IC3: Advancing the science and applications of blockchains

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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.
by Ari Juels on January 26, 2023
Independence from centralized institutions is among the most important of the revolutionary ideas at the heart of crypto. If you keep your crypto assets in a centralized exchange, the exchange holds them on your behalf. That means complete dependence on the integrity of the exchange. If it’s hacked or collapses, your funds can disappear.
by James Austgen, Kushal Babel, Vitalik Buterin, Phil Daian, Ari Juels, and Mahimna Kelkar on January 16, 2023
In a paper we've released today, we introduce a new cryptographic notion that we call proofs of complete knowledge (CK). We also report on a prototype that offers a path to making CK practical for use with smartphones.
by Andrew Miller on December 13, 2022
Last week the rest of the sgx.fail team and I posted a research preprint that included a vulnerability disclosure affecting Secret Network. Secret Network is the first smart contract system based on Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) to go live in production. However, there are several rival projects with closely related tech that have launched public testnets, namely Oasis, Phala, and Obscuro. Our disclosure kicked off a broader discussion, with all these projects reaching out and/or making public statements (Phala’s), (Oasis’s), (Secret’s) explaining to what degree they would have been affected and about the mitigations they have in development. The four projects have been building most independently of each other, but TEE/SGX compromise presents a common threat to all of them, suggesting an opportunity to work together.
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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.
June 12-18, 2023
Join us for the 8th Annual IC3 Blockchain Camp! This 7-day experience will be hosted for the first time on the Cornell Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island in New York, NY.
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.
Monday October 3, 2022
Thank you all for joining us for an evening of art and research talks to celebrate the opening of the NFT Art Gallery at Cornell Tech in New York City.
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Featured Projects

Complete Knowledge: Preventing Encumbrance of Cryptographic Secrets

Most cryptographic protocols model a player’s knowledge of secrets in a simple way. Informally, the player knows a secret in the sense that she can directly furnish it as a (private) input to a protocol, e.g., to digitally sign a message. The growing availability of Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) and secure multiparty computation, however, undermines this model of knowledge. Such tools can encumber a secret sk and permit a chosen player to access sk conditionally, without actually knowing sk. By permitting selective access to sk by an adversary, encumbrance of secrets can enable vote-selling in cryptographic voting schemes, illegal sale of credentials for online services, and erosion of deniability in anonymous messaging systems. Unfortunately, existing proof-of-knowledge protocols fail to demonstrate that a secret is unencumbered. We therefore introduce and formalize a new notion called complete knowledge (CK). A proof (or argument) of CK shows that a prover does not just know a secret, but also has fully unencumbered knowledge, i.e., unrestricted ability to use the secret. We introduce two practical CK schemes that use special-purpose hardware, specifically TEEs and off-the-shelf mining ASICs. We prove the security of these schemes and explore their practical deployment with a complete, end-to-end prototype that supports both. We show how CK can address encumbrance attacks identified in previous work. Finally, we introduce two new applications enabled by CK that involve proving ownership of blockchain assets. For further details, please check out our Projects Page.

Complete Knowledge

More projects:

  • Bingo: Adaptively Secure Packed Asynchronous Verifiable Secret Sharing and Asynchronous Distributed Key Generation
  • Specular: Towards Trust-minimized Blockchain Execution Scalability with EVM-native Fraud Proofs
  • FairPoS: Input Fairness in Proof-of-Stake with Adaptive Security
  • FinTech: Liquidity Fragmentation on Decentralized Exchanges
  • STAMP: Lightweight TEE-Assisted MPC for Efficient Privacy-Preserving Machine Learning
Even more projects...