Ouroboros Genesis Research to be Presented at ACM Computer Security Conference

IOHK Ouroboros
Image Credit: IOHK/cardano.org

New Roads in Blockchain Capability

IOHK has announced that it will present its latest research on Ouroboros Genesis at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communication Security, a premier global computer security and cryptography conference.

IOHK is an engineering company focused on building cryptocurrencies and blockchains for use by academic institutions. The company has previously made a name for itself in the crypto community by developing Cardano, a top 10 cryptocurrency.

The company’s research focuses on current difficulties facing proof-of-stake protocols. The latest version of Ouroboros, the algorithm used for Cardano, is a significant turning point in blockchain research beginning with Ouroboros and continuing with Ouroboros Praos.

IOHK launched Ouroboros in February 2017 as the first stage of its proof-of-stake protocol. The company’s research was accepted by Crypto 2017, the top academic conference in cryptography. Ouroboros was created in part by top academics in cryptography to meet the growing international need for efficient and secure blockchains that can sustainably process transactions. Ouroboros and Bitcoin are the only proof-of-stake blockchain protocols that have achieved this prestige in expert peer review.

“It is exciting to present Ouroboros Genesis at a top security conference and very rewarding to see how theoretical research can make a significant impact on practice,” Badertscher said in a press release. “Avoiding the need of a trusted checkpoint, and still being secure in a setting with a variable level of participation, has been a challenging problem to solve in the PoS space.”

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Image Credit: descryptive.com/Flickr

New Findings Show Possibility for More Security

Users can join the blockchain through Ouroboros Genesis and securely take part based on an authentic copy of the genesis block. This means that they will not have to use a checkpoint from a third party. This feature has been a staple of proof-of-work protocols, such as Bitcoin. However, it has not been available to existing proof-of-stake systems. In fact, many believed it was impossible to implement.

“Ouroboros Genesis resolves an important open question in the PoS blockchain space, namely how it is possible to securely connect to the system without any information beyond the genesis block,” IOHK Chief Scientist Aggelos Kiayias said in a press release. “This is a significant step forward that enables a higher degree of decentralization that seemed unattainable for PoS protocols before our work. Our security analysis is also in the ‘universal composition’ setting that provides, for the first time in the PoS space, a modular way of building secure applications on top of the ledger.”

The second iteration of IOHK’s protocol, Ouroboros Praos, was admitted to Eurocrypt 2018 in Tel Aviv. The conference was hosted by the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) and is considered one of the leading academic events in cryptography worldwide.


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