Hello everyone! It's your old pal Dr. Sarang Noether, delivering the first monthly research report of the new year. This is the first of three reports for my current funding period, which was made possible by the generosity of the Monero community through donations and in spirit.
Monero researchers and developers have been busy preparing for the spring network upgrade, and we are finalizing changes that you can expect to see released in a few months. A great deal of planning, research, simulation, coding, and testing has gone into this process. Payment IDs are set to be removed over the next two releases, which will make transactions simpler, smaller, and more uniform. We've simplified some of the underlying cryptography that powers our confidential transaction scheme to make transactions a bit smaller. Bulletproofs have received many additional speedups and optimizations that decrease verification time by up to 60% (and possibly more) from the last release. Our dynamic block size algorithm will be updated to more robustly handle spikes in transaction volume. And there are plenty more updates in the next release, so stay tuned.
Led by the esteemed Justin Ehrenhofer of community fame, we've begun releasing a video series called Breaking Monero that goes in depth talking about weaker aspects of Monero's structure and operation, and how we've improved over our history. Each episode features a topic, like unusual ring sizes or chain reactions, that an adversary might use to analyze the Monero blockchain. We discuss the history of Monero analysis, practical recommendations for users, and how researchers continue to iterate on improvements to the protocol. More episodes are on the way!
As you likely read this, I am participating in the Stanford Blockchain Conference, an outstanding academic conference on applied cryptography. Last year's event featured a host of presentations and results very relevant to Monero, and this year promises to continue this trend.
Other important but less prominent areas of ongoing work include the ring decoy output selection algorithm, alternate ring signature schemes, interactive and non-interactive refund and return address constructions, an upcoming paper on graph analysis, and more!
For the next month, expect additional simulations and formal planning for the spring network upgrade, code for a Bulletproofs multi-party computation protocol, improved documentation, transaction relay simulations, the usual literature and code review, and many other mathematical odds and ends.
And now, on to Sarang's Reading Corner, a list of some of the interesting papers I've come across recently in my ongoing literature review. The appearance of a paper in this list does not imply that I endorse it, or even necessarily agree with its contents or conclusions. These are in no particular order.
- Dandelion++: Lightweight Cryptocurrency Networking with Formal Anonymity Guarantees
- Biased Nonce Sense: Lattice Attacks against Weak ECDSA Signatures in Cryptocurrencies
- ZeroCT: Improving ZeroCoin with Confidential Transactions and more
- Jevil's Encryption Systems
- Universally Composable Accumulators
- Proof-of-Stake Sidechains
- Analysis of Difficulty Control in Bitcoin and Proof-of-Work Blockchains
- Selfish Mining in Ethereum
- P4: Private Periodic Payment Protocol
- Grin vs. BEAM, a Comparison
- Efficient Non-Interactive Zero-Knowledge Proofs in Cross-Domains without Trusted Setup
- Raptor: A Practical Lattice-Based (Linkable) Ring Signature