IC3 Winter Retreat 2024
January 8-11, 2024 Eurotel Victoria - Les Diablerets, Switzerland

A heartfelt thanks to all who joined us for the IC3 Winter Retreat 2024 at the Eurotel Victoria in Les Diablerets, Switzerland! Our technical committee of Surya Bakshi, Lorenz Breidenbach, Patrick McCorry, and Haaroon Yousaf organized an engaging blockchain experience for all participants.

Our group picture from the IC3 Winter Retreat 2024

IC3 Industry Partners

The success of the retreat was made possible through the generous sponsorship and participation of our IC3 Industry Partners. We also thank Matter Labs, 1kx and Reclaim Protocol for their financial contributions towards the Retreat.

Retreat Agenda and Activities

The IC3 Winter Retreat 2024 was an enriching educational experience, featuring 10-minute talks on a variety of blockchain-related topics. Key areas of discussion included Cryptography, Distributed Systems, and Governance, as well as adding depth with the Birds of a Feather Session which allowed attendees to engage in focused discussions on areas like New Blockchain Research, Consensus, and MEV, according to their interests. The Town Hall session particularly delved into the future of the industry-academic blockchain research Interface, encouraging collaborative dialogue on the next steps in the field. See the full agenda below.

Prof. Andrew Miller, UIUC and IC3 Faculty Director, presented his research using trusted execution environments for privacy and security in decentralized finance marketplaces.

Event Agenda

15:00 - 18:30 Arrival
18:30 - onwards Welcome Reception and Dinner
08:00 - 08:45 Breakfast and Event Check-in
08:45 - 09:00 Welcome - Jim Ballingall
09:00 - 10:00 Session 1: Cryptography - Session Chair: Andrew Miller
1. Shailesh Mishra (EPFL) - Social Key Recovery
2. Gregory Neven (Chainlink Labs) - vetKeys: How a Blockchain Can Keep Many Secrets
3. Marwa Mouallem (Technion) - Asynchronous Authentication
4. Mariarosaria Barbaraci (University of Bern) - Threshold Cryptography and Blockchain: A Perfect Match
5. Andrew Miller (UIUC) - SUAVE Sirrah: Speedrunning a TEE coprocessor
10:00 - 10:20 Break - 20 minutes
10:20 - 11:10 Session 2: Cryptography Pt 2 and Distributed Systems - Session Chair: Lorenz Breidenbach
1. Antonio Sanso (Ethereum Foundation) - Random Beacons and the future of VDF at Ethereum
2. Amit Agarwal (UIUC) - Blackbox verifiable outsourcing
3. Nerla Jean-Louis (UIUC) - TEE Rollups: Fixing Access Patterns in TEE-based Smart Contracts with Off-chain Computing
4. Valeriy Zamaraiev (1kx) - Accounting and Settlement in Distributed Systems
5. Patrick O'Grady (Ava Labs) - Vryx: Fortifying Decoupled State Machine Replication
6. Hongbo Zhang (Cornell University) - FicusDB: Scalable Blockchain Storage
11:10 - 12:00 Birds of a Feather Session
Topics: Cryptography (light blue), Distributed Systems (dark blue), Governance (purple), New Areas of Blockchain Research (green), Consensus (pink), and MEV (yellow)
12:00 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 14:30 Session 3: Governance - Session Chair: Surya Bakshi
1. Christian Cachin (University of Bern) - Flexible and asymmetric distributed trust
2. Justine Humenansky (Optimism Foundation) - Optimism Governance: An Iterative Experiment in Bi-Cameral Governance Design
3. James Austgen (Cornell Tech) and Sarah Allen (IC3) - DAO Decentralization: Voting-Bloc Entropy, Bribery, and Dark DAOs
4. Johnnatan Messias (Matter Labs) - Airdrops: Giving Money Away Is Harder Than It Seems
5. Martin Eckardt (Ava Labs) - Learnings from Building Avalanche Academy
14:30 - 15:00 Break - 30 minutes
15:00 - 15:45 Panel: Research-Based Blockchain Governance Systems for the Future
Moderator: Sarah Allen
Panelists: Lioba Hiembach, Justine Humenansky and James Austgen
15:45 - 16:45 Session 4: New Areas for Blockchain Research - Session Chair: Haaroon Yousaf
1. Xiaoyuan Liu (UC Berkeley) - Decentralized LLM serving
2. Roi Bar Zur (Technion) - Deep Bribe: Predicting the Rise of Bribery in Blockchain Mining with Deep RL
3. Arthus Gervais (UCL) - (Pre)training and applying LLMs to Blockchain Transactions
4. Vero Estrada (EPFL) - A decent framework proposal for society-computer interactions
5. Ben Livshits (Matter Labs/Imperial College London) - Open Problems in Rollup Design
6. Krzysztof Gogol (University of Zurich) - Cross-border CBDCs exchange using Layer-2 blockchain
16:45 - 19:00 Networking/Sightseeing
19:00 - onwards Dinner
08:00 - 08:45 Breakfast
08:45 - 13:00 Local Activities
13:00 - 14:30 Lunch
14:30 - 15:30 Session 5: Consensus - Session Chair: Christian Cachin
1. Philipp Schneider (University of Bern) - Analysis of Snow consensus protocols
2. Stephen Buttolph (Ava Labs) - Generalizing Snow* Consensus Finalization
3. Ignacio Amores Sesar (University of Bern) - Scalability of consensus protocols
4. Kushal Babel (Cornell Tech) - Mysticeti: Low-Latency DAG Consensus with Fast Commit Path
5. Benjamin Chan (Cornell Tech) - Simplex Consensus, A Simple and Fast Consensus Protocol
6. Pasindu Tennage (EPFL) - QuePaxa: Escaping the tyranny of timeout problem in consensus
15:30 - 16:00 Break - 30 minutes
16:00 - 16:50 Session 6: MEV - Session Chair: Lorenz Breidenbach
1. Akaki Mamageishvili (Offchain Labs) - Buying Time: Latency Racing vs. Bidding for Transaction Ordering
2. Lioba Heimbach (ETH Zurich) - The Potential of Self-Regulation for Front-Running Prevention on DEXes
3. Lucianna Kiffer (ETH Zurich) - Measuring the initial adoption of PBS
4. Benjamin Chan (Cornell Tech) - The Costs of Swapping on the Uniswap Protocol
5. Julian Ma (Ethereum Foundation) - An Economic Framework to Evaluate AMM Designs
16:50 - 17:35 Town Hall Session: Next Steps for the Industry-Academic Blockchain Research Interface
Moderator: Andrew Miller
17:35 - 17:50 Closing Remarks - Jim Ballingall
19:00 - onwards Chalet Dinner!
08:00 - 08:45 Breakfast
08:45 - onwards See You Next Time!

Our participants also enjoyed a fun excursion to the Glacier 3000 Peak Walk by the Tissot Suspension Bridge and a Glacier Walk surrounded by the breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps.

Our Glacier 3000 excursion group.

Our winter retreat ended with a chalet dinner, where the traditional Swiss fondue added a delightful touch of alpine charm.

Thanks to our 2024 Winter Retreat - Technical Committee
Surya Bakshi, Lorenz Breidenbach, Patrick McCorry, and Haaroon Yousaf
for their work toward the retreat!

We hope to see you next year!