Since the last research update, IC3 researchers released a tool to assess MEV activity, showed early success in digital contact tracing, won both an ACM Test of Time award and an ACM SIGSAC Outstanding Innovation award, and more! We also hosted an IC3 Retreat (recordings linked below)!
IC3 hosted our Fall/ Winter Retreat on December 7th and 8th! It featured research updates from many IC3 faculty, students, partners, and a few invited guests. 
Topics included: 
*Blockchain for Financial Systems
*Blockchain for Social Good
*Smart Contract Assurance
*The Broken Fee Market
*The Next Big Thing in Blockchain
Session recordings and links to presented work can be found on this document.
Summary: Winkle protects any validator-based byzantine fault tolerant consensus mechanisms, such as those used in modern Proof-of-Stake blockchains, against long-range attacks where old validators’ signature keys get compromised. Winkle is a decentralized secondary layer of client-based validation, where a client includes a single additional field into a transaction that they sign: a hash of the previously sequenced block. The block that gets a threshold of signatures (confirmations) weighted by clients’ coins is called a “confirmed” checkpoint, which cannot be equivocated
By Sarah Azouvi (UCL), George Danezis (Novi, UCL), Valeria Nikolaenko (Novi)
Summary: The authors report early findings of the digital contact tracing app deployment in Switzerland. They demonstrate proof-of-principle that digital contact tracing reaches exposed contacts, who then test positive for SARS-CoV-2. This indicates that digital contact tracing is an effective complementary tool for controlling disease spread.
By Salathé Marcel, Althaus Christian L., Anderegg Nanina, Antonioli Daniele, Ballouz Tala, Bugnion Edouard, Čapkun Srdjan (IC3), Jackson Dennis, Kim Sang-Il, Larus James R., Low Nicola, Lueks Wouter, Menges Dominik, Moullet Cédric, Payer Mathias, Riou Julien, Stadler Theresa, Troncoso Carmela, Vayena Effy, von Wyl Viktor
Summary: The author summarizes proposed solutions to digital identity and digital personhood, which is about giving all real people inalienable digital participation rights independent of identity. He explores and analyzes alternative approaches to proof of personhood, including pseudonym parties, which marry the transparency of periodic physical-world roll-call events with the convenience of digital tokens between events.
By Bryan Ford (EPFL)
IC3 Chief Scientist, Elaine Shi (CMU), presented “Game-Theoretically Secure Protocols Inspired by Blockchains” at the Simons Institute.
Ittai Abraham (IC3 Partner VMware) presented “The Blockchain breakthrough through the lens of Game Theory” at the Tokenomics 2nd Conference.
IC3 Faculty Member James Grimmelmann (Cornell) presented “Legal Considerations for the Design of Central Bank Digital Currency” in a webinar hosted by LFT- University of Hamburg.
Read more about this topic: IC3 Paper on CBDC Design (see chapter 10)
IC3 student Mustafa Al-Bassam successfully defended his PhD thesis, "Securely Scaling Blockchain Base Layers." He was advised by IC3 Associate Director Sarah Meiklejohn and George Danezis (both UCL). 
IC3 Partner J.P. Morgan unveiled Onyx Digital Asset, a new tool, which is now in production. It is an Intraday Repo blockchain application that instantly settles tokenized cash and collateral for repo trades.
Press: Businesswire
The community deposited more than 524,288 ETH before the deposit deadline, exceeding the minimum amount to initiate the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon chain. The genesis block was issued on December 1st. Read more at the Beacon chain in Ethereum’s guide to Eth2 upgrades.
Introducing Flashbots, an organization dedicated to advancing open-source MEV (Miner Extractable Value) infrastructure and research. Flashbots aims to fund public infrastructure and research to democratize MEV, and to mitigate MEV externalities. MEV was first named in the IC3 paper "Flashboys 2.0..." by Daian et. al in 2019.
Flashbots is stewarded by Scott Bigelow, Phil Daian (Cornell), Stephane Gosselin (Numerai), Alex Obadia, and Tina Zhen (Hashedge).
Learn more in their ETH Research and Medium posts.
They are seeking collaborators. See more on Github.
This image shows MEV-Inspect, a blockchain crawler which scans Ethereum and identifies MEV extraction activity.
IC3 Partner VMWare released their Enterprise Blockchain Platform! It is based on SBFT, a scalable Byzantine Fault Tolerant State Machine Replication protocol. Learn more on their website and in this blogpost
IC3 Faculty Member Dawn Song (UC Berkeley) received the 2020 ACM SIGSAC Outstanding Innovation Award, given for outstanding and innovative technical contributions to the field of computer and communication security that have had lasting impact in furthering or understanding the theory or development of secure systems.
IC3 Faculty Member Bryan Ford (EPFL) received an ACM CCS Test of Time Award for his work on "Dissent: Accountable Anonymous Group Messaging” jointly with Henry Corrigan-Gibbs (MIT) (both Yale when the work was completed).
IC3 Faculty Member Giulia Fanti (CMU) received an award from the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP), given to researchers who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting research of military interests.
For PhD Students
IC3 Partner Novi is hiring PhD interns (summer 2021) with expertise in all aspects of cryptography including but not limited to public-key cryptography, secure multiparty computation, zero knowledge proofs, authenticated data structures, accumulators, blockchain compression, auditability and privacy-enhancing technologies.
More information and application details: IACR

For Post Docs
IC3 Chief Scientist, Elaine Shi, announced multiple postdoc opportunities focused on blockchains, applied crypto, and distributed systems, which will be offered jointly by CMU and NTT Research. The post docs can allocate their time between NTT Research (Bay Area) and CMU campus. 
Apply by emailing your CV to Shin'ichiro Matsuo ( and Elaine Shi (
Please send any new research or presentations to to be included in the next research update.
Best wishes, 
Sarah Allen
IC3 Community Manager
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