This month, IC3 researchers explored central bank digital currency design, presented a platform for decentralized identity, had two papers accepted for fall conferences, and more!
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IC3 Blockchain Camp 2020 (July 26th- August 1st)
The IC3 Blockchain Camp featured research talks, panels, and group discussions along with a hackathon. Recordings of many of the presentations are available!
Event summary and hackaton winners: IC3 Website
Talk recordings: YouTube
Summary: The authors propose a novel system called ACE which enables more complex smart contracts on permissionless blockchains. ACE is based on an off-chain execution model where a set of service providers execute the contract code independent from the consensus layer. In contrast to previous solutions, it allows contracts to safely call other contracts executed by a different set of service providers.
Karl Wüst, Sinisa Matetic, Silvan Egli, Kari Kostiainen, Srdjan Capkun (all ETH Zurich)
Karl Wüst presented ACE at the IC3 Blockchain Camp 2020.
Summary: The authors prove the equivalence of two fundamental problems in the theory of computation: the existence of one-way functions and mild average-case hardness of KPoly-complexity. They present the first natural, and well-studied, computational problem characterizing the feasibility of the central private-key primitives and protocols in Cryptography.
Yanyi Liu and Rafael Paas (both Cornell)
Summary: The authors enumerate the fundamental technical design challenges facing CBDC designers, with a particular focus on performance, privacy, and security. They discuss the state of the art in technologies that can address the challenges involved in successful CBDC deployment and present a vision of the rich range of functionalities and use cases that a well-designed CBDC platform could ultimately offer users.
Sarah Allen (IC3), Srdjan Capkun (ETH Zurich), Ittay Eyal (Technion), Giulia Fanti (CMU), Bryan Ford (EPFL), James Grimmelmann (Cornell Tech), Ari Juels (Cornell Tech), Kari Kostiainen (ETH Zurich), Sarah Meiklejohn (UCL), Andrew Miller (UIUC), Eswar Prasad (Cornell), Karl Wüst (ETH Zurich), and Fan Zhang (Cornell Tech)

Summary: The authors present CanDID, a platform for practical, user friendly realization of decentralized identity, which empowers end users with management of their own credentials. It issues credentials in a user-friendly way that draws securely and privately on data from existing, unmodified web service providers, making it legacy compatible. CanDID provides strong confidentiality for user’s keys, real-world identities, and data, yet prevents users from spawning multiple identities and allows identification (and blacklisting) of sanctioned users.
Deepak Maram (Cornell Tech, IC3), Harjasleen Malvai (Cornell, IC3), Fan Zhang (Cornell Tech, IC3), Nerla Jean-Louis (UIUC, IC3), Alexander Frolov (Cornell, IC3), Tyler Kell (Cornell Tech, IC3), Tyrone Lobban (J.P. Morgan), Christine Moy (J.P. Morgan), Ari Juels (Cornell Tech, IC3), 
Andrew Miller (UIUC, IC3)
Ari Juels presented CanDID at the IC3 Blockchain Camp 2020
Summary: The authors build upon Ben-Or, Kelmer and Rabin’s 1994 proof-sketch of a lower bound for asynchronous fault tolerant computation with optimal resilience against a Byzantine adversary: if n ≤ 4t then any t-resilient asynchronous verifiable secret sharing protocol must have some non-zero probability of not terminating. They revisit this lower bound and provide a rigorous and more general proof. They show how to avoid this lower bound and provide a protocol with optimal resilience that is almost surely terminating for a strong common coin functionality. Using this new primitive, they provide an almost surely terminating protocol with optimal resilience for asynchronous Byzantine agreement that has a new fair validity property.
Ittai Abraham (VMware Research), Danny Dolev (Hebrew University), Gilad Stern (Hebrew University)

Summary: The authors present the notion of a Succinct Parallelizable Argument of Knowledge (SPARK), an argument of knowledge with three efficiency properties for computing and proving a (non-deterministic, polynomial time) parallel RAM computation. This gives a way to leverage a moderate increase in parallelism in favor of near-optimal running time. They contribute a generic construction of SPARKs from any succinct argument of knowledge where the prover’s parallel running time is T · polylog(T · p) when using p processors, assuming collision-resistant hash functions.
Naomi Ephraim (Cornell Tech), Cody Freitag (Cornell Tech), Ilan Komargodski (Cornell Tech), Rafael Pass (Cornell Tech)

Summary: The authors present PriFi, an anonymous communication protocol for LANs, which protects users against eavesdroppers and provides high-performance traffic-analysis resistance. PriFi builds on Dining Cryptographers networks (DC-nets), but reduces the high communication latency of prior designs via a new client/relay/server architecture, in which a client’s packets remain on their usual network path without additional hops, and in which a set of remote servers assist the anonymization process without adding latency. PriFi also solves the challenge of equivocation attacks.
Ludovic Barman (EPFL), Italo Dacosta (UBS), Mahdi Zamani (Visa Research), Ennan Zhai (Alibaba Group), Apostolos Pyrgelis (EPFL), Bryan Ford (EPFL), Joan Feigenbaum (Yale), and Jean-Pierre Hubaux (EPFL)
Responsible Data Summit (July 28th- 30th)
IC3 faculty member Dawn Song spoke on July 30th in a series of presentations focused on Responsible Data Technology and Policy in the Real World. There will be an additional day of the summit focused on Privacy and Decentralization, date TBA here
Presentation recordings are available on YouTube. 

Theory and Practice of Blockchains (Weekly from May 27th- July 15th)
Eight IC3 speakers presented over the course of the TPBC calendar. 
  • François Garillot (Novi)- “Mechanized proof for the Libra block chain.” YouTube
  • Patrick McCorry (Anydot)- “Transitioning from academic research to entrepreneurship. Lessons learnt & beyond off-chain” YouTube
  • Dahlia Malkhi (Novi)- “The Journey to Libra Blockchain Core and Beyond.” YouTube
  • Mary Maller (Ethereum Foundation)- “Reputable List Curation from Decentralized Voting.” YouTube
  • Marko Vukolic (IBM)- “Mir-BFT: Robust Scaling of Classical BFT.” YouTube
  • Avishay Pinhas Yanay (VM Ware)- “Blinder – MPC Based Scalable and Robust Anonymous Committed Broadcast” YouTube
  • Lefteris Kokoris-Kogias (Novi)- “Employing user-selected committees for scalability and confidentiality.” YouTube
  • Ittay Eyal (Technion)- “Manipulating Incentives for Fun and Profit.” YouTube
IC3 Chief Scientist Elaine Shi received the inaugural CyLab Distinguished Alumni Award.
  • Facebook 2021 Fellowship Program is now open for applications (deadline Oct 1). Focus areas include Blockchain & Cryptoeconomics. These fellowships are open to PhD candidates and awardees receive two years of paid tuition and fees, a $42,000 annual stipend to cover living and conference travel costs, a paid visit to Facebook headquarters for the annual Fellowship Summit, and various opportunities to engage with Facebook researchers. Apply through Facebook Research; reach out to Doria Xu ( with any questions.
  • The US Federal Reserve Board is seeking two TechLab Computer Science Fellows for the fall semester. Research topics will support TechLab’s ongoing digital currencies experimentation work and reflect each fellow’s interests. These positions are open PhD and MS candidates and will be remote. Apply on LinkedIn; reach out to Jill ( with any questions.
Please send any new research or presentations to to be included in the next research update.
Best wishes, 
Sarah Allen
IC3 Community Manager
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The Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3)