IC3 Impact & Accomplishments
In addition to our scholarship, IC3 has been extremely active in the open source crypto and blockchain communities for several years - with many significant contributions; and by any objective measure, far more than any other academic group. Below is a partial list with some references and press.
Coins and Chains
- Bitcoin: IC3 scholars identified a fundamental limitation of proof-of-work consensus protocols known as selfish mining; invented covenants and vaults to keep coins secure at rest; and their work on characterizing the scalability and decentralization of proof-of-work blockchains played a fundamental role in Bitcoin's block size debate. IC3 continues to operate the Falcon relay network to help decentralization.
- Ethereum: IC3 researchers played a role in identifying reentrancy hazards in smart contracts; IC3 reearchers issued a call for moratorium on The DAO prior to the hack, one of which the DAO hacker used; IC3's Sprites is now included in Raiden.
- Bitcoin Cash: IC3's Falcon relay network also powers the Bitcoin Cash network and helps ferry blocks and transactions to create an equal playing field for all miners.
- Monero: IC3's Monerolink work led to multiple improvements to improve privacy provided by Monero's ring sampling procedure, remote nodes vulnerability disclosure.
- Hyperledger: IC3 is a founding member of Hyperledger, and IC3 researchers are currently porting HoneyBadgerBFT consensus protocol to the platform.
- Waves: Core consensus mechanism is Bitcoin NG, invented at IC3. Waves derives its performance from NG.
- Aeternity: Core consensus mechanism is Bitcoin NG, invented at IC3.
- Zcoin, BitMessage: These systems use Dandelion, invented at IC3, for their strong privacy guarantees.
- Qtum, PIVX, Particl, 20 others: IC3's work on "fake stake" attacks has led to improvements in all of these systems.
Startups Involving IC3 Members
- Gyroscope: FTL Labs is building Gyroscope, a decentralized stablecoin on Ethereum. An early alpha version of Gyroscope was developed as an IC3 bootcamp project.
- Arbitrum: Offchain Labs is building Arbitrum, a scaling solution for Ethereum.
- Ava Labs, Inc.: Ava Labs is funded by Andresen-Horowitz, Metastable, Polychain, and others, is building a next generation blockchain platform that provides unprecedented performance and functionality.
- bloXroute: bloXroute is a high performance blockchain infrastructure company, co-founded by IC3 members, that is building a fast networking layer for all blockchains.
- Flashbots: Flashbots is a research and development organization working on mitigating the negative externalities of current MEV extraction techniques and avoiding the existential risks MEV could cause to state-rich blockchains like Ethereum.
- Oasis: Oasis, founded by IC3 researchers, is seeking to support applications that use even the most sensitive data without compromising privacy or performance. It is funded by Andresen-Horowitz and others.
- PISA Research: PISA research is developing tools and techniques for secure exchange of cryptographic assets.
- Thunder Token: Thunder Token is a high performance blockchain with high throughput and low latency. Their transaction relayer, any.sender, was aquired by Infura.
- Avalanche: Avalanche and its related family of consensus protocols represent a fresh new approach to consensus protocols that combine high performance, scalability, and security.
- Bitcoin-NG: Bitcoin-NG is the latest generation of proof-of-work based mining protocol, adopted in Waves, Aeternity, and others because it delivers security for 0-conf transactions and much higher throughput.
- CHURP: This protocol, on Oasis Labs roadmap, provides a robust mechanism for secret sharing in dynamic settings.
- Covenants and Vaults: Mechanism to thwart and reverse coin thefts, without impacting fungibility. Adopted in Elements Alpha based on Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others.
- DECO: DECO is a novel privacy-preserving oracle protocol.
- drand: drand is a distributed randomness beacon. It offers verifiable, unpredictable and unbiased random numbers as a service.
- Ekiden: Adopted by Oasis Labs, Ekiden is a platform for privacy-preserving smart contract execution.
- Falcon Network: Falcon is a high-performance network for quickly disseminating financial data. It is operated pro bono by IC3 to help improve decentralization of BTC and BCH. In 2018, it was licensed to bloXroute.
- GasToken: GasToken is a mechanism for arbitraging gas costs and smoothing out gas cost spikes. Used in exchange arbitrage.
- HoneyBadgerBFT: Honeybadger is an asynchronous consensus protocol.
- Teechan and Teechain: Teechan and Teechain are the fastest Layer-2 implementations to date. They achieve three to four orders of magnitude higher throughput than the Lightning Network, and do not necessitate watch towers, custodians, or any kind of blockchain access after the setup phase.
- Tesseract: Secure, decentralized exchange.
- Thunderella: Core technology of Thunder Token.
- Town Crier: Town Crier is a trusthworthy oracle service. In 2018, it was licensed to SmartContract / Chainlink.
Highly Influential Blockchain Publications
- Selfish Mining: Top-cited paper after the Bitcoin whitepaper and Ethereum's yellow paper. It pointed out the biggest known flaw in Nakamoto mining and was used heavily to motivate for small blocks.
- Hawk: Seminal paper on smart contract confidentiality.
- A Fistful of Bitcoins: Characterizing Payments Among Men with No Names: The seminal paper on cryptocurrency forensics and the limitations of Bitcoin privacy.
- Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: The leading textbook, co-authored by A. Miller and S. Goldfeder.
- KARMA : A Secure Economic Framework for Peer-to-Peer Resource Sharing: Introduced the first peer-to-peer currency that was minted based on proof-of-work, five years before Bitcoin.
- SoK: Research Perspectives and Challenges for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies: This paper identified three key components of Bitcoin's design that could be decoupled.
- On Scaling Decentralized Blockchains: This paper dominated the block size debate in the Bitcoin community, arguing that block size could be increased moderately, but not arbitrarily, paving the way for consensus layer changes to improve performance.
- Proofs of Work and Bread Pudding Protocols: Introduced the term Proof of Work and first formalized the concept.
- Step by Step Towards Creating a Safe Smart Contract: A paper exposing the common pitfalls in designing smart contracts that are safe and secure.
- Enhancing Bitcoin Security and Performance with Strong Consistency via Collective Signing: Introduced ByzCoin, which implemented a Byzantine consensus protocol reducing latency to under 30 seconds.
- The Analysis of the Blockchain Protocol in Asynchronous Networks: A paper showing that the Nakamoto consensus protocol satisfies strong forms of consistency and liveness in an asynchronous network.
- Mixcoin: A protocol to facilitate anonymous payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
- Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains: Introduced the concept of sidechains and provided the foundation for Blockstream, Inc.
- Town Crier: An Authenticated Data Feed for Smart Contracts: The first research paper to combine blockchains with trusted hardware, and with the ChainLink whitepaper is the seminal research work on oracles.
- Permacoin: The first storage-based consensus algorithm, based, in turn, on Proofs of Retrievability.
- Cryptocurrencies without Proof of Work: Focused on decentralized cryptocurrency protocools in which participants don't delete physical scare resources.
- Centrally Banked Cryptocurrencies: Introduced RSCoin, a cryptocurrency framework that is centralized but prevents double-spending using a distributed set of authorities.
Events in Which IC3 Played an Important Role
Press Coverage / Coverage Metrics
- 1,827 articles in the press.
- 258,993 Google Scholar citations.
- Widely quoted in NYT, WSJ, BBC, Wired, Forbes, WaPo, MIT Technology Review, New Scientist, and almost every major newspaper of record overseas.