Abstract: Over the past year, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have leapt to prominence as a technical and social phenomenon. Popular tokens such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) are attracting enormous sums of money and spawning whole subcultures. Current platforms for NFT distribution and management have endowed NFT marketplaces with attractive features and capabilities, but have unfortunate drawbacks. For example, in "drops" of popular NFTs today, it is hard to achieve fairness: Bots often snap up new offerings and corner the market. In this talk, I'll propose desirable security features and functionality for future NFT platforms, discuss resulting technical challenges, and outline some candidate solutions.
Bio: Ari Juels is the Weill Family Foundation and Joan and Sanford I. Weill Professor in the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and the Technion and a Computer Science faculty member at Cornell University. He is a Co-Director of the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts (IC3). He is also Chief Scientist at Chainlink Labs.
He was the Chief Scientist of RSA, Director of RSA Laboratories, and a Distinguished Engineer at EMC (now Dell EMC), where he worked until 2013. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from U.C. Berkeley in 1996.
His recent areas of interest include blockchains, cryptocurrency, and smart contracts, as well as applied cryptography, cloud security, user authentication, and privacy.
Abstract: Permissionless blockchains such as Bitcoin have
excelled at financial services. Yet, opportunistic traders extract
monetary value from the mesh of decentralized finance (DeFi) smart
contracts through so-called blockchain extractable value (BEV).
The recent emergence of centralized BEV relayer portrays BEV as a
positive additional revenue source. Because BEV, however, was quantitatively
shown to deteriorate the blockchain's consensus security, BEV relayers
endanger the ledger security by incentivizing rational miners to
fork the chain. For example, a rational miner with a 10% hashrate
will fork Ethereum if a BEV opportunity exceeds 4x the block reward.
In this talk, we quantify the BEV danger by deriving the USD extracted from sandwich attacks, liquidations, and decentralized exchange arbitrage. We estimate that over 32 months, BEV yielded 540.54M USD in profit, divided among 11,289 addresses when capturing 49,691 cryptocurrencies and 60,830 on-chain markets. The highest BEV instance we find amounts to 4.1M USD, 616.6x the Ethereum block reward. Moreover, while the practitioner's community has discussed the existence of generalized trading bots, we are, to our knowledge, the first to provide a concrete algorithm. Our algorithm can replace unconfirmed transactions without the need to understand the victim transactions' underlying logic, which we estimate to have yielded a profit of 57,037.32 ETH (35.37M USD) over 32 months of past blockchain data.
- Quantifying Blockchain Extractable Value: How dark is the forest? [to appear at S&P'22] (https://arxiv.org/pdf/2101.05511.pdf)
- High-Frequency Trading on Decentralized Exchanges [S&P'21] (https://arxiv.org/pdf/2009.14021.pdf)
- Synthesizing Profitable and Adversarial Blockchain Transactions [S&P'21] (https://arxiv.org/pdf/2103.02228.pdf)
Bio: Arthur Gervais (www.arthurgervais.com) is a Lecturer (equivalent Assistant Professor) at Imperial College London. He's passionate about information security and worked since 2012 on blockchain related topics, with a recent focus on Decentralized Finance (DeFi). He is co-instructor in the first DeFi MOOC attracting over 3000 students in the Fall 2021 (https://defi-learning.org/). The DeFi MOOC will be reinstantiated in the Fall 2022.
Abstract: Standardization is a useful tool that can help industry and government tackle a wide variety of problems. Standards and conformity assessments help foster collaboration, trade, and global connectivity, notably when they are developed by consensus and involve balanced stakeholder participation from industry, government, academia, and civil society. Several foundational standards have been published in the blockchain space, and others are in development, but there is much more work to be done.
In this talk, I will provide an overview of how the standardization system works, introduce some blockchain standards efforts, outline a roadmap for Canadian blockchain standards work, and share insights from stakeholders in the blockchain space to help address challenges and advance opportunities for Canada.
Bio: Dominik Brejta is a Sector Specialist at the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). In this role, he advises industry, academia, and government partners on navigating the standardization system and develop strategies to advance business and policy objectives. Dominik previously worked for a financial sector regulator and a financial services firm. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Ottawa and has completed the Canadian Securities Course as well as the Investment Advisor Training Program from the Canadian Securities Institute.
Abstract: Supply chains can be very complex but are still very linear. The industry has been doing business the same way for centuries using physical paperwork to exchange goods between trading partners. Global supply chains are getting ever more complex and in some cases critical to national security. This is why blockchain technology, in conjunction with other technologies or on its own, can play an important role in reshaping today’s supply chains by breaking down traditional data silos.
Bio: Erik is the co-founder and CEO of the Blockchain Supply Chain Association. Through their core services of Advocacy, Collaboration and Education, they bring together like-minded professionals who want to explore Blockchain in their supply chain. The member-driven association's goal is to accelerate the adoption of Distributed Ledger Technology through dialog, to help shape policy with governmental agencies for improved services, and to help the community's voice to be heard.
With a 30 year career in logistics, he’s passionate about bridging the gap between technology and business needs and is a firm believer that Blockchain has the potential to bring global supply chain management to the next level by reducing inefficiencies. Erik is based in Montreal, Canada.
Abstract: Consumers of downstream information lack a homogeneous perspective on upstream processes. Despite formal guarantees of universal consensus, blockchain databases offer no better visibility. As a simple example, an observer may witness a different list of confirmed Ethereum transactions depending on whether she scrapes via TrueBlocks or Etherscan. We survey instances of this prevalent phenomenon and observe damaging consequences in complex, multi-party applications.
Bio: Jason Teutsch is a mathematician and computer scientist whose research background includes distributed systems security, game theory, and algorithmic randomness. He has held postdoctoral positions at National University of Singapore, Penn State, and Universität Heidelberg, research positions at think tanks RAND and IDA, and multiple Fulbright fellowships. In his current mission, Jason focuses on distributed trust and verification.
Abstract: Cryptographers have been complaining that in the popular press and the media "Cryptocurrency" has been called "Crypto" while among cryptographers "Crypto" is a shorthand for "Cryptography." While there is an issue of overloading a shorthand term for more than a single notion, the goal of this talk is to claim that the controversy is not a serious issue. In fact, while cryptocurrency development has suffered at times some cryptographic implementation issues and the area is evolving without the typical rigor of cryptography, cryptocurrency is in fact a subarea of cryptography (and distributed computing). The origin of bitcoin and blockchain is in cryptography and certainly no one refutes that the area is based on cryptography. Furthermore, cryptocurrency caused various interesting notions developed in cryptography to be useful and evolve into actual usage; and finally, cryptocurrencies and blockchain research also imply new cryptographic developments. Therefore, it is much more effective to endorse cryptocurrency as a legitimate, striving, and useful subarea of cryptography. It is much more effective for cryptographers to engage in cryptocurrency and blockchain research, then starting a mini "culture war" against the area! The talk will visit these issues.
Bio: Moti Yung is a Security and Privacy Research Scientist with Google. He got his PhD from Columbia University in 1988. Previously, he was with IBM Research, Certco, RSA Laboratories, and Snap. He is also an adjunct senior research faculty at Columbia, where he has co-advised and worked with PhD students. Yung is a fellow of the IEEE, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR), and the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS). In 2010 he gave the IACR Distinguished Lecture. He is the recipient of the 2014 ACM’s SIGSAC Outstanding Innovation award, the 2014 ESORICS (European Symposium on Research in Computer Security) Outstanding Research award, an IBM Outstanding Innovation award, a Google OC award, and a Google founders’ award. In 2018 he received the IEEE-CS W. Wallace McDowell Award. In 2020 he received the test-of-time award for a paper predicting ransomware co-authored in 1996 in IEEE’s Symp. on Security and Privacy; also in 2020 he received the IACR’s PKC conference test-of-time award for a paper he co-authored in 1998. In 2021 he received the IEEE-CS Computer Pioneer Award.
Abstract: Although practical Byzantine fault-tolerant (BFT) consensus protocols have
been available for two decades, they have never been deployed in production
until very recently. The widespread interest in cryptocurrencies and
blockchains has changed this. BFT consensus protocols are at the heart of
many current blockchain platforms, which run without a central authority.
This presentation will explore the foundations of BFT consensus, such as quorum systems, reliable broadcasts, and protocols for storing data. Furthermore, the talk also discusses protocols with asymmetric trust. By letting nodes express their subjective assumptions of whom they trust and by how much, this model bridges between standard BFT consensus and decentralized blockchains. The approach is related to consensus in the Ripple and Stellar blockchains, which have introduced similar ideas but only with a heuristic approach.
Bio: Christian Cachin is a professor of computer science at the University of
Bern (Switzerland), where he has been leading the Cryptology and Data
Security Research Group since 2019. Prior to that he worked for IBM
Research - Zurich during more than 20 years. He has held visiting
positions at MIT and at EPFL and has taught at several universities during
his career in industrial research. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Computer
Science from ETH Zurich in 1997. He is an ACM Fellow, an IEEE Fellow,
recipient of multiple IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards, and has
also served as the President of the International Association for
Cryptologic Research (IACR) from 2014-2019.
With a background in cryptography, he is interested in all aspects of security in distributed systems and especially in cryptographic protocols, consistency, consensus, blockchains, and cloud-computing security. He has developed many cryptographic protocols, particularly for achieving consensus and for executing distributed cryptographic operations over the Internet. In the area of cloud computing, he has contributed to standards in storage security and developed protocols for key management. He has co-authored a textbook on distributed computing titled "Introduction to Reliable and Secure Distributed Programming". While at IBM Research he made essential contributions to the development of Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain platform aimed business use.
Abstract: It's widely appreciated by now that all cryptocurrencies and
blockchains need some sort of confidentiality mechanism for their most
interesting applications (whether that's sensitive financial data,
supply chain records, healthcare data, etc.). We want the benefits
associated with pool sensitive data and making use of a shared
transaction platform, but without the vulnerability and trust required
that this normally entails.
Smart contract developers know that they have at their disposal - at least in principle - an impressive toolbox of cryptography primitives, including zero knowledge proofs, multiparty computation, and hardware enclaves. However, it's still difficult to design and build systems based on these, in part because the software tooling is still so early. I'll explain a layered design framework that links these approaches together, and present a few recent research efforts that present a unified programming framework to offer developers.
Bio: Andrew Miller is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in Electrical and Computer Engineering and affiliate in Computer Science, where he directs the Decentralized Systems Lab, and focuses on research at the intersection of distributed computing, cryptography, and programming languages. He is also an Associate Director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), a board member of the Zcash Foundation, and an advisor of Chainlink Labs.
Abstract: Patients are offered an increasing number of methods for collecting and managing healthcare information using digital technologies. These digital methods generate tremendous opportunities to monitor patient care but also perform research and monetize data. To provide informed consent for health data uses outside of traditional healthcare, patients are increasingly interested in dynamic consent: the ability to manage consent and preferences over time. Organizations' hesitations about offering dynamic consent included administrative burdens and technological costs. Both of these burdens are alleviated by capabilities offered by blockchain-based technologies. This presentation presents emerging benefits, obstacles, and ethical principles about blockchain-based dynamic consent methods. For the areas where digital informed consent creates uncertainties, ethical, user-design, and security recommendations will be provided.
Bio: Dr. Wendy Charles has been involved in clinical trials from every perspective for 30 years, with a strong background in operations and regulatory compliance. She currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer for BurstIQ, a healthcare information technology company specializing in blockchain and AI. She is also a lecturer faculty member in the Health Administration program at the University of Colorado, Denver. Dr. Charles augments her blockchain healthcare experience by serving on the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum Expert Panel, HIMSS Blockchain Task Force, Government Blockchain Association healthcare group, and IEEE Blockchain working groups. She is also involved as an assistant editor and reviewer for academic journals. Dr. Charles obtained her Ph.D. in Clinical Science with a specialty in Health Information Technology from the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. She is certified as an IRB Professional, Clinical Research Professional, and Blockchain Professional.
Abstract: Consideration of CBDC - policy, business model and technology - have increased in tempo around the world, and some countries have actually issued CBDC. We will present the broad set of developments around the world and in Canada around CBDC. While progress has been made, many open questions and hard problems remain. We will speak to these and some of the thinking around solutions.
Bio: As Director Fintech Research, Dinesh leads the technical development of a central bank digital currency in support of the Bank of Canada's policy to build this capability as a contingency measure. He also leads the technology aspect of the research agenda in fintech, most notable project Jasper, which supports economic and financial system research into the implications of blockchain technologies to the core mandates of the Bank.
Dinesh joined the Bank of Canada in 2009 as an Enterprise Architect. Before joining the Bank, has been a co-founder and architect at various start-ups. He spent 8 years as a developer of various fixed-income trading and risk management systems at financial institutions in London. In addition, he provided expertise on the application of leading-edge technologies to securities trading and clearing firms.
Abstract: Electronic retail payment mechanisms, especially e-commerce and card payments at the point of sale, have increasingly replaced cash in many developed countries. As a result, societies are losing a critical public retail payment option, and retail consumers are losing important rights associated with using cash. We offer a scalable architecture for electronic retail payments via central bank digital currency and offer a solution to the perceived conflict between robust regulatory oversight and consumer affordances such as privacy and control. Our architecture combines existing work in payment systems and digital currency with a new approach to digital asset design for managing unforgeable, stateful, and oblivious assets without relying on either a central authority or a monolithic consensus system. Regulated financial institutions have a role in every transaction, and the consumer affordances are achieved through the use of non-custodial wallets that unlink the sender from the recipient in the transaction channel. This approach is fully compatible with the existing two-tiered banking system and can complement and extend the roles of existing money services businesses and asset custodians. We also show that it is possible to introduce regulation of digital currency transactions involving non-custodial wallets that unconditionally protect the privacy of end-users.
Bio: Dr Geoffrey Goodell is a Lecturer in Financial Computing at University College
London. He is an associate of the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies and
an associate of the Systemic Risk Centre of the London School of Economics. He
is Convenor of two ISO working groups on distributed ledger technologies
and an ISO advisory group on digital currency.
Dr Goodell has roughly a decade of experience in the financial industry as a strategist and portfolio manager, having served most recently as Partner and Chief Investment Officer of a boutique asset management firm based in Boston, where he led the design, implementation, and management of investment strategies in systematic macro trading and statistical arbitrage. Previously, he was an associate in the corporate credit and structured products groups at Goldman Sachs in New York.
Dr Goodell's research contributes to knowledge at the interface between computer science, finance, and public policy in areas related to digital currency, digital payment systems, and regulation.
Abstract: Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is fiat money in digital form. It is issued by the central bank or monetary authority of a country and is legal tender. It is not private money. The latest BIS survey indicates 90% of the world’s central banks and monetary authorities are at various stages of considering CBDCs. CBDC is quite literally the future of money.
The award-winning "Sand Dollar" issued by the Central Bank of the Bahamas is one of a small handful of live, full-scale CBDC productions in the world. It is also the most stable and most mature, having had a two-year head start. As such, it provides interesting insights and lessons regarding CBDCs and their deployment and use. As a Co-Founder of the company that helped create the Sand Dollar, I will provide a closer look behind the scenes into Sand Dollar and share some of our experiences working with a live CBDC deployment.
Bio: John Kim is a corporate lawyer with two decades of experience in M&A, securities, fintech and digital technologies. He was a partner at the global law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright LLP and the Canadian Lead Partner of the firm’s Global Fintech Group. He is a co-founder of Movmint.io which builds regulated digital currency systems around the world.
John is considered a leading legal expert on topics concerning the application of distributed ledger technology, digital currencies and digital assets. He led the team that won the prestigious Central Banking Publications - Advisor of the Year Award for Fintech and Digital Projects in 2020. John consults for central banks, leading financial firms, regulators and academic institutions. He helped launch the world’s first retail Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in production - the Sand Dollar in The Bahamas. John also teaches at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia (UBC).