research & development

The Subjectivity / Exploitability Tradeoff

One of the issues inherent in many kinds of consensus architectures is that although they can be made to be robust against attackers or collusions up to a certain size, if an attacker gets large enough they are still, fundamentally, exploitable. If attackers in a proof of work system have less than 25% of mining power and everyone else is non-colluding and rational, then we can show that proof of work is secure; however, if an attacker is large enough...
research & development

The P + epsilon Attack

Special thanks to Andrew Miller for coming up with this attack, and to Zack Hess, Vlad Zamfir and Paul Sztorc for discussion and responses One of the more interesting surprises in cryptoeconomics in recent weeks came from an attack on SchellingCoin conceived by Andrew Miller earlier this month. Although it has always been understood that SchellingCoin, and similar systems (including the more advanced Truthcoin consensus), rely on what is so far a new and untested cryptoeconomic security assumption - that...
research & development

Superrationality and DAOs

Warning: this post contains crazy ideas. Myself describing a crazy idea should NOT be construed as implying that (i) I am certain that the idea is correct/viable, (ii) I have an even >50% probability estimate that the idea is correct/viable, or that (iii) “Ethereum” endorses any of this in any way. One of the common questions that many in the crypto 2.0 space have about the concept of decentralized autonomous organizations is a simple one: what are DAOs good for?...
research & development

Light Clients and Proof of Stake

Special thanks to Vlad Zamfir and Jae Kwon for many of the ideas described in this post Aside from the primary debate around weak subjectivity, one of the important secondary arguments raised against proof of stake is the issue that proof of stake algorithms are much harder to make light-client friendly. Whereas proof of work algorithms involve the production of block headers which can be quickly verified, allowing a relatively small chain of headers to act as an implicit proof...
research & development

Ethereum Community Survey

Back in November, we created a quick survey for the Ethereum community to help us gauge how we’re doing, what can be improved, and how best we can engage with you all as we move forward towards the genesis block release in March. We feel it’s very important to enable the community to interact with Ethereum as well as itself, and we hope to offer new and exciting tools to do so using the survey results for guidance. The survey itself...
research & development

Jeff’s Ethereum ÐΞV Update II

First of all, happy new year! What a year it has been. With a little luck we’ll surpass last year with an even more awesome year. It’s been too long since I’ve given an update on my side of things and that of the Go team and mostly due to a lack of time. I’ve been so incredibly busy and so many things have happened these past 2 months I’ve hardly had time to sit down and assess it all. As you...
research & development

On Silos

One of the criticisms that many people have made about the current direction of the cryptocurrency space is the increasing amount of fragmentation that we are seeing. What was earlier perhaps a more tightly bound community centered around developing the common infrastructure of Bitcoin is now increasingly a collection of “silos”, discrete projects all working on their own separate things. There are a number of developers and researchers who are either working for Ethereum or working on ideas as volunteers...
research & development

Secret Sharing DAOs: The Other Crypto 2.0

The crypto 2.0 industry has been making strong progress in the past year developing blockchain technology, including the formalization and in some cases realization of proof of stake designs like Slasher and DPOS, various forms of scalable blockchain algorithms, blockchains using “leader-free consensus” mechanisms derived from traditional Byzantine fault tolerance theory, as well as economic ingredients like Schelling consensus schemes and stable currencies. All of these technologies remedy key deficiencies of the blockchain design with respect to centralized servers: scalability...
research & development

A call to all the bug bounty hunters out there…

Hi, I’m Jutta! As some of you might have read in earlier posts, I’ve recently been busy setting up a security audit prior to the Ethereum genesis block release. Ethereum will launch following a world-class review by experts in IT security, cryptography and blockchain technology. Prior to the launch, we will also complete a bug bounty program - a major cornerstone of our approach to achieving security. The bug bounty program will rely on the Ethereum community and all other motivated bug bounty...