Workshop on Real-World Decentralized Cryptography

January 15, 2021

The RWdC workshop addresses the challenges that occur when distributed (cryptographic) protocols are implemented in a decentralized setup where there is no central entity to coordinate and validate the correct participation in the protocol.

With all the current interest in personal data ownership, there is a growing need for better security, freedom and control for online users. Along with this, a counter-movement of decentralized applications where no single entity controls the system has started to grow. Over the two last decades many distributed (cryptographic) schemes have been designed and deployed in the real world in the quest to build a decentralized web.

Although these topics are discussed in the literature (e.g. threshold cryptographic schemes), most current solutions lack the robustness necessary for real-world usage: many protocols require that any failure results in restarting the process and consequently the threshold may need to be changed.

The goals of this workshop are to review the state-of-the-art research and practices, discuss existing challenges in terms of security and performance, and to trigger new research directions to tackle the challenges.

Topics such as distributed key generation, threshold cryptography, and multiparty computation will be presented in the workshop and in a concluding panel issues such as setups, robustness, and reconfigurability of cryptographic schemes when they are deployed in decentralized real-world conditions will be discussed.


Aniket Kate - Purdue University
Fatemeh Shirazi - Web3 Foundation

Event Information

Registration: The workshop will take place online. Attendance to the workshop is free of charge
Date: January 15, 2021

Tentative Schedule (all times are in CET)

  • 3:00 pm — 3:15 pm
    Aniket Kate and Fatemeh Shirazi
    Introduction and Organization
    Purdue University, Web3 Foundation
  • 3:15 pm — 3:45 pm
    Omer Shlomovits
    Baby Sharks: small subgroup attacks on DKG implementations
    ZenGo X

    We will show how injecting small order subgroup elements can bypass security for cryptographic primitives used in DKGs such as VSS and sigma protocols. We discuss the potential damage of our attacks on applications such as consensus and random beacon.

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  • 3:45 pm — 4:15 pm
    Jeffrey Burdges
    Verifiable Luck
    Web3 Foundation

    As reusable PRFs, VRFs provide a wondrous flexibility for distributed systems. We give an applied perspective on verifiable random functions (VRFs), including fun examples, intuition for proper usage, miss-use resistance, and implementation.

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  • 4:15 pm — 4:45 pm
    Eleftherios Kokoris-Kogias
    Asynchronous Distributed Key Generation for Computational Secure Randomness, Consensus and Threshold Signatures
    IST Austria & Novi Research

    Asynchronous Distributed Key Generation (ADKG) algorithm is the first algorithm that generates cryptographic keys with a dual (f, 2f+1)-threshold. ADKG removes the trusted setup that consensus and MPC protocols need.

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  • 4:45 pm — 5:15 pm
    Mary Maller
    Aggregatable Distributed Key Generation
    Ethereum Foundation

    We present a distributed key generation protocol with aggregatable and publicly-verifiable transcripts that reduces the size of the final transcript and time to verify by leveraging gossip rather than all-to-all communication.

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  • 5:15 pm — 5:45 pm
    Alin Tomescu
    Towards Scalable Threshold Cryptosystems
    VMware Research

    We will present new techniques for authenticating polynomial evaluations that help scale threshold signature schemes, verifiable secret sharing and distributed key generation protocols to hundreds of thousands of participants and beyond.

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  • 5:45 pm — 7:00 pm
    Panel - Decentralized Cryptography: A Distant Dream or an Immediate Possibility?
    Ittai Ibrahim
    VMware Research
    Andrew Miller
    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    Christian Cachin
    University of Bern
    Harry Halpin
    Nym Technologies
    Host: Aniket Kate
    Purdue University
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  • 7:00 pm — 7:05 pm
    Fatemeh Shirazi, Aniket Kate
    Closing Remarks
    Web3 Foundation, Purdue University