The School of Cybersecurity & Privacy is welcoming Benedikt Bünz for a seminar titled, Improving the Privacy, Scalability, and Ecological Impact of Blockchains. Bünz is a Ph.D. student at Stanford University in the applied cryptography lab with Dan Boneh. His work focuses on the science of blockchains.
The faculty recruiting seminar is scheduled for Feb. 8 at 12 p.m. in the 9th floor atrium of the Coda Building.
Abstract: Blockchains are an exciting area of research that touches on many areas of Computer Science and beyond. This technology has the potential to enable a fast, cheap, and private financial system based on distributed consensus and cryptography, instead of trusted parties. Despite this potential, the reality still shows severe limitations of blockchains: (i) transactions can cost hundreds of dollars and take minutes to confirm, (ii) some blockchains offer little privacy, and (iii) proof-of-work consensus consumes too much energy. In this talk, I will discuss powerful techniques that follow a prover paradigm and can mitigate these limitations. The first technique, called Bulletproofs, is a general-purpose zero-knowledge proof system that is specifically designed to enable confidential blockchain transactions. Bulletproofs requires minimal trust assumptions and gives the shortest zero-knowledge proofs without a trusted setup. The system is widely deployed and powers tens of thousands of private blockchain transactions per day. The second technique, called inner pairing products, is a way to aggregate many zero-knowledge proofs into a single short proof. This can significantly reduce on-chain data, leading to a significant increase in transactions per second that the chain can process. The third technique is a new concept called a verifiable delay function (VDF) that is vital for permission-less and eco-friendly consensus. VDFs are already deployed in Filecoin and Chia, and are planned for Ethereum 2.0, the upcoming upgrade to Ethereum.