, 2023
7 of the largest 10 stablecoins depegged as a massive bank run effect rippled across crypto. What happened and what the lessons are for the space. Starting Friday, March 11, and persisting through the weekend, most major stablecoins lost their peg and stablecoin liquidity virtually evaporated.
by Phil Daian on March 07, 2023
In this post, we take a look at trends in MEV that we believe have the opportunity to centralize and weaken the core mission and value proposition of cryptocurrency. We argue that the most important only exit from a future where power dynamics in cryptocurrency become centralized and predatory is through geographic decentralization. We then explore the relationship between geographic decentralization and privacy, which in our opinion will be a dominant economic phenomenon in the next decade of MEV evolution.
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August 28-30, 2023
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.
Tuesday August 29, 2023
Thank you to all who joined us for the IC3 Members & Friends Reception at SBC(Science of Blockchain Conference) 2023!Held at the President's Terrace, an iconic rooftop bar in Palo Alto, the event boasted breathtaking views of Stanford, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and a California sunset. This event provided an opportunity for IC3 academic researchers, industry partners and invited guests to mingle and discuss the latest in blockchain research.
June 12-18, 2023
Thank you to all who joined us for the 8th Annual IC3 Blockchain Camp! This 7-day experience was hosted at the Cornell Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island, New York City, NY for the first time this year. A special thank you is also due to our camp technical committee of Surya Bakshi, Haaroon Yousaf, Lorenz Breidenbach, and Patrick McCorry for preparing another immersive coding and learning experience and to the IC3 Industry Partners!
Friday April 21, 2023
Cornell Blockchain Conference is returning to the Cornell Tech campus on April 21st. IC3 Co-director Ari Juels, together with distinguished IC3 alumni Emin Gün Sirer (Founder & CEO of Ava Labs) and Steven Goldfeder (Co-Founder & CEO, Offchain Labs) will be sharing valuable insights across academia and industry. We are excited to announce that IC3 is offering special discount to our newsletter subscribers.
January 15-18, 2023
Thank you to all who joined us for the 2023 IC3 Winter Retreat at the Eurotel Victoria in Les Diablerets, Switzerland! Our technical committee of Surya Bakshi, Lorenz Breidenbach, Patrick McCorry, and Haaroon Yousaf prepared another immersive blockchain learning experience.
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Featured Projects

Web3 Reputation: Introducing Dynamic Incentives into Distributed Networks

We introduce dynamic incentives into distributed systems via formally incorporating (decentralized) suppliers/users' reputation. Reputation aligns contributors’ incentives with platform welfare and makes myopic service providers internalize their long-term impacts. Starting with Proof-of-Stake (PoS) as an example, we show that Web3 reputation allows networks to support more throughput with same amount of staking, and averts cryptocurrency price shocks to suppliers by transferring cyclicality risks in transaction fees to users. We further analyze how dynamic incentives mitigate moral hazard in decentralized reporting game (e.g., for modeling oracle networks), and demonstrate how decentralization solves wealth concentration caused by dynamic incentives. Our findings validate proposals of adding Web3 reputation to distributed networks for efficiency improvements and long-run sustainability. For further details, please check out our Projects Page.


More projects:

  • Gorilla: Safe Permissionless Byzantine Consensus
  • SoK: Privacy-Preserving Data Synthesis
  • Tit-for-Token: Fair rewards for moving data in decentralized storage networks
  • Arke: Scalable and Byzantine Fault Tolerant Privacy-Preserving Contact Discovery
  • Oracle Counterpoint: Relationships between On-chain and Off-chain Market Data
Even more projects...