Smart contracts are applications that execute on blockchains. Their strong security properties (transparency, tamper-resistance, and censorship-resistance) have attracted significant attention and investment ($31B thus far via ICOs), but most of the real-world uses, such as tokens, exercise little of smart contract's potential power. A key reason is the disconnection from the real world: there is currently no secure, decentralized way to faithfully convey real-world states to blockchains. Worse yet, smart contracts inherit blockchains' lack of confidentiality and poor efficency.
In this talk, I'll talk about solutions to these problems by connecting blockchains with off-chain systems. I will start with oracle protocols that connect smart contracts with off-chain data with strong authenticity and privacy guarantees. Then I will present an efficient churn-robust secret sharing protocol that enables decentralized off-chain secret storage. Finally, I will demonstrate how to apply them to building real-world deployable, usable decentralized systems with our going work on decentralized identity.
Fan Zhang is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at Cornell University, advised by Prof. Ari Juels. His research interest is in building secure systems that empower and protect their users from insecure and centralized infrastructure by leveraging cryptography, blockchains, and trusted execution environments (TEEs).
Register for the event here.