## CryptoDB

### Vassilis Zikas

#### Publications

**Year**

**Venue**

**Title**

2024

JOFC

Bitcoin as a Transaction Ledger: A Composable Treatment
Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Bitcoin is one of the most prominent examples of a distributed cryptographic protocol that is extensively used in reality. Nonetheless, existing security proofs are property-based, and as such they do not support composition. In this work, we put forth a universally composable treatment of the Bitcoin protocol. We specify the goal that Bitcoin aims to achieve as an instance of a parameterizable ledger functionality and present a UC abstraction of the Bitcoin blockchain protocol. Our ideal functionality is weaker than the first proposed candidate by Kiayias, Zhou, and Zikas [EUROCRYPT’16], but unlike the latter suggestion, which is arguably not implementable by the UC Bitcoin protocol, we prove that the one proposed here is securely UC-realized by the protocol assuming access to a global clock, to model time-based executions, a random oracle, to model hash functions, and an idealized network, to model message dissemination. We further show how known property-based approaches can be cast as special instances of our treatment and how their underlying assumptions can be cast in UC as part of the setup functionalities and without restricting the environment or the adversary.
</jats:p>

2023

CRYPTO

Completeness Theorems for Adaptively Secure Broadcast
Abstract

The advent of blockchain protocols has reignited the interest in adaptively secure broadcast; it is by now well understood that broadcasting over a diffusion network allows an adaptive adversary to corrupt the sender depending on the message it attempts to send and change it. Hirt and Zikas [Eurocrypt '10] proved that this is an inherent limitation of broadcast in the simulation-based setting---i.e., this task is impossible against an adaptive adversary corrupting a majority of the parties (a task that is achievable against a static adversary).
The contributions of this paper are two-fold. First, we show that, contrary to previous perception, the above limitation of adaptively secure broadcast is not an artifact of simulation-based security, but rather an inherent issue of adaptive security. In particular, we show that: (1) it also applies to the property-based broadcast definition adapted for adaptive adversaries, and (2) unlike other impossibilities in adaptive security, this impossibility cannot be circumvented by adding a programmable random oracle, in neither setting, property-based or simulation-based.
Second, we turn to the resource-restricted cryptography (RRC) paradigm [Garay et al., Eurocrypt '20], which has proven useful in circumventing impossibility results, and ask whether it also affects the above negative result. We answer this question in the affirmative, by showing that time-lock puzzles (TLPs)---which can be viewed as an instance of RRC---indeed allow for achieving the property-based definition and circumvent the impossibility of adaptively secure broadcast. The natural question is then, do TLPs also allow for simulation-based adaptively secure broadcast against corrupted majorities? We answer this question in the negative. However, we show that a positive result can be achieved via a non-committing analogue of TLPs in the programmable random-oracle model.
Importantly, and as a contribution of independent interest, we also present the first (limited) composition theorem in the resource-restricted setting, which is needed for the complexity-based, non-idealized treatment of TLPs in the context of other protocols.

2023

TCC

Concurrent Asynchronous Byzantine Agreement in Expected-Constant Rounds, Revisited
Abstract

It is well known that without randomization, Byzantine agreement (BA) requires a linear number of rounds in the synchronous setting, while it is flat out impossible in the asynchronous setting. The primitive which allows to bypass the above limitation is known as oblivious common coin (OCC). It allows parties to agree with constant probability on a random coin, where agreement is oblivious, i.e., players are not aware whether or not agreement has been achieved.
The starting point of our work is the observation that no known protocol exists for information-theoretic multi-valued OCC with optimal resiliency in the asynchronous setting (with eventual message delivery). This apparent hole in the literature is particularly problematic, as multi-valued OCC is implicitly or explicitly used in several constructions.
In this paper, we present the first information-theoretic multi-valued OCC protocol in the asynchronous setting with optimal resiliency, i.e., tolerating t<n/3 corruptions, thereby filling this important gap. Further, our protocol efficiently implements OCC with an exponential-size domain, a property which is not even achieved by known constructions in the simpler, synchronous setting.
We then turn to the problem of round-preserving parallel composition of asynchronous BA. A protocol for this task was proposed by Ben-Or and El-Yaniv [Distributed Computing ’03]. Their construction, however, is flawed in several ways. Thus, as a second contribution, we provide a simpler, more modular protocol for the above task. Finally, and as a contribution of independent interest, we provide proofs in Canetti's Universal Composability framework; this makes our work the first one offering composability guarantees, which are important as BA is a core building block of secure multi-party computation protocols.

2022

EUROCRYPT

Round-Optimal and Communication-Efficient Multiparty Computation
📺
Abstract

Typical approaches for minimizing the round complexity of multi-party computation (MPC) come at the cost of increased communication complexity (CC) or the reliance on setup assumptions. A notable exception is the recent work of Ananth et al. [TCC 2019], which used Functional Encryption (FE) combiners to obtain a round optimal (two-round) semi-honest MPC in the plain model with CC proportional to the depth and input-output length of the circuit being computed---we refer to such protocols as circuit scalable. This leaves open the question of obtaining communication efficient protocols that are secure against malicious adversaries in the plain model, which our work solves. Concretely, our two main contributions are:
1) We provide a round-preserving black-box compiler that compiles a wide class of MPC protocols into circuit-scalable maliciously secure MPC protocols in the plain model, assuming (succinct) FE combiners.
2) We provide a round-preserving black-box compiler that compiles a wide class of MPC protocols into circuit-independent --- i.e., with CC that depends only on the input-output length of the circuit---maliciously secure MPC protocols in the plain model, assuming Multi-Key Fully-Homomorphic Encryption (MFHE).
Our constructions are based on a new compiler that turns a wide class of MPC protocols into k-delayed-input function MPC protocols (a notion we introduce), where the functions to be computed is specified only in the k-th round of the protocol.
As immediate corollaries of our two compilers, we derive (1) the first round-optimal and circuit-scalable maliciously secure MPC, and (2) the first round-optimal and circuit-independent maliciously secure MPC in the plain model. The latter MPC achieves the best to-date CC for a round-optimal malicious MPC protocol. In fact, it is even communication-optimal when the output size of the function being evaluated is smaller than its input size (e.g., for boolean functions). All of our results are based on standard polynomial time assumptions.

2021

EUROCRYPT

Dynamic Ad Hoc Clock Synchronization
📺
Abstract

Clock synchronization allows parties to establish a common notion of global time by leveraging a weaker synchrony assumption, i.e., local clocks with approximately the same speed. Despite intensive investigation of the problem in the fault-tolerant distributed computing literature, existing solutions do not apply to settings where participation is unknown, e.g., the ad hoc model of Beimel et al. [EUROCRYPT 17], or is dynamically shifting over time, e.g., the fluctuating/sleepy/dynamic-availability models of Garay et al. [CRYPTO 17], Pass and Shi [ASIACRYPT 17] and Badertscher et al. CCS 18].
We show how to apply and extend ideas from the blockchain literature to devise synchronizers that work in such dynamic ad hoc settings and tolerate corrupted minorities under the standard assumption that local clocks advance at approximately the same speed. We discuss both the setting of honest-majority hashing power and that of a PKI with honest majority. Our main result is a synchronizer that is directly integrated with a new proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain protocol, Ouroboros Chronos, which we construct and prove secure; to our knowledge, this is the first PoS blockchain protocol to rely only on local clocks, while tolerating worst-case corruption and dynamically fluctuating participation. We believe that this result might be of independent interest.

2021

CRYPTO

A Rational Protocol Treatment of 51% Attacks
📺
Abstract

Game-theoretic analysis of cryptocurrencies and, more generally, blockchain-based decentralized ledgers offers insight on their economic robustness, and their behavior when even the cryptographic assumptions that underpin their security fail. In this work we utilize the recently proposed blockchain adaptation of the rational protocol design (RPD) framework [EUROCRYPT~'18] to analyze 51\% double-spending attacks against Nakamoto-style cryptocurrencies. We observe a property of the originally proposed utility class that yields an unnatural behavior against such attacks, and show how to devise a utility that avoids this pitfall and makes predictions that match the observable behavior---i.e., that renders attacking a dominant strategy in settings where an attack was indeed observed. We then propose a generic modification to the underlying protocol which deters attacks on consistency by adversaries controlling a majority of the system's resources, including the 51\% double-spending attack. This can be used as guidance to patch systems that have suffered such attacks, e.g., Ethereum Classic and Bitcoin Cash, and serves as a demonstration of the power of game-theoretic analyses.

2021

TCC

On the (Ir)Replaceability of Global Setups, or How (Not) to Use a Global Ledger
📺
Abstract

In universally composable (UC) security, a global setup is intended to capture the ideal behavior of a primitive which is accessible by multiple protocols, allowing them to share state. A representative example is the Bitcoin ledger. Indeed, since Bitcoin---and more generally blockchain ledgers---are known to be useful in various scenarios, it has become increasingly popular to capture such ledgers as global setup. Intuitively, one would expect UC to allow us to make security statements about protocols that use such a global setup, e.g., a global ledger, which can then be automatically translated into the setting where the setup is replaced by a protocol implementing it, such as Bitcoin.
We show that the above reasoning is flawed and such a generic security-preserving replacement can only work under very (often unrealistic) strong conditions on the global setup and the security statement. For example, the UC security of Bitcoin for realizing a ledger proved by Badertscher {\em et al.} [CRYPTO'17] is {\em not} sufficient per se to allow us to replace the ledger by Bitcoin when used as a global setup. In particular, we cannot expect that all security statements in the global ledger-hybrid world would be preserved when using Bitcoin as a ledger.
On the positive side, we provide characterizations of security statements for protocols that make use of global setups, for which the replacement is sound. Our results can be seen as a first guide on how to navigate the very tricky question of what constitutes a ``good'' global setup and how to use it in order to keep the modular protocol-design approach intact.

2021

JOFC

Round-Preserving Parallel Composition of Probabilistic-Termination Cryptographic Protocols
Abstract

An important benchmark for multi-party computation protocols (MPC) is their round complexity . For several important MPC tasks, such as broadcast, (tight) lower bounds on the round complexity are known. However, some of these lower bounds can be circumvented when the termination round of every party is not a priori known, and simultaneous termination is not guaranteed. Protocols with this property are called probabilistic-termination ( PT ) protocols. Running PT protocols in parallel affects the round complexity of the resulting protocol in somewhat unexpected ways. For instance, an execution of m protocols with constant expected round complexity might take $$O(\log m)$$ O ( log m ) rounds to complete. In a seminal work, Ben-Or and El-Yaniv (Distributed Computing ‘03) developed a technique for a parallel execution of arbitrarily many broadcast protocols, while preserving expected round complexity. More recently, Cohen et al. (CRYPTO ‘16) devised a framework for universal composition of PT protocols, and provided the first composable parallel-broadcast protocol with a simulation-based proof. These constructions crucially rely on the fact that broadcast is “privacy-free,” and do not generalize to arbitrary protocols in a straightforward way. This raises the question of whether it is possible to execute arbitrary PT protocols in parallel, without increasing the round complexity. In this paper we tackle this question and provide both feasibility and infeasibility results. We construct a round-preserving protocol compiler, tolerating any dishonest minority of actively corrupted parties, that compiles arbitrary protocols into a protocol realizing their parallel composition, while having a black-box access to the underlying protocols . Furthermore, we prove that the same cannot be achieved, using known techniques, given only black-box access to the functionalities realized by the protocols, unless merely security against semi-honest corruptions is required, for which case we provide a protocol. To prove our results, we utilize the language and results by Cohen et al. , which we extend to capture parallel composition and reactive functionalities, and to handle the case of an honest majority.

2020

EUROCRYPT

Resource-Restricted Cryptography: Revisiting MPC Bounds in the Proof-of-Work Era
📺
Abstract

Traditional bounds on synchronous Byzantine agreement (BA) and secure multi-party computation (MPC) establish that in absence of a private correlated-randomness setup, such as a PKI,
protocols can tolerate up to $t<n/3$ of the parties being malicious. The introduction of ``Nakamoto style'' consensus, based on Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchains, put forth a somewhat different flavor of BA,
showing that even a majority of corrupted parties
can be tolerated as long as the majority of the computation resources remain at honest hands. This assumption on honest majority of some resource was also extended to other resources such as stake, space, etc., upon which blockchains achieving Nakamoto-style consensus were built that violated the $t<n/3$ bound in terms of number of party corruptions. The above state of affairs
begs the question of whether the seeming mismatch is due to different goals and models, or whether the resource-restricting paradigm can be generically used to circumvent the $n/3$ lower bound.
In this work we study this question and formally demonstrate
how the above paradigm changes the rules of the game in cryptographic definitions.
First, we abstract the core properties that the resource-restricting paradigm offers by means of a functionality {\em wrapper}, in the UC framework, which when applied to a standard point-to-point network restricts the ability (of the adversary) to send new messages. We show that such a wrapped network can be implemented using the resource-restricting paradigm---concretely, using PoWs and honest majority of computing power---and that the traditional $t<n/3$ impossibility results fail when the parties have access to such a network. Our construction is in the {\em fresh} Common Reference String (CRS) model---i.e., it assumes a CRS which becomes available to the parties at the same time as to the adversary.
We then present constructions for BA and MPC, which given access to such a network tolerate $t<n/2$ corruptions without assuming a private correlated randomness setup. We also show how to remove the freshness assumption from the CRS by leveraging the power of a random oracle. Our MPC protocol achieves the standard notion of MPC security, where parties might have dedicated roles, as is for example the case in Oblivious Transfer protocols. This is in contrast to existing solutions basing MPC on PoWs, which associate roles to pseudonyms but do not link these pseudonyms with the actual parties.

2020

EUROCRYPT

Broadcast-Optimal Two-Round MPC
📺
Abstract

An intensive effort by the cryptographic community to minimize the round complexity of secure multi-party computation (MPC) has recently led to optimal two-round protocols from minimal assumptions. Most of the proposed solutions, however, make use of a broadcast channel in every round, and it is unclear if the broadcast channel can be replaced by standard point-to-point communication in a round-preserving manner, and if so, at what cost on the resulting security.
In this work, we provide a complete characterization of the trade-off between number of broadcast rounds and achievable security level for two-round MPC tolerating arbitrarily many active corruptions. Specifically, we consider all possible combinations of broadcast and point-to-point rounds against the three standard levels of security for maliciously se- cure MPC protocols, namely, security with identifiable, unanimous, and selective abort. For each of these notions and each combination of broadcast and point-to-point rounds, we provide either a tight feasibility or an infeasibility result of two-round MPC. Our feasibility results hold assuming two-round OT in the CRS model, whereas our impossibility results hold given any correlated randomness.

2020

TCC

Universal Composition with Global Subroutines: Capturing Global Setup within plain UC
📺
Abstract

The Global and Externalized UC frameworks [Canetti-Dodis-Pass-Walfish, TCC 07] extend the plain UC framework to additionally handle protocols that use a ``global setup'', namely a mechanism that is also used by entities outside the protocol. These frameworks have broad applicability: Examples include public-key infrastructures, common reference strings, shared synchronization mechanisms, global blockchains, or even abstractions such as the random oracle. However, the need to work in a specialized framework has been a source of confusion, incompatibility, and an impediment to broader use.
We show how security in the presence of a global setup can be captured within the plain UC framework, thus significantly simplifying the treatment. This is done as follows:
- We extend UC-emulation to the case where both the emulating protocol $\pi$ and the emulated protocol $\phi$ make subroutine calls to protocol $\gamma$ that is accessible also outside $\pi$ and $\phi$. As usual, this notion considers only a single instance of $\phi$ or $\pi$ (alongside $\gamma$).
- We extend the UC theorem to hold even with respect to the new notion of UC emulation. That is, we show that if $\pi$ UC-emulates $\phi$ in the presence of $\gamma$, then $\rho^{\phi\rightarrow\pi}$ UC-emulates $\rho$ for any protocol $\rho$, even when $\rho$ uses $\gamma$ directly, and in addition calls many instances of $\phi$, all of which use the same instance of $\gamma$. We prove this extension using the existing UC theorem as a black box, thus further simplifying the treatment.
We also exemplify how our treatment can be used to streamline, within the plain UC model, proofs of security of systems that involve global set-up, thus providing greater simplicity and flexibility.

2019

JOFC

Probabilistic Termination and Composability of Cryptographic Protocols
Abstract

When analyzing the round complexity of multi-party protocols, one often overlooks the fact that underlying resources, such as a broadcast channel, can by themselves be expensive to implement. For example, it is well known that it is impossible to implement a broadcast channel by a (deterministic) protocol in a sublinear (in the number of corrupted parties) number of rounds. The seminal works of Rabin and Ben-Or from the early 1980s demonstrated that limitations as the above can be overcome by using randomization and allowing parties to terminate at different rounds, igniting the study of protocols over point-to-point channels with probabilistic termination and expected constant round complexity. However, absent a rigorous simulation-based definition, the suggested protocols are proven secure in a property-based manner or via ad hoc simulation-based frameworks, therefore guaranteeing limited, if any, composability. In this work, we put forth the first simulation-based treatment of multi-party cryptographic protocols with probabilistic termination. We define secure multi-party computation (MPC) with probabilistic termination in the UC framework and prove a universal composition theorem for probabilistic termination protocols. Our theorem allows to compile a protocol using deterministic termination hybrids into a protocol that uses expected constant round protocols for emulating these hybrids, preserving the expected round complexity of the calling protocol. We showcase our definitions and compiler by providing the first composable protocols (with simulation-based security proofs) for the following primitives, relying on point-to-point channels: (1) expected constant round perfect Byzantine agreement, (2) expected constant round perfect parallel broadcast, and (3) perfectly secure MPC with round complexity independent of the number of parties.

#### Program Committees

- Crypto 2024
- PKC 2023
- Crypto 2022
- PKC 2021
- Eurocrypt 2019
- TCC 2018
- PKC 2017
- Crypto 2017
- TCC 2016
- Asiacrypt 2015
- Crypto 2014

#### Coauthors

- Joël Alwen (2)
- Christian Badertscher (7)
- Zuzana Beerliová-Trubíniová (1)
- Ran Canetti (1)
- Seung Geol Choi (1)
- Michele Ciampi (1)
- Ran Cohen (6)
- Sandro Coretti (4)
- Serge Fehr (1)
- Matthias Fitzi (1)
- Pouyan Forghani (1)
- Juan A. Garay (10)
- Peter Gaži (1)
- Sarah Hauser (1)
- Julia Hesse (2)
- Martin Hirt (5)
- Yuval Ishai (2)
- Jonathan Katz (4)
- Aggelos Kiayias (3)
- Yun Lu (1)
- Alex J. Malozemoff (1)
- Ueli Maurer (9)
- Rafail Ostrovsky (5)
- Giorgos Panagiotakos (1)
- Rutvik Patel (1)
- Alexander Russell (1)
- Fang Song (1)
- Bjoern Tackmann (1)
- Björn Tackmann (1)
- Daniel Tschudi (4)
- Hendrik Waldner (1)
- Hong-Sheng Zhou (3)
- Vassilis Zikas (29)