Time-Traveling Simulators Using Blockchains and Their Applications

Authors Vipul Goyal, Justin Raizes, Pratik Soni

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Author Details

Vipul Goyal
  • Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • NTT Research, Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Justin Raizes
  • Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Pratik Soni
  • Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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Vipul Goyal, Justin Raizes, and Pratik Soni. Time-Traveling Simulators Using Blockchains and Their Applications. In 13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 215, pp. 81:1-81:19, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)


Blockchain technology has the potential of transforming cryptography. We study the problem of round-complexity of zero-knowledge, and more broadly, of secure computation in the blockchain-hybrid model, where all parties can access the blockchain as an oracle. We study zero-knowledge and secure computation through the lens of a new security notion where the simulator is given the ability to "time-travel” or more accurately, to look into the future states of the blockchain and use this information to perform simulation. Such a time-traveling simulator gives a novel security guarantee of the following form: whatever the adversary could have learnt from an interaction, it could have computed on its own shortly into the future (e.g., a few hours from now). We exhibit the power of time-traveling simulators by constructing round-efficient protocols in the blockchain-hybrid model. In particular, we construct: 1) Three-round zero-knowledge (ZK) argument for NP with a polynomial-time black-box time-traveling simulator. 2) Three-round secure two-party computation (2PC) for any functionality with a polynomial-time black-box time-traveling simulator for both parties. In addition to standard cryptographic assumptions, we rely on natural hardness assumptions for Proof-of-Work based blockchains. In comparison, in the plain model, three-round protocols with black-box simulation are impossible, and constructions with non-black-box simulation for ZK require novel cryptographic assumptions while no construction for three-round 2PC is known. Our three-round 2PC result relies on a new, two-round extractable commitment that admits a time-traveling extractor.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Security and privacy → Mathematical foundations of cryptography
  • Cryptography
  • Zero Knowledge
  • Secure Two-Party Computation
  • Blockchain


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