Dandelion: Redesigning the Bitcoin Network for Anonymity

Speaker: Shaileshh Bojja Venkatakrishnan , Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Time: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM Note: all times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Refreshments: 4:00 PM

Public: Yes

Location: 32-G882

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Host: CSAIL Security Seminar

Contact: Derek Leung, 408-680-1466, dtl@csail.mit.edu

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Reminders to: bjjvnkt2@illinois.edu, seminars@csail.mit.edu

Reminder Subject: TALK: Dandelion: Redesigning the Bitcoin Network for Anonymity

Speaker: Shaileshh Bojja Venkatakrishnan
Ph.D. Student
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Title: Dandelion: Redesigning the Bitcoin Network for Anonymity

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have surged in popularity over the last decade. Although Bitcoin does not claim to provide anonymity for its users, it enjoys a public perception of being a ‘privacy-preserving’ financial system. In reality, cryptocurrencies publish users’ entire transaction histories in plaintext, albeit under a pseudonym; this is required for transaction validation. Therefore, if a user’s pseudonym can be linked to their human identity, the privacy fallout can be significant. Recently, researchers have demonstrated deanonymization attacks that exploit weaknesses in the Bitcoin network’s peer-to-peer (P2P) networking protocols. In particular, the P2P network currently forwards content in a structured way that allows observers to deanonymize users. In this work, we redesign the P2P network from first principles with the goal of providing strong, provable anonymity guarantees. We propose a simple networking policy called Dandelion, which achieves nearly-optimal anonymity guarantees at minimal cost to the network’s utility. We also provide a practical implementation of Dandelion for deployment.

Shaileshh Bojja Venkatakrishnan is a Ph.D. student in ECE under the supervision of Prof. Pramod Viswanath at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He received the B.Tech. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 2012 and the M.S. degree from UIUC in 2014. His research interests lie primarily in the broad area of distributed algorithms for networks. Specific topics he has worked on include scheduling algorithms for data center networks, peer-to-peer networks and anonymity in cryptocurrency networks. He is also interested in information theory and wireless communication. During the summer of 2016 he interned at Google, where he worked on congestion control for Google’s data centers. He is also a recipient of the Joan and Lalit Bahl fellowship at UIUC.

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Created by Derek T Leung Email at Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 11:27 AM.